Rutgers Experts Can Discuss Earth Day Legacy on 50th Anniversary

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 20, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Karen M. O’Neill are available for interviews on the legacy of Earth Day and what the future may hold for humanity and the environment on our fragile planet.

Kopp can comment on climate change, sea-level rise and their economic impacts. He wrote a chapter (Sea Level Rise, 1970–2070: A View from the Future) in a new open-access book: “Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet.”

“Fifty years after the first Earth Day, we are at a critical point in our civilization’s history. To stabilize our rapidly changing climate, we need to get the global economy to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions; and to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), we need to be close to that goal by the time the 100th anniversary of Earth Day comes along. To achieve that, this needs to be the decade when we bend the curve of global emissions downward,” said Kopp, director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences.

O’Neill can comment on the changing nature of environmental concerns over time.

“Earth Day was inspired in part by Earthrise, one of the first photos of the Earth from space,” said O’Neill, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that our existence on Earth is fragile. Environmentalism since that first Earth Day has expanded to recognize links between human health and ecosystems. Degraded environments and pollution make us more likely to encounter novel viruses and to be more vulnerable to those viruses when they start to circulate.”

To interview professors Kopp and O’Neill, contact Todd Bates at [email protected]


Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree-granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse student body.

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