Times’ Friedman to speak at UMNH

By By Alex Cragun, Staff Writer

By Alex Cragun, Staff Writer

To inform students about the pressing issue of climate change, the Utah Museum of Natural History has invited New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman to discuss its impacts on the environment.

The museum is hosting the talks, which will also feature U professors, in its third annual lecture series titled “The Nature of Things: Our Changing Relationship with the Natural World,” on Feb. 19.

Friedman, an expert on global economics, recently published a book called Hot, Flat and Crowded, which is about how green industry is the key to the United States’ success in the global market.

Scott Pettett, a spokesman for the museum, called Friedman’s lecture a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students. “(Friedman) takes the idea of sustainability and melts it into every facet of your life,” Pettett said.

He said Friedman’s focus will be on a green environment-based economy as opposed to a more moral argument.

“(Friedman) sees it as a way to spark innovation (while) keeping the U.S. on top,” Pettett said.

Sarah George, director of the museum, said the series is an opportunity for students and community members to gain insight into the different research on global warming today and the economic impacts of climate change.

“The more we know about what affects us, the better we are at making choices,” George said.

Besides Friedman, Mitchell Power, a geography professor at the U and museum curator, will discuss land use and wild fires, both historic and current, and their long-term impact on climate change.

Fred Wagner, a professor of Wildland Resources at Utah State University, and Tyrone Hayes, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley will discuss different environmental issues.

Wagner, who recently won The Wildlife Society’s 2008 Outstanding Book Award, will speak about Yellowstone National Park and the destabilization of its ecosystem. He will also speak about his recently published book, Yellowstone’s Destabilized Ecosystem: Elk Effects, Science and Policy Conflict, which is about how politics, rather than science, have reigned over ecosystem policies.

Hayes will talk about the use of pesticides and their physical effects on frogs with regard to hormones, growth and reproduction.

All three speeches, which are free to the public, will be held at the Salt Lake City Library and will be played on KCPW live.

The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute, said Friedman is a highly respected commentator and an innovator in eco-economics.

“We want the students to meet and hear Friedman to challenge some of their opinions,” Jowers said.

Tickets for Friedman’s speech are available on the museum’s Web site at www.umnh.utah.edu or at www.artix.org. Friedman is also scheduled to speak on March 10 at Abravanel Hall.

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Charles Haynes