Prof. Mark A. MCGINLEY

Head of the Science Unit at Lingnan University
嶺南大學科學教研組首任領導人

The seed that grew into Mark McGinley’s concern about the current state of the world was planted during a childhood spent exploring nature in Texas, Australia, California, and elsewhere. As a student (B.S. Zoology, University of California, Santa Barbara; M.S. Ecology; Kansas State University, and PhD Ecology, University of Utah) he conducted research on the behavioral and evolutionary ecology of animals and plants. During his 24 years as a professor at Texas Tech University (Department of Biological Sciences and Honors College) he introduced students to nature by teaching field courses in Jamaica and Belize, along the Rio Grande, and 6 summers teaching marine biology and scuba on sailboat in Caribbean. He also endeavored to improve the scientific and environmental literacy of students and general public by helping to develop undergraduate programs in Integrated Science and Natural History; Humanities, graduate programs in STEM for middle school and secondary school teachers, and serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Earth. Five years ago he moved to Hong Kong to take up the challenge of serving as a Professor and founding Head of Science Unit and Director of Core Curriculum and General Education at Lingnan University.

兒時探索加州、德州、澳洲與他鄉生態的經歷,在McGinley心中埋下了關懷世事的種子。在獲取加州大學聖塔芭芭拉分校動物學學士、堪薩斯州立大學環境學碩士與猶他州立大學環境學博士的學術路上,他專注研究動植物行爲與進化生物學。

 

於德州理工大學生物科學學院任教教授24年時,為啓發學生接觸自然生態,McGinley於牙買加、伯利兹及格蘭德河沿岸教授田野課程,並於加勒比海教授海洋生態及潛泳達六暑期。爲了成就改善學生與公衆科學與環境理解的志願,他亦協力發展綜合科學、自然史及人文本科生課程,針對中小學教師需要的研究生科創課程,以及出任Encyclopedia of Earth總編輯一職。五年前,McGinley來港赴任嶺南大學教授、科學教研組首任領導人及核心課程及通識教育辦事處處長。

Climate Change Response: What Can We Learn From the COVID-19 Pandemic?

應對氣候變化:我們在新冠肺炎疫情中有何所學?

About the Talk 
講座內容

“It is, what it is?” Donald Trump’s infamous words about the rising COVID-19 death toll in the USA, may accidentally and unintentionally contain keen insights. “It is” a system involving the Coronavirus (SARS COV 2) and humans and the “what it is” refers to how the virus invades us and replicates itself, a system guided and limited by only the laws of physics and chemistry that drive the natural world. Sadly and predictably, mankind was poorly prepared to deal with this pandemic, especially when it became apparent that the virus did not care about borders, politics, economies, education, or even sports. Science to the rescue!

Unfortunately, “it is what it is” applies equally well the series of events that will necessarily follow from our relentless modification of the global carbon cycle. The wake-up call that we have received from our poor-handling of the current pandemic may provide a limited window in which to encourage climate action or it might result in a period of “crisis fatigue”. In either case, scientists, educators, leaders, and general citizens will need to understand why we responded so poorly in this crisis so we will take the dramatic action required to address
climate change.

「算了,就這樣了」(It is, what it is)----現任美國總統對美國國内節節上升的死亡個案如此言論,也許實有洞見。如果「It is」指新冠病毒與人類並存在的系統,「what it is」應爲物理、化學定律限制的自然下,病毒入侵人體自我複製的系統。病毒不顧邊疆、政治、經濟、教育(甚至體育),大肆進犯疫情面前毫無招架之力的人類。我們應該慶幸,科學在拯救我們!

 

不幸的是,「it is what it is」對應在一連串不可避免的事件,同樣見於人類擅自嬗變碳循環的情況。現時疫情處理差劣是一個警號,警醒我們從有限情況下應對氣候危機,否則將會陷入「危機疲勞」時期。不論如何,科學家、教育人士、不同界別領袖與民衆,都必須明白我們處理疫情差劣的緣由,我們同樣要採取果斷行動應對氣候變化危機。