It was a noteworthy affair at the LOCAL ACTION/GLOBAL IMPACT Panel Discussion, held at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, New Jersey. Panelists gathered under the shade provided by a full canopy of trees above, a striking display of early spring flowers in full bloom.
The audience took their seats as the arboretum's Executive Director, Frank Juliano, introduced the panelists to a diverse crowd of attendees who gathered to listen, learn, and participate in the discussion on this warm, humid evening.
Juliano launched the discussion with the question; "What is climate change, and is it different from global warming?"
Governor Whitman former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and founder of The Whitman Strategy Group, a provider of environmental and energy consulting services fielded the first question to begin the discussion;
"Climate change is what is going on, and it's caused by global warming." Whitman continued, "Warming is what is causing the climate to change."
Pointing to the arctic, which she says is, "warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world." The former head of the U.S. EPA described four arctic villages that have agreed to relocate inland after being confronted with the effects of a changing climate.
As the discussion continued, the panelists spoke to a range of topics including the population in New Jersey most vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate, the role that technology and education play in adapting to these challenges, and ways that citizens who may be concerned about these issues can begin to affect change.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Juliano summed up the evening in so many words. "Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Ciel Power, Green Summit, we all look to you, our experts, our neighbors, our family, our friends, for innovation, for common-sense solutions to a fair, more kind and sustainable world."
Juliano ended the discussion with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, reminding us what it means to be together in this effort, saying; "We are the last best hope."
LOCAL ACTION/GLOBAL IMPACT Event panelists included: Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and founder of The Whitman Strategy Group, providing environmental and energy consulting services to organizations and government agencies; J. Douglas Reid-Green, senior technical lead for BASF’s environmental remediation team; Jennifer Coffey, Executive Director of the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions; Melanie McDermott, Senior Researcher at Sustainable Jersey; and, David Naidu, President of the Common Council of Summit, NJ, and a partner at K&L Gates with an emphasis on environment, land and natural resources. Also pictured in the photo are Melissa Spurr and Donna Patel, both volunteers at Green Summit, and Scott Fischer, Managing Member of Ciel Power LLC.