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​Dr. Naomi Oreskes Hits the Road for the Sake of Science

News | October 2nd, 2023

By Sabrina Hornung 

sabrina@hpr1.com

Photo credit: Kayana Szymczak

Leading Voice on Climate Change to Embark on Three-Stop ND Tour

Internationally celebrated speaker, author, Harvard Professor of History of Science and leading voice on climate change, Dr. Naomi Oreskes will be coming to North Dakota October 3, 4, and 5 as part of her “Red State Pledge.”

In 2019 she said, "It makes you a better scholar and a better human being when you engage with people who are viewing the world from a different perspective. So I have what I call my Red State Pledge, which is if I get invited to a red state, I do everything in my power to accept that invitation."

This pledge came about once she realized that the people who were present at her lectures were those in academic spaces along the coast that might even be considered “elite.” She realized that there were a number of voices that weren’t present at the table – so she decided to hit the road and learn about varying perspectives on the subject, and to educate along the way.

“North Dakota, I think, would safely fall into the category of a red state. Valley City State University is the host for the talk, but since she likely has not been to North Dakota before, we thought that it would be a good idea to try to show her at least something of North Dakota aside from VCSU. The state is large and there are differences between east and west. So, we settled on a I-94 crawl between Fargo, Valley City and then finally flying her out from Bismarck, but hopefully giving her the opportunity to meet people all along the way.” said Madeline Luke, one of the event organizers.

Dr. Oreskes will present on the topic, “Why Trust Science?” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Valley City State University Fine Arts Auditorium. Her talk will address causes of climate change and the controversy surrounding COVID vaccinations, how to know what to believe in the advent of social media and the age of the internet, and will include a Q&A session.

In addition to her lecture at VCSU, she will be doing a couple of book signings and meet and greets. On October 3 at 4pm, she will be at Zandbroz Variety in Fargo and at Ferguson Books in Bismarck on October 5 from 5-7pm. All events will be free and open to the public.

Dr. Oreskes’s visit has been in the works for the past nine months or so, and the idea itself came from retired VCSU physics instructor Dr. Gilbert Kuipers, who had become increasingly interested in the topic of climate change. He, along with a number of other donors as well as “What in the World Is Going On?,” a community-VCSU organization, are sponsoring her visit.

What in the World Is Going On? (WW) consists of members of the VCSU campus and community members of Valley City sponsored by VCSU’s Departments of Science and Social Science. They host a number of events addressing local, national and international issues and conversations.

"This will be a thought-provoking evening with a noted historian and master teacher. We invite everyone, regardless of political beliefs, to come and listen,” Luke said.





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