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Cultural Fest explores Antarctic Peninsula with Dr. David Campbell

By Staff | Jan 6, 2011

Captiva Memorial Library Branch Manager Ann Bradley holds two of Dr. David G. Campbell's books: “The Crystal Desert: Summers in Antarctica” and “A Land of Ghosts: The Braided Lives of People and the Forest in Far Western Amazonia."

As part of next week’s Cultural Fest at the Captiva Memorial Library, part-time Sanibel resident and Professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Grinnell College in Iowa, Dr. David G. Campbell, will present “The Crystal Desert: The Fate of Antarctica in Greenhouse World.”

Currently on sabbatical to write his third book and recently returned from Antarctica, where he acted as leader of the 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science expedition, Dr. Campbell will share stunning — and startling — photographs and information he collected during his trip at the Jan. 12 installment of the Library’s third annual Cultural Fest.

“I’m in on the hot issues — pun intended,” Dr. Campbell said, “and this is a really urgent issue for people living on the coasts of Florida, especially on Captiva and Sanibel.”

Though most of Dr. Campbell’s presentation will pertain to the details of his recent expedition, he said he is going to interweave different aspects of — and field questions about — an issue that some simply refer to as “Global Warming” throughout the program.

“What we’re most concerned about is most concerned about is ice melting and breaking away from land. The Western Antarctic ice sheet is already destabilizing and releasing large chunks into the sea, which could raise sea levels around the world, meaning that Sanibel and Captiva could eventually disappear,” Dr. Campbell said.

The reason that the Western Antarctic ice sheet might be melting, Dr. Campbell said, is because of greenhouse warming caused by the burning carbon-based fuels.

“It’s a very fuzzy science still, but that’s what many believe. It’s very difficult to extrapolate what the future will be from our limited experience, but the overall trend seems to be pretty alarming. At the program, I’m going to show them the data and let them decide for themselves,” Dr. Campbell said. “I’m really going to celebrate the beauty of Antarctica, and I’m going to show beautiful photography of mountains and glaciers taken just last month. I want to celebrate as much as anything, but I also want to give people a realistic heads up on the danger greenhouse warming poses. There’s an intrinsic, moral implication for us not responding to potential global peril.”

Captiva Memorial Library Branch Manager Ann Bradley said that she’s thrilled to have Dr. Campbell as part of the third annual Cultural Fest.

“I’m continually impressed with the wealth and breadth of talent and interesting people out there who are willing to share their experiences with the community,” Bradley said. “The people who are presenting, like Dr. Campbell, are really contributing their time and talents to enhance the cultural environment on Captiva.

Dr. David Campbell’s “The Crystal Desert: The Fate of Antarctica in Greenhouse World” will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

For more information about upcoming Cultural Fest programs, call the Captiva Memorial Library, located at 11560 Chapin Lane, at 533-4890.