LONG ISLAND, NY – Nature enthusiasts, politicians, environmental activists and assemblymen gathered together at the 1st Annual SoFo Climate Change Forum and Benefit – Climate Change: What It Means for the East End at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, New York on June 6, 2015.
Before the panel discussion I interviewed Executive Director Frank Quevedo who stressed the emphasis on adapting to our climate change on a local scale.
Tell my audience a little bit more about this event and why it is so important that we all get involved.
Executive Director Frank Quevedo of South Fork Natural History Museum with Cognac Wellerlane at the 1st Annual SoFo Climate Change Forum and Benefit in Bridgehampton on June 6, 2015
Frank: Our mission as an organization is to educate the public about environmental issues; about the natural history and how to preserve it. We try to reach out to children and adults in many different ways through our programs and tonight our event is specifically focused on climate change. A few years ago climate change was just a word and term that people used loosely. Now we are seeing after Super Storm Sandy a couple of years ago the impacts of high sea levels. The rising sea levels increase temperatures in our waters and glaciers melting which can create storm water issues here. Our salt water can be contaminated. Our fresh water can get flooded with salt water that can be an issue.
It’s also killing our fish too!
Frank: Well that is not related to climate change specifically that is more of an issue of people not being educated to know what stuff to put on their lawns or put on the ground so that they can get released into the water bodies of our local community and that creates an influx of nitrogen to our water system which creates low oxygen which can kill fish and other marine life.
This climate change is not just effecting the East End here in the Hamptons it is also effecting the world!
Frank: Yes, the world….you know we focus on a local scale but on a global scale there is all these climate change issues that need to be addressed. An event like this here in our community really brings awareness to the community.
That’s why I am here. I want to bring awareness.
Frank: Awareness is the key word here for this event. The premise of this event is to make people aware that climate change is for real and we are going to need to address the impacts of climate change because something drastic is going to happen someday and we need to be prepared for the future.
What should we do? How can we be prepared?
Frank: That is the discussion that the professionals and the people that we have on the panel tonight are going to address. My background and my strong points as an executive director here at the museum is to create educational programs. This event will initiate us to come up with new ideas and new programs specific to climate change.
Tell my audience who will be speaking tonight….some important people including assemblymen an politicians. Tell my audience who will be speaking.
Frank: Today our moderator for our event is Assemblyman Steven Englebright who is also a Board of Director of the South Fork History Museum. We have Dr. Carl Safina who is also an author, a conservationist and president and founder of the Safina Center. We have Peter Boyd who is a leader in climate change issues an regulations in the community. We have Robbie Stein who is running for Sag Harbor Village Mayor who has a lot of input on a local scale. Jack Rivkin who is an expert in creating solar energy and energy efficient guidelines to help alleviate the pressures of climate change. Environmental Activists Michael Gerrard who is a lawyer at Columbia Law School of Climate Change as well. He has been a tremendous influence on a global scale and a local scale in discussing and coming up with regulations and guidelines to deal with these climate change impacts.
This is a fascinating subject and I think that all people should be more aware of what is going on in the world. This is a major problem and I am so glad that you invited me to come to this event.
Frank: This is just part of our mission to create educational awareness about what is happening to our environment and we need to continue this for our children.
Exactly, we are not going to here forever but our children will be and we want them to be in a safe environment.
Frank: We want them to be in a safe environment but we also want them to be stewards and caretakers of our natural world
The history of the South Fork Natural History Museum began in 1988 with a group of South Fork naturalists who were concerned about the future of the area’s fragile ecosystems formed a membership organization called the South Fork Natural History Society, familiarly known as SoFo.
Peter Boyd Leader in Climate Change with Cognac Wellerlane at the 1st Annual SoFo Climate Change Forum and Benefit in Bridgehampton on June 6, 2015
Their objective was twofold — to increase public awareness about the past, present, and future of eastern Long Island’s natural history and to share with others the joy they found when they went out “in the field,” exploring and learning.
Today SoFo is to stimulate interest in advance knowledge of and foster appreciation for the natural environment. The museum’s special emphasis is on the unique natural history of Long Island’s South Fork.
For more information regarding climate change and different programs that the museum is involved in please visit www.sofo.org