EnviroThursday Fall 2005

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

September 15, 2005

“Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Congress Prepares to Act”
Speaker: Lois Norrgard, Regional Organizer for the Alaska Coalition

The budget resolution currently being debated in Congress includes a provision to allow drilling in ANWR. Ms Norrgard will discuss the ecological and human significance of the Refuge and the implications of oil drilling there. She will provide action steps that people can take to make their voices on the subject heard.

Lois Norrgard is a long time Minnesota environmental activist. She has been an organizer and lobbyist for the Minnesota Audubon Club and for the American Lands Alliance, working on public forest and ecosystem protection. She is currently the Regional Organizer for the Alaska Coalition.

September 22, 2005

“Environmental Justice and Land Reform in the New South Africa: The Case of Farm Workers in the Western Cape”
Speaker: Bill Moseley, Assistant Professor, Macalester Geography

Since the end of white minority rule in 1994, South Africa has embarked on a grand experiment to rectify past injustices. One of the campaign promises of the African National Congress (ANC) was to redress the legacy of discriminatory land ownership policies through land restitution and land redistribution (collectively known as land reform). This presentation examines the knowledge of (black and colored) farm workers regarding agricultural landscapes and their management in the Western Cape Province of South Africa; and the extent to which these insights could be leveraged for sustainable land redistribution.

Bill Moseley's research interests include political ecology, tropical agriculture, environment and development policy, livelihood security, and Africa. He has published 2 books, 12 peer reviewed articles and 10 book chapters. His work in South Africa is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and a US Dept of Education Fulbright-Hays program. He is on sabbatical from Macalester during the 05-06 academic year.

September 29, 2005 - No EnviroThursday

Have lunch at the Campus Center - Today Bon Appétit will feature a lunch made entirely of ingredients from within a 150 mile radius of their kitchen.

October 6, 2005

“The Natural Step Framework: A Win-Win-Win for People, Planet and Profits”
Speaker: Terry Gips, President of the nonprofit Alliance for Sustainability

Is a win-win approach to sustainability possible? Come find out through a look at a powerful new educational approach to sustainability called the Natural Step Framework, which was created in Sweden in 1989 and brought to the US in the mid 90s by Ecology of Commerce author Paul Hawken and MIT learning organization leader Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline. The Natural Step Framework is now being used by numerous government offices, nonprofits, schools, and businesses such as Interface, Starbucks, Nike, Home Depot, and McDonalds to save money, improve performance and become more environmentally and socially responsible.

Terry Gips is an ecologist, economist, author (Breaking the Pesticide Habit and The Humane Consumer and Producer Guide), independent Natural Step Framework Instructor, President of the nonprofit Alliance for Sustainability in the Hillel Center at the University of Minnesota, and head of Sustainability Associates, a Minneapolis-based environmental consulting firm. He has previously served as Director of Ecological Affairs and Sustainability for the Aveda Corporation, Cargill assistant to the Chief Economist, White House and Congressional aide, and co-founder of the Sacramento Community Garden Program.

October 10, 2005 - 4:30 p.m. Carnegie 06

"Patagonia"
Speaker: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Yvon Chouinard, author and founder of the Patagonia group of retail stores, will discuss his philosophy of environmentally responsible businesses and answer questions regarding the new Patagonia store on Grand Avenue.

October 13, 2005

"Cut Global Warming by Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Plants--Brilliant! Erm...How are We Going to do That?"
Speaker: Steve Taff of the University of Minnesota

It's pretty clear that even with existing technologies--and certainly with expected technologies--we could substantially reduce CO2 emissions from power generation, but at what cost? And who will pay? Steve Taff will use a recently developed long-term energy tracking system to predict--live and on-stage--the implications of your favorite energy schemes. Can you cut emissions, balance the books, and still keep the lights on? In the process we'll examine the interplay of environmental and economic policies and how their crafting influence our joint futures.

Steven J. Taff is an associate professor and extension economist with the Department of Applied Economics and an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Forest Resources, both at the University of Minnesota. A former county extension agent and regional planner, Taff holds advanced degrees in urban and regional planning (M.S.) and in agricultural economics (Ph.D.) from the University of Wisconsin. At Minnesota since 1986, he specializes in the economics of agricultural and natural resource policies, with special emphasis on land management decisions in both rural and urban settings.

October 20, 2005

"The Role of Economics at the Environmental Protection Agency"
Speaker: Ann Wolverton, Economist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Economics

This presentation will focus on the role that economics plays in EPA decision-making. In particular, the seminar will pose and then explore three questions: First, how is economics factored into the EPA's institutional arrangement? Second, what is the regulatory process at the Federal level, and what analytic requirements are specified in Laws and Executive Orders to which the EPA is subject? Third, what are the main components of economic analysis used in support of EPA rulemaking?

