February 12, 2020

University Honors’ Tenney lecture will focus on impact of climate change

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Justin Schoof, geography professor and director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, wants people to understand that climate change is real and impacting nearly every part of the world.  

“I think a lot of people aren’t really aware of how solid the science is, or how we know that humans are responsible,” said Schoof, who will deliver the University Honors Program Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. “I’m going to talk about how we know.” 

Schoof will present “Climate Change: Understanding the Role of Humans.” The presentation is from 6 to 8 p.m. in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. A reception featuring organic and local food will follow the lecture.  

A Q&A will follow Schoof’s 45-minute presentation. 

Lecture series honors former SIU provost 

Schoof’s appearance is part of the Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture Series. Tenney’s 42-year history with SIU Carbondale included duties as coach, professor and administrator. He served as the university’s provost and vice president from 1952 to 1971 before he retired in 1973. He was instrumental in university organizing and planning and transforming SIU Carbondale from a teacher’s college. 

Interest in earth’s climate came at early age 

Schoof has been at SIU since 2006 and received his Ph.D from Indiana University in 2004. He recalls being very interested in the weather since childhood, when harsh winters in northern Indiana meant opportunities to make money shoveling snow.  

“I had to pay attention to the weather,” Schoof said. 

Now, just about everyone has a view of climate change. 

“I really do try to steer away from the political aspects as much as I can, because I don’t ever want to be viewed as being subjective,” Schoof said. “I basically present people with best available data and try to explain in honest terms what the uncertainties are. I’m troubled by the rhetoric that suggests climate scientists don’t want the problem solved because we benefit from it.” 

Climate change impact on the region 

Schoof intends to provide background on climate science, discussing everything from ice ages to more recent analyzation of ice cores drilled in Antarctica. The talk is for a general audience and Schoof will offer strong data to help better understand the role of humans in climate change. 

Schoof often gives lectures around the region, and he will dissect ongoing changes in Southern Illinois. He will discuss historical climate changes in the region, which are broadly consistent with global trends. 

SIU has a strong commitment to sustainability  

Jyotsna Kapur said the University Honors Program is “proud to be part of our campus' commitment to sustainability.” 

SIU last fall earned for a seventh straight year a place in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition” and Silver STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 

“In fact, it is our commitment to sustainability that makes the Honors Program distinctive from other Honors programs in the nation,” said Kapur. “We strive to bring together faculty, students and our community to reflect on and seek solutions to the environmental and human crisis confronting us.”