The South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton will host a climate change forum on Saturday in the hopes of generating a lively and healthy debate on the issue and the ways to reduce the effects of global warming.
The forum, which will include a panel of speakers who have experience in environmental issues and innovation, will raise money for new climate change programming at the museum to be launched this fall. It’s planned as the first of an annual series of discussions on the subject.
Speakers will include Peter Boyd, the senior advisor and climate lead for the B Team organization; State Assemblyman Steve Englebright; Michael Gerrard from the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University; climate change and investment expert Jack Rivkin; author, environmentalist and museum trustee Carl Safina; and Dr. Robert Stein, a Sag Harbor Village trustee. The panel will focus on the impacts climate change has had and could have on marine environments, mitigation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptation.
“We need to be aware in Sag Harbor, because we’re an expanding village, and the way we manage water and climate change right now affects the water tables and the amount of water we have,” said Dr. Stein, who is running for Sag Harbor mayor. “If we don’t manage the polluted water, we can’t sustain life. We would be a community that is not prepared for what potentially could come down the line and what is already here. We’re bursting at the seams.”
Dr. Stein has served as the liaison to the wastewater management plant and to harbors, docks and parks. He said like a car speeding toward a brick wall, the East End hasn’t slammed on the brakes and started doing things differently yet.
Mr. Safina said the East End must move forward with policies and technologies if it wants to stand a chance against the effects of global warming.
“Sea level rise and intensified storms give those of us with houses in our area cause for pause,” said Carl Safina in a statement. “Whether we barricade ourselves or stage a managed retreat to higher ground, the sea isn’t what it used to be. Neither is the future. What we do will come down to money and policies. But first we need the best information on what might happen, and likelihoods of it happening, so we can plan contingencies and ‘what-if’ scenarios.”
From a monetary standpoint, Mr. Rivkin, an Amagansett resident who is on the board of Idealab, an incubator that works with clean technology start-ups, said that the idea of saving money alone should move people toward using cleaner, more efficient technology.
Mr. Rivkin said he has solar thermal panels on his home, which capture the heat from the sun. He said he doesn’t have to turn on his hot water heater a lot of the time. He said that there are opportunities for tax credits for those who reduce their emissions through green technology as well.
“One doesn’t have to debate about climate change if he is simply looking to reduce the cost of energy,” he said. “New technology have gotten to the level where it’s very competitive. One might as well do this. There is money to be saved given what has happened in technology.”
Tickets are $150 suggested donation and $75 for students. Children under 16 are admitted free. A $500 VIP ticket includes a post-event dinner with the speakers, hosted by Andy Sabin, president and founder of the museum. For more information, call 537-9735 or 903-7217, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.