Promoting action to build resilient and sustainable island communities

Exec Director Kate Brown joins John Hopkins’ Climate Change Symposium as a speaker…

JOHNS HOPKINS CHANGING BY DEGREESWashington D.C., 3rd May 2019 — GLISPA Exec Director Kate Brown participated in the one-day climate change symposium “Changing by Degrees: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Climate Change” which was organised by the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs in cooperation with the National Academy of Science.

Climate Change Symposium Kate SpeakingThe symposium’s title makes a reference to “Changing by Degrees: Steps to Reduce Greenhouse Gases” which is a 1991 report issued by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (now defunct) at the request of Congress.

“Twenty-eight years later, the effects of climate change are ever more evident—and the need to combat them more urgent,” the event invitation states.

The symposium discussed climate change in today’s multi-faceted environment with a multidisciplinary panel:

  • Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, National Museum of Natural History (morning keynote)
  • Governor Martin O’Malley, 61st Governor of the State of Maryland (closing keynote)
  • Angela Fritz, meteorologist and Deputy Editor at The Washington Post (panel facilitator and discussion leader)
  • Kate Brown, Executive Director of Global Island Partnership
  • John Cook, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University
  • Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States of America
  • Brenda Ekwurzel, Director of Climate Science at the Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Kate Johnson, Chief of the Green Building and Climate Branch, District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment
  • Marcus D. King, Senior Fellow, Center for Climate and Security
  • Chris McWhinney, Founder and CEO of Millennium Reign Energy
  • Tom Peterson, President and CEO of the Center for Climate Strategies

The symposium brought together a diverse range of leaders in their field - from environmental science and public policy to finance and communications to discuss the impacts of climate change and to examine various approaches to combating those latter.

Our Exec Director Kate Brown represented island voices highlighting that we need to raise awareness for climate change by "touching the hearts and minds" of people within each and every community. She also presented the Fragile Ecosystem Coalition that the Global Island Partnership has formed with the Mountain Partnership.

Watch Part 2 of the John Hopkins Climate Change Symposium featuring Kate Brown and please reflect on her key question, “how to mobilise the hearts and minds of big countries such as China, U.S. and India in favour of #IslandResilience?” Share your ideas and stories with us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?460377-3/johns-hopkins-climate-change-symposium-part-2

GLISPA Exec Director Kate Brown’s excerpts (CSPAN transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning):

