Pelican Island Audubon Society hosted Dr. Terry Root discussing the impact of climate change on birds and everything else.
Even in a pandemic we must be concerned about extreme heat, extended droughts, massive fires, and powerful hurricanes. These are all connected to the disruption of our climate due to greenhouse gas emissions. Since the late 1800s, the average global temperature has increased about 2oF (1.1oC) and we are on track to surpass the Paris Agreement target of 2.7oF (1.5oC) by 2030. In response to this rapid warming, much is changing on our planet, including earlier spring warming so both flowers are blooming, and birds are breeding earlier, species are also moving to cooler areas on land and in the oceans. Unless we soon slow the rapid warming, enumerable people will suffer due to heatwaves, storm surges, and spreading diseases. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of species—including species we rely upon—will face extinction. We must stop our fossil-fuel addiction to avoid such problems. Thankfully, there are many things that we can do, collectively and individually, to decrease the emissions of CO2. We just need the personal and political will to do it.
Terry L. Root is Professor Emerita at Stanford University. She was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 4th Assessment Report that in 2007 was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore. Also, she was a lead author for the 3rd Assessment Report (2001) and a Review Editor for the 5th Assessment Report (2014). In addition to other honors, Root was awarded the Spirit of Defenders Award for Science by Defenders of Wildlife in 2010, and Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for the conservation organization Point Blue. She served on the National Audubon Board of Directors from 2010 to 2019, currently serves on the board of Defenders of Wildlife, and is on numerous science advisory boards, including the American Wind and Wildlife Institute.
Root earned her undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of New Mexico, her master’s degree in Biology from the University of Colorado and her doctorate in Biology from Princeton University. She was a professor at the University of Michigan for 15 years, and then at Stanford University for 15 years. She now resides in Sarasota, FL, with her husband and 5.5-month-old puppy.