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The Blue & Gray Press | February 24, 2018

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Speaker Encourages Students to Counter Climate Change

This past Tuesday, Mike Tidwell, director and founder of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), spoke at the University of Mary Washington about his experience as an environmentalist and writer.

Tidwell, the author of several books including “Bayou Farewell,” in which he predicted the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, said that the primary reason he came to UMW was to do everything he could to move students to action.

“My recommendation for students at campuses like UMW is don’t count on the grown-ups,” he said in an interview.

He spoke multiple times throughout the day, first addressing English classes on the subject of travel and nature writing, then discussing sustainability with environmental science students.

He ended with a talk entitled, “Extreme Weather and Extreme Solutions: The Climate Clash in Virginia and Worldwide,” in which he detailed his transformation from a travel writer to an environmental organizer and highlighted the importance of addressing serious environmental issues.

Tidwell said that he was moved into action after reporting on the impending disaster he saw in New Orleans and his realization that the potential for catastrophes like this were all across the world. “We are all New Orleanians because of climate change,” he said.

Tidwell linked the increasing intensity of storms and rising temperatures to climate change.

“Nothing will affect your future more than climate change,” Tidwell said.

He sees wind power, especially offshore, as the best option for Virginia, saying that a modest development of wind farms off the coast of Virginia Beach could power 10 percent of the state’s electricity and add 10,000 jobs.

According to the CCAN website, Tidwell received the Audubon Naturalist Society’s “Conservation Award” in 2003 and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Nicholls State University in 2005.