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Northwestern welcomes signed letters of 250 words or fewer from readers. We reserve the right to edit all letters. Please send correspondence to the
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Evidence Is Clear on Climate Change
Kevin Stanforth’s letter [Feedback, spring 2012] asks whether Professor Seth Stein’s statement that humans are altering Earth’s climate [“On Thin Ice,” Campus Life, winter 2011] is based upon evidence or politics.
Scientists have recognized the heat-trapping properties of greenhouse gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide since the 1800s, when a physicist also first speculated that burning coal might change Earth’s climate. Atmospheric measurements initiated by Charles Keeling (G54) record a precipitous rise in greenhouse gas concentrations in recent decades, and the chemistry of the accumulating gases indicates that human activities are the cause. Ice cores tell us that many greenhouse gases are more abundant in the atmosphere now than at any time in at least the past 800,000 years.
Meanwhile, most of the world’s glaciers, including the Northwestern Glacier in Alaska, are retreating, and temperature measurements from the oceans, atmosphere and land show significant warming over the past century. No known natural cause can explain all of the observations. In light of this evidence and more, published in peer-reviewed journals around the world, there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are changing Earth’s climate. As the American Association for the Advancement of Science puts it, “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society” (AAAS Board Statement on Climate Change, 2006).
We stand unanimously behind Professor Stein’s statement and share his concern that the potential consequences of human-induced climate change are too serious to ignore.
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
NU-Q a Player in the Middle East
I am intrigued with Northwestern’s presence in Doha. Increasingly, Qatar is at the center of Middle East power and politics. This was the case during the early uprisings in Egypt and, if anything, has become more the case throughout the past year.
That Northwestern University in Qatar is there, right in the middle of things, is significant. The curricular emphasis of NU-Q could not be more timely or consequential. Its two-day conference on Libyan media, noted in your last issue [“Future of Libyan Media Born at NU-Q,” Our World, spring 2012, Page 9] is an example of its being a real player in the region. What could be more important in emerging democracies or, indeed, in falling dictatorships, than issues surrounding freedom of the press and government regulation?
In sum, Northwestern may have initiatives as important as NU-Q but none more important.
I remember Northwestern magazine’s cover story [“The Road to Qatar,” fall 2010] on NU-Q well. I am just wondering, given all that has happened in the Middle East and is happening now, whether it might not be time to revisit NU-Q with another article?
Jim VanOosting (GC74, 80)
South Orange, N.J.
Editor’s note: Northwestern magazine will continue to cover Northwestern University in Qatar. Read about the latest NU-Q news, including the campus’ inaugural graduation ceremony on May 9.
NAA and Career Services Offer Big Boost to Networking
I would like to recognize and thank the Northwestern Alumni Association Career Services and Northwestern University Career Services staff for their help in charting my future on such an amazing course, which now includes a career in recruiting, coupled with owning my own consulting business.
Back in early 2003, alum Michael D. Beck (KSM87) opened the door to my having a successful career in pharmaceutical sales for several years. He remains one of my biggest advocates.
In January 2011 I attended a presentation in Chicago by Jason P. Seiden (KSM02) titled “Forget Your Career Path, Live Your Story.” I was so inspired and challenged to break outside of my comfort zone that I immediately began to chart a new career path.
Later that same month, I participated in a teleconference with Liz Ryan (GC92) titled “Rebranding and Framing Your Career: What Every Job Seeker Needs to Know,” which was power-packed with her insights gained from 20 years in human resources. Both activities were invaluable.
I have experienced firsthand the great teamwork and collaboration between the NAA Career Services and University Career Services staffs. Cindy Graham, senior assistant director of University Career Services, personally met with me and reviewed my résumé. In addition, the career-oriented presentations and webinars sponsored by the NAA Career Services team were vital to my career reinvention. The NAA is, without a doubt, the MVP of my career development arsenal!
Rachelle D. Smith (GJ01)
Vice president of membership, NU Club of Metro Detroit
What’s Your Class Code?
Each time I get a copy of Northwestern magazine I look in vain for a list of the abbreviations of school names that ID which school the alum attended. Am I the only one? Are they there somewhere and I’m just not seeing them? Please clue me in!
Margery “Bindy” Morris Bitterman (WCAS52)