media release

Series explores Earth’s history to understand climate change

January 27, 2014

Laurie Wood, Continuing Studies in Science and Environment, 778.782.5466, lauriew@sfu.caScott McLean, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151,

Featuring leading thinkers from the Smithsonian, UC Berkeley, Montana, and Simon Fraser University, a new series of public lectures curated by SFU’s Continuing Studies in Science and Environment aims to explore how the study of fossils and Earth’s history can shed light on the future consequences of climate change.

Deep Time, Global Change and You, a seven-part public lecture series, begins on Jan. 30, with a talk by Scott Wing, curator of fossil plants at the Smithsonian Museum. Wing will discuss a period in Earth’s history approximately 56 million years ago when the planet experienced several sudden extreme warming events that ushered in a “Greenhouse World,” events that closely mirror present-day warming.

Another highlight of the series will be when University of California Berkeley professor Anthony Barnosky investigates the impact of human population growth from its present level of seven billion, to the over nine billion projected by the year 2050. Barnosky’s lecture, entitled Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century, takes place on March 13.

The series also features a discussion on the concept of De-extinction, when Beth Shapiro, an associate professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, asks the question What if Extinction is Not Forever? on March 6.

Other lectures include Global Biodiversity and Climate: What Fossil Insects Tell Us with SFU’s Bruce Archibald on Feb. 6, A Long View of Fire, Climate, and People with Montana State University Bozeman’s Cathy Whitlock on Feb. 13, The Human Footprint in the Pacific Northwest with SFU’s Rolf Mathewes on Feb. 20, and Magnitude 9—How we learned that the largest earthquakes on Earth happen on our coast with SFU’s John Clague on Feb. 27.

For more information on the full series, please visit:

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


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