FARMINGTON — Extreme weather events over the recent past have caused some to wonder if those events are evidence of climate change. The University of Maine at Farmington is exploring that question, the workings of the complex human-Earth system, the political hurdles associated with climate science and future prospects with a University forum, titled “State of the Planet, Intergenerational Justice and Our Collective Future,” to be held during spring semester 2013, according to a press release.

While many scientists view the relationship with the planetary support system as highly precarious, there is not yet a consensus among policy makers on how to proceed. The goal of this series of free, open-to-the-public events is to create a forum where the campus and local community can come together to learn about climate change science across academic disciplines and engage in creative discussion on the best way to move forward.

Highlights of the series will include a talk by Dr. Charles Langmuir, Higgins Professor of Geochemistry at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and lead author of the 2012 book “How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind.” Also featured will be presentations by Colin Woodard, award-winning investigative journalist and author; Dr. George Jacobson, professor emeritus, Climate Change Institute and School of Biology and Ecology and Maine state climatologist; and expert UMF faculty at events throughout the spring semester.

Events will be held at Lincoln Auditorium, UMF Roberts Learning Center. They include:

* How Does Earth’s Climate Work? presented by Julia Daly, UMF associate professor of geology, noon, Wednesday, Feb. 6.

* Economic and Political Hurdles: U.S. Politics, 11:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. The film “Climate of Doubt” will be shown and discussion will follow with Linda Beck, UMF associate professor of political science; Wendy Harper, UMF associate professor of economics; Luke Kellett, UMF sustainability coordinator and Doug Reusch, UMF associate professor of geology.

* Maine’s Climate Future featuring Jacobson, Maine State Climatologist, noon, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

* What Are the Alternatives to a Fossil-Fueled Economy? presented by Paul Stancioff, UMF associate professor of physics and Peter Hardy, UMF associate professor of mathematics, noon, Wednesday, March 13.

* Economic and Political Hurdles: Global Politics will feature the film “The Island President” and discussion with Wendy Harper, UMF associate professor of economics and Linda Beck, UMF associate professor of political science, noon, Wednesday, March 27.

* Colin Woodard, award-winning investigative journalist and author, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

* Humankind at the Helm: Civilization in a Planetary Context, by Langmuir, at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 10.

* Wrap-up Session: What Did We Learn? Where Next? moderated by Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, noon, Wednesday, April 17.

For more information, visit umf.maine.libguides.com/stateofplanet.

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