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Observatory Open House

Climate Change, Energy System Transformation and Sustainable Development:
Challenges for the Next Generation

Presented by:  Dr. Bob Brecha, University of Dayton


The world is faced with a series of challenges that will only become more difficult as the 21st century progresses. Climate change is real and will have increasingly severe effects over the next decades. The same fossil fuels that have enabled economic growth and development around the world are also the leading cause of changes to the earth's climate system, but are also becoming more difficult to extract from the earth. Finally, billions of people around the world have not yet had access to modern energy systems. The paradox of development has been that wealthy countries used fossil fuels over the past century or more, but the resulting climate change threatens mainly the least wealthy parts of the globe. One of the key features of sustainability is how we are led to consider the interconnectedness of all our actions, both with the planet's natural systems and with human societies elsewhere and in the future. If we start with the concept of a finite planet within which we have organized our societal relations, we realize that there are real limits on our ability to increase the use of natural resources and to discard our waste into the atmosphere and oceans. These ideas were very clearly expressed by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si'.

Remarkably, there is one key to addressing all of these challenges at once - a dramatic increase in deployment of renewable energy technologies. Fortunately, if we act with an appropriate sense of urgency, the technologies to enable sustainable development through renewable energy are either currently available or advancing rapidly. This talk will be a presentation of some current realities, as well as very real difficulties in making the transformation to a sustainable world energy system.

Dr. Bob Brecha is a professor at the University of Dayton. Dr. Brecha works in the Department of Physics, the Renewable and Clean Energy Graduate Program, and the Hanley Sustainability Institute. Dr. Brecha also periodically serves as a visiting scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Weather permitting, join us after the talk for a viewing of the stars and more at The BB&T Observatory. Thomas More College faculty and students will be available to help the public view the night sky through a telescope.

This talk is intended for a general audience. All ages are welcome. The event is free and open to the public.

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When and Where:
Saturday, April 8thth
8:00 p.m. - Introduction and Lecture - Steigerwald Hall, Saints Center
9:00 p.m. - Night Sky Viewing - BB&T Observatory (weather permitting)

Both located on the campus of Thomas More College:
333 Thomas More Parkway
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

FREE and open to the public.  No reservations required.  All ages welcome.

Spring Event Schedule:

Observatory Open House
Saturday, May 6th
Talk - 8PM, Observing - 9PM