Dr. Steven Hamburg of the Environmental Defense Fund To Speak at University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work

Dr. Steven Hamburg, chief scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund, one of America's most influential environmental advocacy groups, will speak Sept. 21 at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work.

Hamburg's talk, "Can Facing the Climate Challenge Result in Great Society Equity?" will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Utopia Theater of the School of Social Work, 1925 San Jacinto Blvd. It is free and open to the public.

Hamburg will explore how reducing carbon emissions provides an opportunity to more equitably address access to energy and with it, development. He will refer to his own work in low-income communities in the United States and how equity among countries is at the heart of the development dilemma as well as the climate challenge.

"Once we decouple affluence from fossil fuels we will find a host of opportunities to address social problems that were thought previously near to impossible to overcome," Hamburg said.

The lecture is part of the Dean Jack Otis Social Problem and Social Policy Lecture series. Otis, who was dean of social work from 1965-77, died earlier this year. He established a permanent endowment for the lecture series to inspire academic attention to social problems, and had a strong interest in climate change.

Hamburg also will discuss the startup of Austin's landmark Pecan Street Project, which is bringing together the university's Austin Technology Incubator, the city of Austin, Austin Energy, Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Environmental Defense Fund to design the energy system of the future.

Environmental Defense helped introduce the modern environmental era 40 years ago by winning a ban on DDT, the pesticide Rachel Carson warns about in "Silent Spring." The group incorporated as the Environmental Defense Fund in 1967. It is a nonprofit organization representing more than 700,000 members who use science, economics and law to create equitable and cost-effective solutions to environmental problems.