Candidate Climate Forum


Calendar of Events

Summer 2023

Fall 2023

(Interested in a workshop? Click on Our Work.) 

Past Events 

Building Access 

Before attending an in-person event, please be sure to review the Campus Visitor guidelines. You can find a map of campus here and information on parking here. Only the northwest door of the John J. Hemmingson Center will remain unlocked. 

Summer 2023

June 1 - The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market

Many Americans think that “Big Government” is wasteful and inefficient and we should have faith in “The Free Market” to solve our problems. Yet, history shows that government has more often than not been the solution to problems that markets produced, and many large government programs--from Social Security to the invention of the internet--have been very successful. So why do so many of us have so much faith in “The Market” and so little faith in government? In this talk, I recount the story of how American business leaders intervened in politics, popular culture, the educational system, religious life, and academic discourse to promote market fundamentalism.

About the speaker: Naomi Oreskes is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. An internationally renowned scientist and historian, she is a leading voice on the reality on anthropogenic climate change and the history of efforts to undermine climate action and scientific truth. Oreskes is an author of eight books, including, Why Trust Science? (2019) and Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know about the Ocean (2021), and over 150 scholarly and popular articles. Her opinion pieces have been appeared around the globe, including on The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times (London), and the Frankfurter Allgemeine. In 2015, she wrote the Introduction to the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, Laudato Si. Her 2010 book with Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt, has been translated into nine languages, sold over 100,000 copies, and made into a documentary film. In 2018, she became a Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2019 was awarded the British Academy Medal. Her new book with Erik Conway, The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loath Government and Love the Free Market, was published by Bloomsbury Press in February 2023.

Fall 2023

September 6 - Climate Change in the American Mind and Implications for Climate Change Communication

Speaker: Matthew T. Ballew, PhD

Matthew Ballew
Date: Wednesday, September 6
Time: 5 pm PT
Location: Zoom
Free and open to the public

Americans are changing their minds about climate change in a positive direction. While many Americans report pro-climate views and support several climate policies, national action on climate change remains a challenge. This presentation will cover U.S. public opinion about climate change, and challenges and opportunities for communicating with the public to promote more engagement and collective action on the climate.

About the speaker: Matthew is a Research Specialist at YPCCC and specializes in social and environmental psychology, research methodology with a specific focus on survey design/methods, and program evaluation. His research focuses on the personal, social, and cultural factors that shape people’s responses to environmental issues, how environments affect people’s health and well-being, and how communicators can leverage this knowledge to more effectively connect with their audiences and support opinion and behavior change.

October 4 - Spokane Candidates Climate Change Forum

Spokane Candidates Climate Change Forum logo
Date: Wednesday, October 4
Time: 6 pm PT
Location: Globe Room, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

What do local candidates for office think about climate change? How will it affect your vote in November? To aid citizens in their democratic deliberations, Gonzaga’s Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment is proud to host the Spokane Candidates Climate Change Forum on the first Wednesday each October. The Climate Forum has been hosted annually since 2019 and is a non-partisan space where candidates for local office can share with local voters and citizens what they would or would not do or support if elected to office.

October 16 - Can We Solve the Climate Crisis and Protect Wild Spaces?

Panelists: Matt Bishop, Kyle Tisdel, Luis Inaraja Vera, and Greg Gordon

WELC Panel
Date: Monday, October 16
Time: 6 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

Panel discussion on the topic “Can we solve the climate crisis and protect wild spaces?” The panel will consist of two senior attorneys from the Western Environmental Law Center, Matt Bishop and Kyle Tisdel, and two Gonzaga faculty, Luis Inaraja Vera (Law School) and Greg Gordon (Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences).

About the speakers:

  • Kyle's  work centers at the nexus of public lands and fossil fuel development, with the aim of aligning federal decision making with the demands of climate science, bringing a managed end to fossil fuel exploitation, and ensuring a just transition for indigenous and frontline communities that have endured generations of harms from fossil fuels. Kyle has been at WELC since 2011 and earned his law degree from Vermont Law School. 
  • Matt works on public lands issues throughout the West and leads the law center’s efforts to protect iconic Western predators including wolverines, Canada lynx, grizzly bears, and Mexican wolves. Matt is a graduate of Whitman College and earned his law degree from Vermont Law School.
  • After completing his BA in English from the University of Colorado, Greg spent the next five years working as a seasonal park ranger in Utah, Alaska, and Washington. In 1989, he moved to Montana to attend graduate school and then spent the next 20 years leading field studies programs in Utah, Montana, Canada, Chile, and Costa Rica. In 2005, he returned to the University to earn a PhD in History and was fortunate enough to land a position at Gonzaga in 2011.
  • Professor Inaraja Vera’s research focuses on environmental and natural resources law. Prior to joining the Gonzaga Law faculty, Professor Inaraja Vera held research positions at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy and Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute. While in law school, he worked on environmental and natural resources cases with Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Natural Resources Division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

October 27 - Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Storage Technologies: A Primer

Speaker: Pat Ferro, PhD, PE, CMfgE

Pat Ferro
Date: Friday, October 27
Time: 12 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

Introduction to the science and engineering of hydrogen fuel cells and how they may be used in industrial and consumer applications, including cars. A review of how hydrogen may be stored, for land-based and on-board applications. An update on contemporary applications of hydrogen. Status update on government-organized research to increase the use of hydrogen in the energy infrastructure.

About the speaker: Pat Ferro is a materials engineer with twenty years of industrial experience prior to joining the faculty at Gonzaga University. His previous work includes assignments as a Process Engineer in the aerospace investment casting industry specializing in nickel-based superalloys and titanium alloys and as a Process Engineer in the silicon ingot and wafer manufacturing industry. Pat was also a Research Test Engineer for Ovonics Hydrogen Systems, which designed, prototyped and manufactured hydrogen products including portable hydrogen-based energy generation systems and hydrogen powered cars. Pat's responsibilities included developing and testing interstitial metal hydride alloys for solid hydrogen storage for on-board applications.

November 15 - The Future of Climate Education in the United States

Speaker: Dr. Deb Morrison, CLEAR Environmental and the University of Washington

Deb Morrison
Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time: 5 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

In order to best engage in just climate mobilization, we must first know clearly what challenges we are facing and then consider all possible options for socio-ecological solutions. Climate education is a critical component of such mobilization. When we think of education, we must consider learning in formal schooling, informal settings, and professional and vocational learning for all people of all ages. In addition, we need to be expansive in considering diverse learning histories. This talk will start from this broad definition of climate learning to map out potential trajectories for understanding the future of climate education within the US and as part of the US obligations abroad.

About the speaker: Dr. Deb L. Morrison works at the intersection of justice, climate science, and learning. She is a climate and anti-oppression activist, scientist, learning scientist, educator, mother, locally elected official, and many other things besides. Deb works in research-practice-policy partnerships from local community to international scales. She works to iteratively understand complex socio-ecological systems through design-based and action-oriented research while at the same time seeking to improve human-environment relationships and sustainability. Dr. Morrison draws on an eclectic range of justice theory to inform her work in the world and to foster her continued journey for transformative liberation. She is a well-published author on diverse topics that intersect with climate justice learning and continues to foster collaborative writing partnerships across disciplines and communities that have historically been disconnected. Information about Dr. Morrison’s work can be found at

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Spokane, WA 99258