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Climate Change Forum Answer's Pope's Call

PHILADELPHIA, July 22, 2015

In response to Pope Francis’ call for a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet,” the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will hold a special public forum on Monday, Sept. 21, featuring a leading advisor to the Vatican on climate change and sustainable development.

“Climate Change: A New Dialogue” brings together environmental advocates, scientists and community members for a critical conversation about climate change and the future. The panel of prominent thought leaders features keynote speaker Jeffrey D. Sachs, widely considered to be the world's leading expert on economic development and the fight against poverty. Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Sachs is the 2015 co-recipient of the Blue Planet Prize, the highest international prize for environmental sustainability.


Sachs’ work on promoting sustainable environmental practices, ending poverty, promoting economic growth, and fighting hunger and disease has taken him to more than 125 countries. He worked with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on issues of climate change and sustainable development in advance of the encyclical.


The forum, part of the Academy’s Town Square series, begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free, but registration is required. Following the forum, Sachs will sign copies of his latest book, The Age of Sustainable Development. To register, visit


In his recent encyclical, the pope called for a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet … a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” In keeping with these issues, the forum will address how science, environmental justice, urban planning, and policy can provide solutions to help society, and especially its most vulnerable members, adapt to climate change.


Since its founding in 1812, the Academy has explored the remarkable diversity of the natural world and built a world-renowned legacy of research on biodiversity, evolution and environmental science.


“At the Academy, we believe in combining the power of science, education and community to address real-world problems and to make a difference,” said David Velinsky, vice president for Academy science and department head for Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University.


At the forum, Sachs will lead a panel which includes Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University; Katherine Gajewski, director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; and Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Shannon Marquez, associate vice provost for Global Health and International Development for Drexel’s School of Public Health, will moderate the panel.


Sachs is Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University and recently moderated the conference on climate change organized by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences. Author of three New York Times best-selling books, he also is special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals and director of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network.



To download an image of Jeffrey Sachs, visit the Academy’s Press Room.

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