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I Lost 10,000 Pounds; Ask Me How

By Nora Molloy, Speakers Bureau
March 7, 2007

Speakers Bureau Addresses Great Decisions Conference

On March 3rd, in an engagement arranged by the Speakers Bureau, Barrett Rock, of the UNH Study for the Institute of Earth, Oceans and Space spoke on “Climate Change and Global Response” to the 60 participants of the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire 2007 Great Decisions Conference in Manchester.

The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire (WACNH) is the only “non-profit, non-partisan organization in New Hampshire devoted solely to fostering learning, discussion and citizen involvement in foreign affairs.” The Great Decisions Program was developed by the Foreign Policy Association in 1954. FPA provides independent publications, programs and forums to increase public awareness of, and foster popular participation in, matters relating to those policy issues. Each year, an FAC panel chooses eight new topics and prepares articles and briefing books for organizations such as the WACNH to use in educational forums and public discussions.

This year, the FPA chose Global Challenges: Confronting Crisis in an Interconnected World as their theme with the topics of Middle East, climate change, migration, children, South Africa, Mexico, war crimes and Central Asia as the categories from which to base the discussion. Noel Lateef, president and CEO of the Foreign Policy Association stated “Without more rigorous international education at all levels of the education system our democracy is undermined. Only with an informed citizenry can the life-and-death issues of foreign policy be properly ventilated in public debate and discussion.” This past weekend’s Great Decisions Conference in Manchester was a forum for those discussions.

For the WACNH Great Decisions Conference, Rock joined with E. Wayne Merry, a senior associate at the American Foreign Policy Council who spoke on “The United States in a Post Euro Centric World”. Merry’s presentation focused on the role of the United States as a “great power”, stating that “leadership is an obligation” and that success as a leader will come from “using influence versus using power”. Additionally, Christopher Swift of the Center for International Studies at Cambridge University presented “Global Trends in Islamic Militancy: Moral and Strategic Implications”.

Rock’s presentation “Climate Change; Regional Impact and Global Response” addressed questions posed by the FPA conference materials such as “how much are human practices contributing to substantial and irreversible changes to the environment; what effect are changes to the climate having in different areas of the planet; and what response can the community adopt to lessen the impact of dramatic climate change? The audience was held rapt by the scientific data that proves the reality of global warming, its causes, and the already visible effects seen here in New England. “This is not a political issue. It’s a critical environmental issue. We must act as a unified globe in order to reduce the impact of future warming. We are at a point where we can’t stop the warming, but rather are in a position to reduce the amount of warming” Rock said. Following keynote speaker Merry’s belief that here in the United States “leadership is an obligation”, Rock left conference attendees with a call to action, distributing literature from the NH Carbon Challenge which lists very specific ways each person can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 pounds per year. For his part, Rock shared the scientific data confirming the emission and energy use reduction of his own hybrid vehicles and compact fluorescent lights. “I lost 10,000 pounds; ask me how!” he joked. It’s a great attention getting line for a serious call to action.

For more information on the UNH Speakers Bureau or to become involved as a Speakers Bureau expert, visit www.unh.edu/speakersbureau or call 2-4401.

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