Why Attend a GAIA Workshop?

We encourage the broadest possible community of participants at our meetings. We do this to establish a social network of subject matter experts. This network of resources is used to create an informed perspective on the practical issues associated with climate disruption with regard to planning and adaptation strategies.

Traditional symposia or workshops have some aspects that can serve one community while under-serving another. GAIA seeks to overcome this problem by combining the best aspects of different approaches. GAIA workshops will have:

  • Plenary lectures that place a broad range of issues in the context of the current theme
  • Tutorial-level talks that address some aspect of the current theme
  • Meals held in common areas to promote interactions
  • Lunch-time talks from a broad range of perspectives to stimulate further discussion during regular sessions
  • Poster sessions to address the details of particular topics
  • Parallel and plenary sessions to combine and recombine perspectives
  • A true workshop environment in which everyone can be heard
  • Trained facilitators to enable discussion
  • Dedicated staff as rapporteurs
  • Intranet in each workshop focus area to capture comments and poll participants
  • Online and published proceedings

Each of our GAIA workshops has the following desired endstates:

  1. Establish a social network of users linked through the GAIA website.
  2. Facilitate the establishment of the user community through a series of face-to-face meetings.
  3. Create a social networking site where users can interact and search out expertise in a moderated setting.
  4. Create a community-wide definition of the most important issues that need to be addressed.
  5. Publish these results as a "white paper" view of the challenges and adaptation strategies.
  6. Lead the users to refine the requirements and resources needed for a useful collaboratory.
  7. Grow the collaboratory capability organically, responding to needs as they arise.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences report Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change has strongly emphasized the need to translate scientific knowledge of climate change impacts into actionable information for decision-makers. The effects of a warming planet are not limited to a temperature increase; extreme weather, sea-level rise, changing water salinity, melting glaciers and polar ice, and modified precipitation patterns lead to a wide range of consequences. Climate change effects are understood within the climate science community; translating this knowledge into actionable information requires bridging the scientific and policy-making communities and crossing institutional and community barriers.