Expanding Deserts: A Global Concern
A Two-Part Lecture Series at the Bruce Museum
Tuesday, September 18 and Tuesday, October 23
With the opening of Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry (on view through March 3, 2013), the Bruce Museum is presenting a timely exhibition that explores the complex ecosystems of deserts by looking at how and where they form, examining plant and animal survival strategies and explaining the significance of these regions in our everyday lives.
The exhibition also spotlights the global issue of desertification, the process by which fertile land is transformed into desert as a result of human-induced causes such as deforestation and poor agricultural practices, as well as drought conditions exacerbated by inadequate conservation of water resources and climate change.
To complement the exhibition, the Museum is presenting a two-part lecture series. Expanding Deserts: A Global Concern features discussion of the natural development of deserts and how this facilitated human evolution and exploration of the rapid growth of deserts due to human activity and the initiatives underway to mitigate the global impacts of this trend.
Tuesday, September 18 at 6:30 pm
Desert Formation and the Emergence of Civilization with Peter deMenocal PhD. Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Editor of Earth and Planetary Science Letters at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Dr. deMenocal will discuss how the natural formation of deserts in East Africa may have been the impetus for human evolution.
The modern-day Sahara was once verdant and lush during the so-called African Humid Period (10,000-5,000 years ago), with abundant wildlife and human settlements. Dr. deMenocal discusses why this “Green Sahara” disappeared 5,000 years ago and how this climate change event led to the first appearance of urban, stratified cultures in Egypt.
Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 pm
Desertification: A Perspective from the UNCCD Drylands Ambassador with Ms. Leila Lopes. A native of Angola and Miss Universe 2011, Ms. Lopes is a Drylands Ambassador to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). She will discuss the importance and impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought, and sustainable land management.
Though part of her native country of Angola is threatened by desertification, Ms. Lopes understands that drylands are not a liability and that they hold great potential to solve some of the most pressing problems in advancing sustainable development.
Organized by the Bruce Museum Science Committee, the lecture series is supported by Sara and Don Nelson and the Marjorie Sims Lawrence Fund.
Reservations are strongly recommended and will be accepted beginning two weeks prior to each lecture. Call the Museum at 203 413-6757.
The lectures are free to Museum members and students with school/ college identification. Admission for non-members is $5 at the door. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 pm and the lectures begin promptly at 7 pm.