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Climate Scientist Richard Alley inspires Green Teams at annual luncheon

July 11, 2016

Penn State Green Teams celebrated their success over the last year at their annual June luncheon, hosted by the Sustainability Institute, in the HUB-Robeson Heritage Hall. Green Teams are groups of faculty, staff, and students who volunteer to take specific actions to help their department operate in a more sustainable way.

Professor Richard Alley was the keynote speaker for the event and became a motivational support for the work the Green Teams had already completed.

Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, has published more than 200 refereed scientific publications about the relationships between the Earth's cryosphere and global climate change.

His speech, “Greening Penn State: Why the Earth Needs You” grasped the audience's attention and pushed them to think outside the box to continue the success of their work.

“What is it that makes Penn State a little special? I think that it’s people who are committed to doing the right things,” Alley said to the Green Team members at the luncheon.

“They may not have their names on the back of their shirts, but they are doing it anyway. And if you leave with nothing else today, it’s that the commitment to doing the right thing has been here for a very long time and it is alive in this room.”

A renowned climate scientist, researcher, science communicator and educator, Alley has served on numerous panels and committees related to climate change, making him an excellent choice to appear at the luncheon.

“We’re the first generation in history with enough knowledge that we know we could [have a sustainable future],” Alley said.

“Now taking that knowledge and making it work for people is, in some sense, the most important thing we can do. You don’t have your name on the back of your shirt, but you are part of the team that’s doing that.

He ended his keynote thanking the departments for their work and saying, “It’s all of us all the time, but we’re sustainability. We are the centerpiece, and it’s not going to be easy…but in some sense it’s the most important thing we can do.”

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