Plenary 2: Framing the Challenges Facing Societies


Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.

Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hamilton was part of NPR's team of science reporters and editors who went to Japan to cover the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Hamilton contributed several pieces to the Science Desk series "The Human Edge," which looked at what makes people the most versatile and powerful species on Earth. His reporting explained how humans use stories, how the highly evolved human brain is made from primitive parts, and what autism reveals about humans social brains.

In 2009, Hamilton received the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for his piece on the neuroscience behind treating autism.

Before joining NPR in 1998, Hamilton was a media fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation studying health policy issues. He reported on states that have improved their Medicaid programs for the poor by enrolling beneficiaries in private HMOs.

From 1995-1997, Hamilton wrote on health and medical topics as a freelance writer, after having been a medical reporter for both The Commercial Appeal and Physician's 

Confirmed Speakers

Molly Brown is a Research Scientist with the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Maryland College Park, where she specialized in Remote Sensing, Economics, and Development. Dr. Brown conducts her research in three areas: data fusion and analysis to develop long term data records of vegetation dynamics for carbon cycle and terrestrial ecosystem modeling; research to develop science data and analysis for societal applications; and the development of models and methods that enable the quantification of the impact of climate change on human economic and political systems. In addition to her research, Dr. Brown is an advisor to NASA’s Applied Sciences Division and USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). 


Bryan Bloomer has served as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientist for over 20 years. Using his expertise in domestic and global air quality issues, Dr. Bloomer contributed to the success of EPA’s Acid Rain Program. He currently serves as director of the Applied Science Division at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research, where he manages a professional staff implementing a large portfolio of extramural air quality, climate change,  water resources, human health and ecology research. Dr. Bloomer obtained an M.S. in Meteorology and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.  His continued research involves investigating human health and environmental relationships with global and climatic change. 



Edward Maibach is a University Professor at George Mason University, and the Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Leveraging three decades of experience as a communication and social marketing practitioner and scholar, Ed’s research focuses on public engagement in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Ed currently co-chairs the Engagement & Communication Working Group of the National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee, and he previously served as Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and Chairman of the Board for Kidsave International.  Ed earned his PhD in communication science at Stanford University and his MPH at San Diego State University.


Dr. Maggie Opondo is the socio-economic and cultural studies coordinator in the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Nairobi. She has researched and published widely on vulnerability and adaptability to climate change impacts (e.g. on malaria, cholera and drought); risk communication; smallholder agriculture; gender and labour rights in global supply chains; ethical trade and corporate social responsibility and trade policy. She has been involved in various research projects some of which include: “Climate Change-Induced Vulnerability to Malaria and Cholera” (funded by AIACC - Assessments of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change). She has also coordinated climate change adaptation projects such as: “Increasing Community Resilience to Drought in Makueni District in Kenya” (funded by GEF/UNEP) and “Strengthening Community-Based Adaptation to Climate-Sensitive Malaria in the Western Kenya Highlands” (funded by ACCCA – Advancing Capacity to Support Climate Change Adaptation). She was an expert reviewer for the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II Fourth Assessment (IPPC) (2005-2006) and WHO’s book entitled:  Methods for Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation: Climate Change and Human Health (2003). She participated in a strategic brainstorming session for’s initiative: Predict and Prevent in 2008, in San Francisco, California and also in the World Bank Expert Focus Group Discussion on Climate Change, in Mexico City, Mexico, in 2013. She is currently a coordinating lead author of Chapter 13 of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. She is one of the founding members of the recently (2011) established Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA) at the University of Nairobi.