EnviroThursday - Fall 2001

Presentations take place at 12 noon, Olin-Rice Room 250

September 20, 2001

"World Population: Benefits of Stopping the Growth"
Speaker: David Paxson

"Of all the issues we face . . . none is more important than population growth." Thus began a National Geographic feature on Population. Though growth RATES have been slowly declining, added NUMBERS are still at unprecedented, high levels. Many believe that population stabilization is THE challenge of our time.

David Paxson, founder of World Population Balance, will review the realities of this keystone issue. Members realize that humanity is at a crisis point concerning the interlocking issues of population pressure, environmental degradation and poverty. "One of the best things we can do for our children's future economic well-being is to stabilize population growth so that they will still have opportunities for a decent life in the decades ahead." David will discuss how concerned individuals can actively help stabilize both world and national population growth -- for the benefit of EVERYONE on the planet . . . and for generations to come.

David Paxson is a national leader on the issue of population growth and stabilization. He has spoken to groups across the country. And he participated in the UN Population Conference in Egypt in 1994 and at international meetings since then.

September 27, 2001

"Meltdown at Three Mile Island"
Video

This is a PBS Documentary about the most serious nuclear accident in U.S. history, showing news footage, interviews with politicians, and technicians involved in the accident.

October 4, 2001

"Guatemala Today: A look at Political and Environmental Issues"
Speaker: Alberto Rivera-Guitierez, Director of HECUA's programs in Guatemala

Alberto Rivera-Guitierez is the Director of HECUA's programs in Guatemala called (1) Politics, Development and the City and (2) Environment, Economy and Community in Latin America. Alberto is here recruiting for the HECUA foreign study program in Guatemala, and so students interested in that program should be particularly encouraged to attend.

October 11, 2001

"Internship Opportunities through the Student Conservation Association"
Speaker: Nelson Bruni

Nelson Bruni will be explaining internship options for students through the Student Conservation Association (SCA).  There are many opportunities for internships, including freshwater research in Oregon, helping policy makers in Washington, DC, studying sea turtles in Georgia, taking river photographs of historic sites in New York, and many others.  Laura Smidzik, of Macalester's internship office, will also be present to explain the internship process to students.

Nelson Bruni served as an SCA intern in the Big Cypress Restoration Corps in the Florida Everglades. He has also been a crew leader for two other conservation work crews with the Department of the Navy’s Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and at the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area within the U.S. Forest Service’s George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

October 18, 2001

"For the Birds: The Contribution of Nature Reserves, Rural Lands and Suburbs to the Avifauna of the Twin Cities Region"
Speaker: Kim Chapman, VIsiting Assistant Professor, Biology Department

When it comes to conserving biological diversity, are suburbs all bad and nature reserves all good? What role do privately owned rural lands play in supporting regional diversity? Kim will present data that answer these questions and others related to bird life in the metro area, and conclude with recommendations for supporting the region's rich assortment of bird species.

After graduating with a B.A. and M.A. from Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, Kim worked for The Nature Conservancy in different positions on a wide variety of projects. In 1998 he emigrated to academia, earning a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota. He has taught at the University of St. Thomas and the U of MN, and currently is a visiting assistant professor in Biology at Macalester.

November 1, 2001

"Ecosystem Restoration in the Everglades -- "We Can't Get There From Here!"
Speaker: Steve Light

Steve Light, Ph.D in Natural Resources University of Michigan and former policy director at the South Florida Water Management District, will speak on the initial steps being taken to implement an $8.5B restoration plan in the Everglades. Dr. Light has been invited to share his assessment of the proposed implementation with the National Academy of Sciences panel at the September 17 meeting in Ft. Meyers.

Dr. Light has just returned from the Everglades on a fact finding trip that will serve as the basis for the paper he is preparing for the NAS. The key questions are how will the implementation of such a large scale plan address the major uncertainties that still exist regarding the hydrologic and ecological processes known metaphorically as the "River of Grass." Light will discuss the history of water management in the Everglades and the effort by scientists in the early 1990s to establish a shared understanding of the Everglades ecossytems and the guidelines needed to steer restoration efforts. Light will also address the value of science in helping to structure, not dictate policy dialogues on the future of ecosystem restoration.

November 8, 2001

"Since the Company Came"
Video

When villages invite a Malaysian company to Rendova in the Solomon Islands, disputes over land and royalties divide the Haporai tribe. Two women are desperate to stop the logging before it destroys their land and way of life. Although women are custodians of land according to matrilineal tradition, their power is severely diminished. Forests have become a source of money, and money is the domain of men. As Rendova's forest disappears, the loggers turn to Tetepare, a nearby, pristine island held sacred by the villages. Archival footage from the 1920s provides an insight into Solomon Island's colonial attitudes to land and people.

November 15, 2001

“Rewilding the Quetico-Superior”
Speaker: Sarah Strommen, Policy Director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

Sarah Strommen will give an overview of the ecology and conservation history of the Quetico-Superior Ecosystem; present a couple important ideas in conservation biology that are changing the way we approach conservation; and discuss how the Friends is applying those ideas to our work, including our long-range vision for the ecosystem.

November 29, 2001

"The Life and Death of Environmental Legislation in Minnesota"
Speaker: Diane Jensen, Executive Director of the Minnesota Project

Diane Jensen of the Minnesota Project will discuss how an idea to protect the environment gets drafted into legislation, the process the bill follows until it does or does not become law, and finally how it is or is not implemented and enforced by the appropriate environmental agency.

Diane is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Project, a non-governmental organization based in St. Paul, and is a longtime environmental lobbyist in the state.

December 6, 2001

"Agriculture, Climate Change, and the Environment"
Speaker: Mark Muller, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Climate change may have significant impacts on agriculture. Likewise, agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The public policy choices that we make, including federal crop programs, transportation subsidies and energy production choices, can have a tremendous impact on agricultural practices, greenhouse gas emissions, and the environment. This presentation will review the impacts of U.S. agriculture and look at policy options that promote the multiple functions of agriculture, particularly greenhouse gas mitigation.

December 13, 2001

"Put Up or Shut Up! Misadventures in Environmental Valuation"
Speaker: Jay Corrigan, Department of Economics at Iowa State University

Policymakers would often like to get some kind of idea what an environmental amenity is worth to the general public. But as simple as this sounds, there’s a huge amount of controversy surrounding the practice of environmental valuation. To start with, economists haven’t settled on the kinds of questions we should be asking. Do we ask people what they’d be willing to pay to preserve the environment? Or do we ask them how much they’d have to receive in compensation to stand back and watch the environment deteriorate? Which question we choose makes a radical difference in the value estimates we come up with at the end of the day. And to make things worse, economists can’t agree on why the choice makes such a big difference, or if it even should.

Jay, who is from the Department of Economics at Iowa State University, will discuss several theories that attempt to explain the observed disparity between the two value measures, along with empirical results supporting their claims. Then he'll talk about what the two questions really mean, and which one we should be asking.