Since 1973, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement has been bestowed upon people who have made a significant impact in the fight for a sustainable planet. Last week on Sea Change Radio, we spoke with noted activist climate scientist Michael Mann, who was one of two recipients of this year’s Tyler Prize. This week, we are honored to speak with the other Tyler Prize Laureate, Warren Washington, to learn about the beginnings of his groundbreaking career as an atmospheric scientist. Dr. Washington was the second African American to receive a PhD in meteorology. He’s a former chair of the National Science Board, and currently a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. After our conversation with Dr. Washington, we chat with this year’s Tyler Prize panel moderator Kelly Sims-Gallagher, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, about the evolving intersection of global affairs and climate science.
Back in 1999, a team of scientists published a graphic depiction reconstructing northern hemisphere temperatures for the previous 1000 years. The steep increase from the 1900s on inspired the scientific community to give this visual a clever nickname: the hockey stick graph. This week on Sea Change Radio, we sit down with Michael Mann, the lead researcher on that study that introduced a generation to the notion of climate change. He is widely published and has received a number of awards, the most recent being the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in April of 2019. In our conversation, we talk about why academics should bust out of the ivory tower, examine the climate change denial movement, and explore how the adage, “the best defense is a strong offense,” has served him well.