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2019 Adams Symposium: Why is Climate Change So Difficult to Address or Stop? – Day One

April 12, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


The third annual symposium in honor of distinguished UNC philosopher Maynard Adams (1919–2003) will examine the problems of climate change and environmental ethics. The keynote speaker is Philip Kitcher, John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, who argues that the humanities must engage with the ethical and political challenges of the environmental crisis that is transforming the earth’s climate. The symposium will draw upon philosophical and humanistic insights to explore these urgent questions: Why have the warnings of climate scientists been ignored? What do living people owe to future generations? What do affluent nations owe to less-wealthy nations that now seek economic development? How do we decide on social and economic changes in response to climate change? There are no simple answers, but Professor Kitcher insists that the humanities must contribute to the search for solutions. Two panels of faculty colleagues and public humanists will respond to his themes, offering their own perspectives on climate change and environmental ethics.

The symposium begins with Professor Kitcher’s lecture and a public reception in Wilson Library on Friday, April 12, 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The panel sessions will take place on Saturday, April 13, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, at the Center for School Leadership Development.

2019 Panelists:

Joel Kingsolver, Biology

Léda van Doren, Environment, Ecology, & Energy

Aliosha Barranco Lopez, Philosophy

Luc Bovens, Philosophy

Maria Savasta-Kennedy, Law

Donald Addu, Citizens Climate Lobby

The Adams Symposium is free and open to the public.

Carolina Public Humanities thanks the Taylor Charitable Trust, College of Arts and Sciences, and Philosophy Department for generously supporting this year’s Maynard Adams Symposium.


Listen to audio from the event here


Details for Friday & Saturday

Building Location: Wilson Library is located at the center of UNC-CH’s campus at 200 South Rd, Chapel Hill, NC (click address for a Google Map), directly across from the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower. Visit Wilson Library’s “Prepare for a Visit” page for more information.

Parking: Free parking is available on campus after 5pm. Wilson Library is highlighted in yellow and the closest parking lots are circled in green on the map below:

More information about parking on campus is available here:

Due to limited parking on campus, we recommend carpooling if possible.

Handicapped Accessibility: The handicapped accessible entrance is on the east side of Wilson Library, indicated by the red arrow in the map above. Once you enter Wilson Library, follow the floor plan below to reach the Pleasants Family Assembly Room, boxed in green. The elevators are circled in red. This map is also attached to this email and available on our website.

Program Agenda: Since this event is open to the public and seating is not guaranteed, there will be no check-in period. The program will begin at 5:30pm. Please note that refreshments will not be served before the program.

The agenda will be available at the beginning of April.

Reception: There will be a free reception in the lobby of Wilson Library following Professor Kitcher’s lecture. The reception will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, and sparkling water. Since alcohol is being served, please be prepared to show ID if asked by the catering staff.

Books for Sale: During the reception, the Bulls Head Bookstore will be selling various books related to Professor Kitcher talk. If you’re interested in purchasing books, we would recommend bringing cash and credit.   


Saturday Portion of the Symposium

The Saturday panel discussions will take place at UNC Center for School Leadership Development, room 111. 

TAR HEEL 10 MILER: Please be aware that large portions of campus and Franklin St. will be closed for the Tar Heel 10 Miler. Please see this map for road closures and alternate routes.

Building Location: The UNC Center for School Leadership Development is located at 140 Friday Center Drive (click address for a Google Map), across the parking lot from the Friday Center. For general directions from around the Triangle as well as a picture of the front of the CLSD, click here:  Room 111 is located on the first floor of the building. 

Parking: Free parking is available in front of the CSLD and no permit is required. There should be enough spaces to accommodate those with handicap permits. If you require handicap access to the building, let us know so that we can make arrangements for you. 

Program Agenda: Since this event is open to the public and seating is not guaranteed, there will be no check-in period. Doors to the CSLD will open at 8:45am. Coffee and light snacks will be available at this time. The program will start 9:00am. The agenda is will be available at the beginning of April.

Books for Sale:  The Bulls Head Bookstore will be selling various books related to Professor Kitcher’s talk at the breaks. If you’re interested in purchasing books, we would recommend bringing cash and credit.     

If you have additional questions regarding the Symposium, please feel free to contact us via email ( or by phone at 919.962.1544.


April 12, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Wilson Library
200 South Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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