A former administrator for the federal Environmental Protection Agency will give a talk at Finger Lakes Community College Sunday, Jan. 27, as part of the George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum.
Gina McCarthy, who headed the EPA from 2013 to 2017, will focus on climate change in her talk, titled “Final Arguments in People vs. Planet.” WXXI’s “Connections” radio show host and author Evan Dawson will serve as moderator. The event will begin at 4 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium at FLCC’s main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua.
President Barack Obama nominated McCarthy to replace Lisa Jackson as head of the EPA in March 2013. She became the face of Obama’s global warming and climate change initiative when she was confirmed on July 18, 2013, after a record 136-day Senate confirmation battle.
While at the EPA’s helm, McCarthy sought to redefine the “waters of the United States” in the Clean Air Act in an effort to prohibit pollution in upland U.S. watersheds. She finalized the controversial Clean Power Plan seeking the reduction of the use of coal in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement, and defended the EPA in the early stages of the Flint, Mich. water crisis. Her successor, Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, challenged and overturned many of her initiatives before resigning amid allegations of misconduct this past July.
McCarthy is now the director of Harvard University’s C-Change, the Center for Climate, Health and Global Environment. She remains an outspoken critic of climate change deniers, pointing to scientific evidence: The 20 warmest years in the global temperature record have come since 1995, the five warmest since 2010.
She is dedicated to the notion that people and planet must work in concert to promote environmental health and clean air quality. She promotes workable solutions to mitigate the existential crisis of climate change and its effects on humans and other species.
McCarthy is the third speaker in the 2018-2019 Ewing speaker series. Canandaigua native Michael O’Hanlon, a foreign policy expert with the Brookings Institution, opened the forum in September, and James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, visited in October. Conservationist, writer, birdwatcher and Clemson University Prof. J. Drew Lanham will close the forum Sunday, March 24.
Forum events are moderated conversations and audience members will have the opportunity to submit questions. Dawson, who frequently focuses on the Rochester region’s environmental issues on his radio show, has served as the guest speaker and moderator of past Ewing forum events.
Launched in 2011, the speaker series is named for the late George M. Ewing Sr., the longtime editor and publisher of the Daily Messenger, later to become Messenger Post Media. The forum is funded in part with an endowment from the Ewing family as well as support from Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Wegmans and FLCC.
Tickets, at $25 each, can be ordered by phone at 585- 398-0239 or purchased online at gmeforum.org. Remaining tickets may be purchased at the door. Students with a current ID enter free, provided tickets remain. Forum organizers always welcome sponsors. Donors receive tickets, admission to receptions an