- South by Southwest Eco is back for a second year. I recently interviewed SXSW Eco Director, Scott Wilcox on what attendees could expect this year. Even after hearing from Scott that this year would be bigger and better than the inaugural year, so far, the event has far exceeded my expectations.
For those that couldn't attend, here's what has been catching my eye and ear on Day 1.
The very first thing I spotted when I arrived at the AT&T Center for SXSW Eco was a small, but passionate protest of Trans Canada for their Keystone XL pipeline. Texas has been ground zero for the fight to stop the pipeline.
- While I didn't spot him in-person, the guys with the signs made his presence known to arriving attendees. Knowing that at the same time we would be talking about solutions to the climate crisis, a floor or two up, oil executives were meeting to figure out how to put more carbon into the atmosphere. It added an interesting buzz to the start of the conference and reminded us what kind of power and opposition we're up against.
- The first panel I attended was a conversation with climate scientist, Michael Mann. Famous for his "hockey stick" graph and being a main target of the climate change denial disinformation campaign, it was fascinating to hear him speak of his experience and thoughts on the future.
- Addressing the preposterous idea that global warming and climate change are an elaborate hoax perpetuated by scientists, Mann had this to say:
- After discussing past events that helped generate motivation for positive environmental action, such as the burning of Ohio's Cuyahoga River leading to the Clean Water Act, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, the discovery of the hole in the ozone leading to the Clean Air Act, etc., Mann warned that we should wait for a climate tipping point to take action:
- One of the fun things about using Twitter during SXSW is you're always seeing the interesting things being discussed in the panels you aren't attending! These are just a few of what caught my eye:
- The second panel I attended was on how scientists can better communicate their findings. Here were a few of my takeaways.
- How should scientists respond to the question about "believing" in global warming? Jeff Nesbit had a good response:
- To those that would say "we don't know enough" to act, Michael E. Mann flips the objection on its head: