STEM Café seeks common ground in climate debate

Why do our conversations about climate change get so heated? And why do they often feel so unproductive? At the next STEM Café, “The Rhetoric of Climate Change,” NIU Professor Emeritus of English Philip Eubanks will explore why people disagree so strongly about climate change and what can be done to make the conversation more useful for everyone.

The free event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, in the Novak Room at Fatty’s Pub and Grille, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, or catch the event live on Facebook.

“I would like people who are concerned about climate change––people like me––to gain a better understanding of what motivates those who are not convinced by climate science,” Eubanks said. “I would also like to show climate skeptics that it is possible to reconsider climate science without sacrificing ideals and values that are important to them.”

Most of all, Eubanks wants people to understand each other’s opinions.

“A solid understanding of the basis of our disagreements can help us all talk more productively about this urgent question,” he said.

In his academic career, Eubanks has focused on the study of how people make arguments. In 2015, he published “The Troubled Rhetoric and Communication of Climate Change: The Argumentative Situation.”

“On TV, we mostly see people failing to find common ground when talking about the climate,” says Judith Dymond, who coordinates the STEM Café series. “Eubanks will draw on his scholarly expertise to help us understand each other and improve our conversations.”

Food and drink will be available for purchase from Fatty’s.

Monthly STEM Cafés are one of many programs offered through NIU STEAM Works, part of the university’s Center for P-20 Engagement. Each STEM Café provides an opportunity to learn about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are a part of our everyday lives.

All STEM Cafés are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Judy Dymond at jdymond@niu.edu or 779-777-7713.

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