Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority tables at the campus-wide Earth Day Fair on Monday, April 22, 2019, in celebration of Earth Week in front of Packard Lab. Since Lehigh has gone remote, there will be no on-campus Earth Week celebrations this year. (Lianna Port/B&W Staff)

Keynote address for Earth Week to be delivered over Zoom


In commemoration of Earth Week and the 50th Earth Day, Joseph Robertson, the Global Strategy director for Citizens’ Climate Education, will be delivering a virtual keynote address on the topic of “Integrative Geopolitics: Climate Resilience in a Post-COVID World” on April 22 at 4:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The speaking event was organized by Lehigh’s Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Initiative, the environmental studies program and the Lehigh Sustainability Council. 

The Citizens’ Climate Education is a nonpartisan non-profit organization that has the goal of educating stakeholders, policymakers and citizens about solutions to climate change. In his role within the organization, Robertson represents a network of 196,000 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers from 57 countries and also works within other United Nations initiatives. 

The group ultimately selected Robertson to speak was made up of a representative from the environmental studies program and representatives from Lehigh’s Sustainability Council, said Sharon Friedman, the director of the environmental studies program. 

Robertson was scheduled to speak at Lehigh on April 20, but these plans were changed due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“For a while, we actually canceled the presentation,” Friedman said. “But after seeing how easy it’s been for us to set up webinars and Zooms, we got back together and decided that if he was still available, we would try to schedule him in a webinar.”

After classes have gone remote and the university has closed indefinitely, many of the events that were planned for Earth Day and Earth Week were canceled. 

When this was apparent, the departments and organizations who had previously organized Robertson’s visit decided that it was important to get one big event scheduled. 

After talking about it last week, the departments and organizations worked together to make plans and Robertson’s speaking engagement was rescheduled online, Friedman said.

“We in the environmental studies program are absolutely delighted that we were able to help make these arrangements, and have him speak at Lehigh,” Friedman said. “We are also thrilled to have Lehigh have an outstanding Earth Day activity.”

For more information on Earth Day and the ways that it is being commemorated nationally during Earth Month, please visit the Office of Sustainability’s Earth Month celebration page.

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