My guest in this episode is Dr. Maria-Elena Vorrath, a geologist who studies the history of climate change, who just finished her PhD. Besides her work as a researcher she is a science communicator with Scientists for Future.
Her message is clear: we can’t stop climate change, but we can slow the temperature rise. Every bit of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions saves lives down the line. And: A low-carbon society cannot rely on low-emission-technologies, only, but it also has to reduce it’s overall consumption.
We further talk about Elena’s background and research, as well as her science communication for Scientists for Future.
To investigate the climate for the last 17 000 years, Maria-Elena Vorrath took samples from the ocean floor at the coast of Antarctica – sediment cores to be precise. These cores reveal the layers of sedimentation. Each layer correlates with one year.
She sampled the different layers and analysed how much of a specific protein they contained; a protein that was produced by algae that live at the bottom side of ice sheets. So, the amount of protein tells her about the amount of ice on the ocean in a given year.
Elena began sharing her work with the public around the same time Greta Thunberg gained media attention in late 2018 and joined Scientists for Future shortly after. She gives talks about her work at Science Slams and other events and combines it with her dire warning message about the climate emergency. The entertaining jokes she leaves to the other contestants at the Science Slam. She feels that this is her duty as a climate investigator.
- Maria-Elena Vorrath on Twitter
- Maria-Elena’s Science Slam talk on YouTube [GER]
- Maria-Elena’s talk at the “Chaos Computer Club” on YouTube [GER]
- Maria-Elena Vorrath’s profile at the Alfred-Wegner-Institute
- Reports by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- “Earth Hasn’t Warmed this Fast for Tens of Millions of Years” (Scientific American)
- “Sea level rise from ice sheets track worst-case climate change scenario” (Science Direct)
- Carbon calculator: find out how much CO2 your flight will emit (The Guardian)