Humans have faced a series of national and global environmental challenges in the past half-century, including smog, the use of lead in gasoline, ozone depletion, and much more. This talk reveals how combinations of science, public policy, industry participation, and the engagement of citizens succeeded in addressing past environmental challenges. Finally, Solomon examines how the lessons learned help us understand how to better manage today’s environmental problems, including climate change.
Susan Solomon is internationally recognized as a leader in atmospheric science, particularly for her insights in explaining the cause of the Antarctic ozone "hole". Solomon received an honorary degree from Smith College in 2012 in recognition of her insights for this essential work. She and her colleagues have also made important contributions to understanding chemistry/climate coupling, including leading research on the irreversibility of global warming linked to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, and on the influence of the ozone hole on the climate of the southern hemisphere. Her current research focuses on both atmospheric chemistry and climate change. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has received many honors for her work including our nation’s highest scientific award, the U. S. National Medal of Science.