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Resilience: A Community Conference on “Decoding the Weather Machine”

April 24, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 2:30 pm


Join us for the Library’s first-ever virtual Community Conference on Saturday, April 24 from 11:00 am to 2:15 pm EST to gain a deeper understanding of climate change and what scientists are doing to solve the problem. **Please watch the film, Decoding the Weather Machine, in advance of this mini-conference.**


The Earth is a weather machine composed of four elements: land, air, water, and ice. Climate scientists warn that pollution, the rise in temperatures around the globe, and the removal of our forests are dangerously changing the planet’s delicate balance, but emphasize that it’s not too late to rewrite the future.

The virtual conference day will be divided into three parts: lectures from experts featured in the film, a lecture by local leaders sharing their data and observations, and breakout community discussion groups. Lunch and refreshment breaks are provided.

New Canaan Library is a proud recipient of the American Library Association’s “Resilient Communities” grant and has partnered with New Canaan Land Trust and Planet New Canaan to organize public programming centered around films which explore climate change and community resilience. These films and the accompanying programs provide a fascinating window into what you thought you knew about climate change, and inspire participants to take local action to mitigate its consequences. 

Tentative Conference Schedule:

  • 11:00 am – 11:45 am: presentation by Waleed Abdalati, PhD, Professor of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder and live Q&A
    • Topic of discussion: Earth’s changing ice cover, sea level rise, and the technology used to measure changing ice cover and sea level rise, as well as effective ways to present this information to planners, decision-makers, and policy-makers
  • 11:45 am – 12:30 pm: Colonel Jason E. Kelly, South Atlantic Division Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and live Q&A
    • Topic of discussion: climate change and national security
  • 12:30 pm- 1:00 pm: Lunch break 
  • 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm: presentation by James O’Donnell, professor and Executive Director of CIRCA – CT Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation at UCONN, on local initiatives to mitigate climate change and live Q&A
  • 1:45 pm – 2:15 pm: Breakout discussion groups
  • 2:15 – 2:30: Goodbyes and additional resources to stay connected

Speaker bios:

Waleed Abdalati is Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder), where he is also a Professor in CU-Boulder’s Geography Department. Dr. Abdalati’s research focuses on the use of satellites and aircraft to understand how Earth’s glaciers, ice sheets, and sea ice are changing and the implications of those changes for the Earth System. Dr. Abdalati spent 14 years working for NASA in various capacities, including as NASA Chief Scientist, advising the NASA Administrator on matters related to NASA’s science programs and strategic planning and serving as the key NASA science interface to the White House, Congress, and other federal agencies.  Dr. Abdalati earned a B.S. from Syracuse University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from CU-Boulder.

Colonel Jason Kelly is Commander, South Atlantic Division, of the US Army Corps of Engineers. He joined the South Atlantic Division from the Pentagon, where he most recently served as Director, Office of the Chief of Engineers. A native of Flint, Michigan, Colonel Kelly attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and graduated in 1994 with a commission as an engineer officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from West Point, a master’s degree in engineering management from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a master’s degree in statistics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in joint campaign planning and strategy from the National Defense University, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is a graduate of the Joint Advanced Warfighter School, Combined Arms Services Staff School, the Sapper Leader Course, as well as the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. He is also a certified Project Management Professional.

James O’Donnell is a physical oceanographer, professor, and Executive Director of CIRCA. CIRCA is responsible for bringing together the world class research and outreach capabilities to create and disseminate practical and sustainable strategies to enhance the resilience of the built environment while protecting natural ecosystems in Connecticut and the northeast.

Community Partners


April 24, 2021
11:00 am - 2:30 pm
Event Category: