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University of Rhode Island

RI - 'Sustaining Our Shores' is topic of fall URI Honors Colloquium

58th annual lecture series to celebrate beginning of U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

KINGSTON, R.I. — Sept. 14, 2021 — You don’t have to look very far or dig very deep into history to see the effects of climate change and pollution on our coastal environment.

Two recent storms, Henri and Ida, not only caused major damage and death in other parts of the country, they also caused flooding, beach erosion, and beach closings in our area because of stormwater runoff and other factors.

But long before those recent events, J.P. Walsh, University of Rhode Island professor of oceanography and director of the Coastal Resources Center in the Graduate School of Oceanography, and Andrew Davies, associate professor of biological sciences, were planning lectures for URI’s 58th annual Honors Colloquium.

Titled “Sustaining Our Shores,” the nine-event series will include renowned researchers, writers, policy experts and even a chef as part of the University’s premier lecture series.

“Rhode Island is the Ocean State and many across the state are thinking about the ocean and the coast and the many aspects of concern,” Walsh said. “URI is also a leader in coastal and ocean research and application of that research, locally and globally. Another important point is that we just entered the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. We thought that this should be an emphasis for the URI Honors Colloquium.”

All free lectures and panel discussions this fall are held Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. at Edwards Hall on the Kingston Campus. The full schedule and streaming links can be found here.

Last year’s series, “Challenging Expectations: Disability in the 21st Century,” was held entirely online because of COVID-19, but this year, it’s an in-person program, with the lectures also being streamed. In fact, a goal is to have a significant, global virtual audience — the series has been endorsed as a U.N. Ocean Decade event.  Attendees must present their university identification cards or their vaccinations card to be admitted. Everyone will be required to be masked while in Edwards.

Walsh and Davies, this year’s colloquium coordinators, said there is a Plan B for a virtual series if necessary.

The two coordinators outlined the three major points of emphasis for the colloquium:  coasts in crisis, the future of seafood, and plastics and marine pollution.

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