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An Evening with Michael E. Mann: Our Fragile Momen



Sep 26, 2023


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm




Midtown Scholar Bookstore

In partnership with PennFuture, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is honored to welcome renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann to Harrisburg for an in-person conversation and signing on his new book, Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis. Mann will be in conversation with President and CEO of PennFuture, Patrick McDonnell. This event is free and open to the public and will take place at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.
With every purchase, 10% of the proceeds will go to PennFuture, a nonprofit focusing on a clean energy economy and protecting air, water, land, and sustainable communities in Pennsylvania and beyond.


About the Book:

In this sweeping work of science and history, the renowned climate scientist and author of The New Climate War shows us the conditions on Earth that allowed humans not only to exist but thrive, and how they are imperiled if we veer off course.
For the vast majority of its 4.54 billion years, Earth has proven it can manage just fine without human beings. Then came the first proto-humans, who emerged just a little more than 2 million years ago—a fleeting moment in geological time. What is it that made this benevolent moment of ours possible? Ironically, it’s the very same thing that now threatens us—climate change.

The drying of the tropics during the Pleistocene period created a niche for early hominids, who could hunt prey as forests gave way to savannahs in the African tropics. The sudden cooling episode known as the “Younger Dryas” 13,000 years ago, which occurred just as Earth was thawing out of the last Ice Age, spurred the development of agriculture in the fertile crescent. The “Little Ice Age” cooling of the 16th-19th centuries led to famines and pestilence for much of Europe, yet it was a boon for the Dutch, who were able to take advantage of stronger winds to shorten their ocean voyages.
The conditions that allowed humans to live on this earth are fragile, incredibly so. Climate variability has at times created new niches that humans or their ancestors could potentially exploit, and challenges that at times have spurred innovation. But there’s a relatively narrow envelope of climate variability within which human civilization remains viable. And our survival depends on conditions remaining within that range.
In this book, renowned climate scientist Michael Mann will arm readers with the knowledge necessary to appreciate the gravity of the unfolding climate crisis, while emboldening them—and others–to act before it truly does become too late.

About the Speakers:

Michael E. Mann is the Presidential Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received many honors and awards, including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. Additionally, he contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. More recently, he received the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. In 2019 he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2020 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.


Patrick McDonnell brings over 20 years of experience on climate, clean energy and environmental issues to his role as president and CEO of PennFuture. Prior to joining PennFuture, he spent six years as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, leading key initiatives like passage of the state’s first carbon trading regulation, acceleration of the Commonwealth’s cleanup of waterways, and a new focus on environmental justice issues. He also served as President of the Environmental Council of the States, the voice of state environmental agencies nationally. Prior to being named Secretary, Patrick served in roles at the DEP and the Public Utility Commission, heading up the state’s energy office, managing the agency’s budget and human resources, and overseeing the development of regulations and guidance documents. Some of his most notable accomplishments in government include development of the state’s first wind farms, the Award-winning Ehrenfeld reclaimed mines project, and entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Deeply committed to environmental justice issues, Patrick has collaborated with partners across the Commonwealth and the nation. These partnerships have resulted in brownfield cleanups, waterway restoration projects, and new opportunities for tourism and leisure in Pennsylvania towns that have been historically underserved. He is a firm believer that environmentally focused policies will result in new jobs and opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.


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