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Events put focus on environment, climate change

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Zack Rago

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The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 16, 2019

Several events in Greenville this week will focus on climate change and the environment, starting with a visit from self-described “coral nerd” Zack Rago, co-star of the film “Chasing Coral.”

Rago was on a team of filmmakers who spent more than three years monitoring coral reefs for the 2017 Netflix documentary. He is coming to Greenville for a screening of the film and other observances of World Water Monitoring Day.

Rago, who has a degree in evolutionary biology and ecology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, will introduce the film at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Common, 105 E. First St. Student environmental project displays are being showcased in conjunction with the event, beginning at 6 p.m.

Sustain ECU, the City of Greenville Recreation and Parks Department and Love A Sea Turtle will host the free screening at 7:30 p.m. The award-winning film seeks to answer why coral reefs are disappearing at an unprecedented rate.

Rago also will address East Carolina University students as well as area high school students Wednesday at a series of presentations in Hendrix Theatre on campus and will participate in a panel discussion and question-and-answer sessions.

Water Monitoring Day

From 1-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, River Park North, 1000 Mumford Road, will host World Water Monitoring Day. Members of LAST, along with EarthEcho Water Challenge Ambassadors and Pitt County schools students will take part in presentations and water testing in the Discovery STEAM Lab inside the park’s Science and Nature Center.

This event is coordinated in conjunction with the EarthEcho Water Challenge, an annual program designed to equip individuals and organizations to test water quality locally, sharing data internationally to help protect water resources. It will include a group Skype with Philippe Cousteau Jr., founder of EarthEcho International and grandson of Jacques Cousteau.

Uptown Brewing, 418 Evans St., will host an open forum with Rago from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday. For more information, visit loveaseaturtle.com or email dkcc@live.com.

Bill McKibben visit

The focus will shift to global climate change on Thursday when the ECU’s Religious Studies Program hosts environmentalist Bill McKibben for its 27th Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture at 7 p.m. in the Main Campus Student Center Ballroom.

McKibben is a best-selling author, teacher and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming. He is the founder of 350.org, which advocates for actions to address climate change.

McKibben will speak on “Faith and Climate: Trying to Make Sense of the Biggest Things that Ever Happened.” The lecture will address ethical issues and the role of faith communities.

McKibben has authored a dozen books including The End of Nature (1989) and Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play itself Out? (2019), according to ECU. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize (“alternative Nobel”) in 2014. In 2013 he was the winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize.

Thursday’s speech is free and open to the public.

Climate Action Rally

The Cypress Group of the N.C. Sierra Club will host a Climate Action Rally from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday at Elm Street Park. The event is meant to raise awareness ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit convening in New York on Monday.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come to New York on with concrete, realistic plans to enhance nationally determined contributions outlined in the Paris Agreement — a treaty from which the United States withdrew under President Donald Trump.

The agreement’s goal is to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050, according to the United Nations.

The Sunday rally is among Global Climate Strike events organized by advocacy groups worldwide between Sept. 20-27 to demand action on climate change.

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