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Dr. Marshall Shepherd Moderates Climate Discussion with VP Harris

Dr. Marshall Shepherd Poses with Kamala Harris

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, UGA Atmospheric Sciences and Geography professor, moderated a discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris at Georgia Tech last week. Alongside Dr. Isaiah Bolden, Assistant Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Dr. Shepherd helped guide the discussion with his experience and leadership as an internationally recognized expert in weather and climate. Vice President Harris delivered a message on climate change which classified our present relationship to the impending crisis as “the moment of great opportunity” in the face of “one of the most pressing issues of our time.” Less than a week after the discussion, Dr. Shepherd published a digital article in Forbes (where he’s a senior contributor) reflecting on the event. “Last week I had the honor of comoderating, along with Professor Isaiah Bolden, a discussion about climate change with the Vice President of the United States. Only this week did the significance of that moment hit me,” Shepherd writes. In his article, Dr. Shepherd highlights the underrepresentation of black scholars in the Geosciences, pointing out that only one percent of Ocean Sciences degrees are awarded to black students and that only 2% of American Meteorological Society members are black. Dr. Shepherd concluded his article by writing, “there is work to do within the Geosciences; however, this moment in Black History cannot be overlooked. In February 2023 two black scholars and a black woman, who just happens to be the Vice President of the United States, sat on a stage discussing climate, environmental policy, and why it matters to all communities, but particularly those with people that look like them.” Vice President Harris spoke passionately on a variety of climate change mitigation strategies such as the electrification of school busses and replacement of lead pipes, among other community resilience projects. Dr. Shepherd emphasized that the impacts of climate change will affect everyone on a local scale, calling them “kitchen table issues.” Vice President Harris concluded the discussion by reiterating Dr. Shepherd’s point and provided a message to future leaders on the intersectionality of environmental justice and equity in public health.


Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor, Director, Atmospheric Sciences Program

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