[Angela Fritz giving GLISPA the opportunity to open a panel discussion to raise island voices] AWESOME, THANKS, ANGELA AND REALLY EXCITED ACTUALLY TO BE IN A MULTIDISCIPLINARY PANEL BECAUSE I THINK THAT'S MY MAIN THING I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT. I WORK MAINLY WITH ISLAND LEADERS, POLITICAL LEADERS WHO ARE TIED TO DO SOMETHING BOTH TO INFLUENCE OTHERS TO CREATE KIND OF A SPACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN TAKE ACTION BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND ALSO IN THEIR ISLANDS IN BETWEEN ISLANDS. BUT AS A PERSON THAT DOES THAT, I REALIZED IN THE LAST YEAR THAT WHAT REALLY NEEDS TO HAPPEN IS THAT WE ALL NEED TO BE WORKING ON CHANGING HEARTS AND MINDS. FIJIAN PEOPLE REALLY UNDERSTAND CLIMATE CHANGE IS COMING BUT IF I'M HERE IN RIGHT LIVE IN SILVER SPRING, PEOPLE THINK IT'S SOMETHING HAPPENING TO OTHER PEOPLE SOMEWHERE ELSE. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THAT. WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE IF PEOPLE DON'T DO THAT. SO MY PERSONAL KIND OF THING I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IS WHO IN MY COMMUNITY I CAN PERSONAL INFLUENCE. I BELONG TO A CHURCH SO I'VE BEEN TALKING A LOT TO CHURCH GROUPS ABOUT KIND OF THE ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE FROM CREATION CARE PERSPECTIVE. AND I THINK THAT WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS ALL OF US CAN GET OUT THERE IN OUR COMMUNITIES, START ENABLING PEOPLE TO SEE IT'S IMPORTANT TO VOTE FOR CLIMATE. CLIMATE IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE, THEN IN MY WORK LIFE I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK AND RAISE HER VOICE OF ISLAND PEOPLE BECAUSE ACTUAL BELIEVE ISLANDERS HAVE A LOT OF THE SOLUTIONS TO WHAT THEY NEED TO DO THEMSELVES AND THEIR READY TO TAKE ACTION. BUT A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING, THERE'S REALLY NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT. CHANGE NEEDS TO HAPPEN AT SUCH A SCALE THAT IT CAN SEEM IMPOSSIBLE. SO SOMETIMES THEY CAN FEEL LIKE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THINGS KIND OF OVER THERE, WHAT IS ACTUALLY WHEN NEEDS TO HAPPEN IS ALL OF THE WORLD HAS TO KIND OF AGREE AND DO SOMETHING PARTICULARLY THE BIG COUNTRIES, U.S., LIKE CHINA, LIKE INDIA, HOW TO IMMOBILIZE THE HEARTS AND MINDS IN THOSE PLACES? AND I THINK THE OTHER THING JUST TOUCH ON WHAT YOU SAID, ANGELA, IS REALLY BRINGING THE PEOPLE THAT ARE MOST IMPACTED INTO THE ROOM. HOW DO WE ENABLE THE STORIES TO BE TOLD THIS HEARTS AND MINDS SEEN FROM THE PEOPLE OF SOMETHING THAT REALLY IS IMPORTANT TO SHARE? FOR EXAMPLE, ISLAND PEOPLE AND I WAS AT THE LODGE FOR A BIG FUND THE OTHER DAY THAT ACTUAL INCLUDED ISLANDS FOR THE FIRST TIME. SO WE START TO SEE THERE'S AN UPSWING BUT I THINK WE HAVE SOME PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR WE ALSO CAN HAVE TO BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS TO CHANGE. SOME OF IT START WITH THE PARIS DECLARATION OBVIOUSLY BUT WE ARE NOT THERE YET.


[on islands being at the forefront of climate change and the connection between islands and mountains] WE ARE JUST LAUNCHING A COALITION WITH THE MOUNTAIN PARTNERSHIP TO TRY AND BRING THE VOICE OF THOSE GROUPS KIND OF MUCH MORE TO THE FORE OF THE INTERNATIONAL DISCUSSION. BUT ALSO I THINK AS IMPRESSIVE SAID, BECAUSE THEY HAVE THOUGHT THERE AT THE OPPOSITE END OF THE PROBLEM BUT THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS IN COMMON THAT THEY CAN WORK ON, ACCESS TO BOARD, ALSO OTHER THINGS. I RECENTLY WENT TO THE MOUNTAIN PARTNERSHIP, MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE AND REALIZED HOW LITTLE I KNEW ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE MOUNTAINS, EVEN THOUGH I WORKED INTERNATIONALLY IN THIS AREA, WHICH TELLS ME THEY ARE EVEN LESS INVOLVED AND LESS KIND OF PREVALENT IN THESE DISCUSSIONS THAN ISLANDERS. AND ALSO IN REALLY DIFFICULT PLACES WHERE THEY'RE NOT NECESSARILY HAVING ACCESS TO THE KIND OF SUPPORT THAT THEY NEED. SO YEAH, I MEAN, I'M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THAT, THAT WE'RE GOING TO LAUNCH THAT THIS YEAR TOGETHER. ALSO THERE ARE SOME ISLANDS THAT ARE ALSO MOUNTAINOUS ISLANDS WHICH PARTY WITH SOME OF THE SAME THINGS. AND I THINK THE IDEA OF ISOLATION OF COMMUNITIES LIVING, KIND OF HAVING TO FIGURE THINGS OUT THEMSELVES IS A REALLY COMMON THREAD BETWEEN MOUNTAINS AND ISLANDS. THEY CAN'T REALLY GET OF THE PEOPLE TO COME HELP THEM. IF YOU'RE HAVING A HURRICANE, FOR EXAMPLE, IN FIJI, , YOU KIND OF HAVE TO FIGURE THAT OUT YOURSELF. AND FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO. AND YOU COULD CALL ON PEOPLE AFTER BUT AT THE TIME, IT'S UP TO YOU.

