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Coal, Climate, Health - and Communication

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coal.jpgThe world has plenty of fossil fuels. In fact, it has far more than we can afford to burn and keep our climate stable, Fresh Energy executive director J. Drake Hamilton told a full house at last week's Frontiers series talk at the Institute on the Environment.

Addressing a crowd of U of M faculty, staff and students and community members, Hamilton noted that coal in particular is too expensive from an environmental and human health standpoint. She encouraged audience members to help reduce dependence on coal for generating electricity and relieve the threat of global climate change by getting to know policy makers and communicating the basics about the environmental consequences of energy policies.

"Ask yourself as you do your research work, 'Who needs to hear about this?'" she said. "Step back and repeat what you've known for a long time: The climate is changing, humans are mostly responsible and we can do something about it."

Scientists in particular have a burden of influencing public policy, Hamilton said. "Do you know the name of your legislator? More important, does your legislator know you? That's the way you can help create positive change going forward."

Interested in learning more? View Hamilton's Frontiers in the Environment talk, check out presentations on other topics from previous seasons, and see the schedule for the rest of this year's Frontiers lineup here.

Photo courtesy Robert & Mihaela Vicol

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