“Lectures CAN be fun”, joked Professor Jim Danza in front of about 300 in attendance at the Oxnard College Performing Arts Center. His OC Live program, “Mud and Dust: Our Climate Future, lived up to the promise. Mr. Danza, Friends of the Santa Clara River Chair, is also a Professor of Environmental Science and Geography, which includes a course in Weather and Climate. He has a special ability to combine science, advocacy, and making issues understood personally that engages audiences.
After showing facts and figures of climate change causes, e.g. CO2 emissions, he described impacts on the local watershed. Based on maps and graphs of sea level rise, temperature increase, and snow pack loss; he connected the dots between climate change and higher taxes, health problems, and personal energy costs. Included in the presentation was a self-produced video “Alaska is Melting” that show cases impacts to sub-Arctic ecosystems. Serious information in the video was offset with comic relief, such a scene where a time-lapse walk dramatized the long distance a glacier had receded.
A mock Jeopardy game show included contestants from the audience who selected categories such as ‘Fossil Fools’ and ‘Weather Woes’. All of the questions were climate change related and the game setting made learning fun. If the contestants were stumped, audience participants were given the chance to answer geography questions and given a token prize for correct answers.
The good attendance and follow up requests to post Mr. Danza’s presentation on line show a public desire for clear, honest explanations of climate change effects on our local watershed.