[on hidden effects of climate change on islands - with reference to biodiversity] ISLANDS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PLACES WITH THE LARGEST EXTINCTIONS IN THE US BEING IN HAWAII. WE KNOW THAT CLIMATE CHANGE WILL MAKE THESE THINGS WORSE. TOUCHING ON SOMETHING ELSE, LOOKING AT SUSTAINABILITY IS PART OF THE SOLUTION AND WE ARE SEEING THAT WITH HAWAII AND THAT PARTNERSHIP. THEY ARE TRYING TO CONNECT BETWEEN WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE LEADERSHIP AND TRY TO MEASURE CHANGE. I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO LOOK AT THE GOVERNOR'S WEBSITE. WE WILL SEE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT CRITICAL THINGS INCLUDING CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING ON THE STATE LEVEL IN ALL THE COUNTRIES ACROSS HAWAII THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT. IT IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO RETHINK SOME OF THESE THINGS. OUR PARTNERSHIP STARTED IN THE BIODIVERSITY SPACE, WORKING VERY MUCH ON THESE ISSUES. WE KNOW THINGS WILL BE EXTINCT. ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN A SYSTEM. I THINK SOME OF THE ISSUES WHERE WE LOOK AT WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT, PEOPLE DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THESE THINGS, OR WHICH THING TO FOCUS ON BECAUSE OF DIFFERENT THINGS. THE BIG PICTURE LEVEL TALKING ON SOMETHING VERY AMBASSADOR SAID, THE ACTUAL FINANCING OF ACTION IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN IRELAND. I DON'T SAY THAT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ASKING FOR MONEY AND GETTING IT. I'M LOOKING MORE AT EXISTING CONDITIONS LIKE BIODIVERSITY SPACE. IN THE CARIBBEAN, EVERY TIME THEY HAVE ANOTHER DISASTER LIKE THE HURRICANES, IT THROWS THEM FURTHER BACK. THEY HAVE ACCESS TO CONCESSIONARY FINANCE BUT THEY HAVE LESS MONEY TO DEAL WITH BIGGER AND BIGGER PROBLEMS BUT WE HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT AND THE OTHER THING IS ABOUT HOW WE KNOW THERE'S NOT ENOUGH PUBLIC-SECTOR RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH CLIMATE CHANGE SO WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE PROBLEM WITH IRELAND, ISLANDS ARE TOO SMALL. THE AMBASSADOR OF THIS COUNTRY, HOW IS 9000 PEOPLE GOING TO MANAGE PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE WHICH NEEDS TO HAPPEN? HOW DO WE AS A GROUP OF THINKING PEOPLE OVERCOME THOSE ISSUES? IT IS ONE OF THE ISSUES, SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO FOCUS ON. LOOKING THROUGH THE LENS, KIND OF MOVE FROM THERE. HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE? WHERE DO YOU INVEST YOUR CLIMATE MANY? YOU CAN'T DO EVERYTHING.

[on policy and the change in public awareness] IF YOU LOOK AT THE ACTION BY GOVERNORS, A HUGE UP AS WELL, SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY THINK THAT IS WHAT JOHN SAID. A REAL POSITIVE THING. PEOPLE ARE FEELING THEY REALLY HAVE TO GET INVOLVED AND THAT MAY BE TRUE.

