Minda Berbeco is fascinated by the intersection of climate change and biology. She received her doctorate from Tufts University and today works as programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, Calif. On her blog ( www.mindaberbeco.scienceblog.com) she writes about how environmental changes will impact people’s daily lives in ways they might not expect. Find Berbeco on Twitter at @MindaBerbeco.
Q: How does climate change relate to biology?
The challenge with climate change is people only think of things like polar bears, melting ice caps and rising seal levels. They don’t recognize there are multiple biological organisms that will be impacted. The blog talks about all the other really interesting stories and research out there that people might not know about.
Q: Can you give some examples?
Animals and plants are severely impacted by their environmental conditions. Climate change will have an impact on everything from shellfish to chocolate to where wine grapes can be grown and how they taste. Some people might think that’s not a big deal, but winemaking is a multi-million dollar industry. And it’s a big deal for anyone who loves wine! Climate change will have an impact on so many things that we love and interact with every day.
Q: Do you think enough is being done to help protect the environment?
Thankfully, scientists are no longer debating the issue of climate change: There’s no question that it’s happening. But there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of (the general public) understanding the human component of that. I think President Obama’s new energy and climate change plan is a hug step forward. And we’ve already reduced our greenhouse gas emissions to levels we haven’t seen since 1990s. So we’re making progress.
Q: Looking ahead, what are your biggest concerns about climate change?
That people will get turned off by climate health because they’re tired of hearing about it. But it’s important to recognize that it’s a huge, all-encompassing global issue that has many components. That’s why I think resources like my blog are important, because the blog addresses the issue in a new way. In addition to spreading the word about cool and interesting research, it also brings a different angle to climate change. People might be tired of hearing about the environment, but they’re not tired of hearing about wine.