[on engagement patterns of people] IT DEPENDS ON THEIR AGE TO BE HONEST. I DID A PRESENTATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, LOOKING AT IMPACTS LOCALLY, PLACES THEY LIVE AND MY PASTOR OLD ME, THEY LOVE MY PRESENTATION BUT STILL DON'T REALLY BELIEVE CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL. THE SAME CONVERSATION WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY TOTALLY GET THAT. SO WHAT WE ARE IN IS THIS SPACE TO CONNECT THOSE TWO PLACES AND HELP PEOPLE OF THE OLDER GENERATION FEEL COMFORTABLE AND, IT IS REALLY THINKING ABOUT WHAT MAKES SENSE FOR THEM AND ENABLING THIS NEXT GENERATION TO DRIVE THE CHANGE AT THE PACE THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN (...) YOU JUST HAVE TO MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AND TO DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP AND WORK WITH THEM. PEOPLE GENERALLY WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

[on the role of policymaking for a change in climate change: how to convince local governments/localities] THE CHALLENGE IS NOT TO LEAVE THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE BEHIND. WHEN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS WHICH WILL MAKE SENSE HERE BUT EVEN THE US, MIAMI AND OTHERS, PUERTO RICO AND GUAM AND AMERICAN SAMOA AND THE NORTHERN BARRIER ISLANDS ARE PART OF AMERICA AS WELL. IT IS HOW WE MOVE FORWARD, THOSE WHO ARE LEAST ABLE TO ADAPT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SOLUTIONS AS WE SHIFT AND WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MOVE BUT I SEE LOTS OF COMMUNITIES WHERE THEY ARE NOT SURE WHAT TO DO. THE PROBLEM IS NOT NECESSARILY AT THE SALES THEY CAN DEAL WITH.

[on finding a consensus (within politicians) for climate change and the importance of the arts] WHEN YOU WERE TALKING IT REMINDED ME I WAS AT SOMETHING WITH THE CHIEF RESILIENCE OFFICER OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AND THEY WANT THE ISLANDS TO WORK WITH US A LITTLE BIT BUT SOMETHING HE SAID THAT POINTS TO THAT, OVER THE NEXT YEAR OR SO THEY SEE THEIR ROLE AS HAVING MIAMI AIRPORT, WHERE PEOPLE GO THROUGH, THEY WANT TO PLAY A MUCH MORE ACTIVE ROLE ON RESILIENCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE AND BEING CHAMPIONS OF THAT ISSUE. IT GAVE ME A LOT OF HOPE AND HE ALSO SAID THEY APPRECIATE IN MIAMI THAT THEY ARE TAKING IN PEOPLE FROM THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND STARTING TO HAVE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THAT NOW AND WHAT THAT MEANS IN THAT PLACE, TELLS YOU THERE IS REAL CHANGE, A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND THEN STRONG EFFICACY THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN SO PEOPLE FLYING THROUGH MIAMI AIRPORT WILL START SEEING THIS AS THE NORM RATHER THAN SOMETHING PEOPLE AT A JOHNS HOPKINS PANEL ARE TALKING ABOUT.

To watch the remaining parts of the symposium, refer to the below synopsis and links.

Johns Hopkins Climate Change Symposium, Part 1
In this portion of Johns Hopkins University’s day-long climate change symposium, National Museum of Natural History Director Kirk Johnson talked about his research into geologic and climate history and its relevance in studying the effects of climate change. After his presentation, he answered questions from the audience.
People in this video:

  • Brenda Ekwurzel (Senior Scientist, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists)
  • Kirk Johnson (Sant Director, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

https://www.c-span.org/video/?460377-1/johns-hopkins-climate-change-symposium-part-1

Johns Hopkins Climate Change Symposium, Part 3
Johns Hopkins University held a day-long climate change symposium in Washington, DC. In this portion, a Washington Post editor moderated a panel discussion on ways to champion climate change action and the best practices to use for the future. In addition to wind and solar, hydrogen was heavily discussed.
https://www.c-span.org/video/?460377-2/johns-hopkins-climate-change-symposium-part-