Ann Wolverton's research interests include environmental justice, especially with respect to the effects of race and income on firms' location choices, voluntary programs, and the economics of deposit-refund systems. She has published articles in Journal of Public Economics, American Economic Review and chapters in several books. Currently she serves as Secretary of the American Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

This EnviroThursday is co-sponsored with the Economics Department.

October 27, 2005 - No EnviroThursday - Fall Break

   

November 3, 2005

"The Soviet Farm Complex: The Surprising Environmental History of Agriculture in the Soviet Union"
Speaker: Jennifer Leigh Smith, 1999 Macalester Grad and doctoral student in the MIT's Program in the History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society

Industrial agriculture is a recent global phenomenon that has impacted the environments of non-capitalist and capitalist countries very differently. Working backwards from the rather unusual example of canned pork in the U.S. and the Soviet Union, this talk looks at the divergent ways a modern industrial food can be distributed and manufactured, as well as the means by which its ingredient elements are grown, gathered and processed in capitalist and socialist societies. In the American example of SPAM and in the case of the Soviet Union’s popular tushonka ham spread, two similar twentieth-century foods helped create two very different factory-farming landscapes. While most people speak of “industrial agriculture” as a single, monolithic phenomenon, examining agricultural industrialization apart from an American context shows this understanding to be false. Agricultural industrialization is a creative and inventive process that seeks to reproduce the logics of the economic system in which it occurs. Socialist industrial agriculture has had a different— and not necessarily more detrimental— impact on the environment from the better-understood North American experience.

Jenny Leigh Smith's dissertation examines the history of agriculture, food and the environment in the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1965. She is currently a Graduate Fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology in Cambridge, MA.

November 10, 2005

"Rising Gas Consumption, Rising Temperatures: U.S. Global Warming Policy in the Age of the Sport Utility Vehicle"
Speaker: Sarah West, Assistant Professor, Macalester Economics Department

The United States emits more global warming gases per person than any other country. Emissions from Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are the fastest growing source of these gases. Despite the fact that the United States is not a participating member of the Kyoto Protocol, growing concern among policy makers about high gas prices, dependence on oil imports, and global warming has reignited discussion of ways to reduce gasoline consumption in the United States. Debate centers on changing two policies already in place—the federal gas tax and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. In her presentation, Professor West will draw on her substantial research on the topic to discuss the merits and disadvantages of increasing federal gas taxes versus strengthening CAFE standards for trucks and SUVs.

Sarah West is a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Working Group in Environmental Economics. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. Professor West specializes in public, environmental, and urban economics. In particular, she analyzes polices for the control of vehicle pollution, including taxes on gasoline, subsidies to clean vehicles, and Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. Her work has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, National Tax Journal, and the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy.

November 17, 2005

"Permaculture in Latin America and the U.S.: A Comparative Introduction"
Speaker: Reed Ellis Aubin, Head Translator, The Wilder Institute

Permaculture is an ethical design system for creating human environments that are ecologically sound and economically viable. Wedding advanced technology, whole systems design, and indigenous and local knowledge (both cultural and practical), permaculture integrates innovative science in to the conscious development of cultivated ecosystems that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. Developed in over thirty years ago in Australia, the design methodology has spread to more than 130 countries, in urban, rural, and suburban applications.

In this introductory presentation, Reed Ellis Aubin lays out the core principles of permaculture, contrasting applications in industrial and developing nations. Examples in photo and video will be shown from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Washington State, the Bahamas, and Hawaii.

Aubin’s varied research interests are interdisciplinary: multilingual communication patterns, issues in society and politics of the Americas, botany and plant nomenclature, Latin American poetry, and applied theatre in education. He has his B.A. in Linguistic Anthropology and Playwriting from Brown University, and has lived and worked extensively in Latin America. He is a founding member of SubImp Puppet Theatre (Mexico) and currently serves as Head Translator for the Wilder Institute for projects in Central and South America. The Wilder Institute (website: www.permaculturenow.com) promotes permaculture education and design around the world, especially through preserving and increasing agricultural biodiversity and strengthening local economies. Aubin’s most recent book, Agroecology Terms, an English-Spanish, Spanish-English Glossary for Sustainable Development, will be published in the spring.

In addition to his EnviroThursday appearance, Aubin will give a presentation, with puppets and slides, on the impact of free trade on Central American subsistence agriculture. Friday, November 18; 7:00 p.m., Macalester Campus, 10K—Durpre Basement. Pozole and other refreshments are served.

December 1, 2005

"Fiestas and Kitchenspaces in Central Mexico: Approaching Environmental Studies from the House-lot Garden"
Speaker: Maria Elisa Christie, Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis

The house-lot garden in central Mexico is gendered space where changing cultural identities are negotiated, recreated, and celebrated as “tradition” is continuously redefined. At the intersection of everyday life and fiestas, food preparation spaces or kitchenspaces in the house-lot garden are fertile areas to explore the cultural reproduction of nature/society relations. They are vital to understanding gender, place, and culture in this region and represent a symbolic connection with the land in increasingly urban contexts. No clear boundary separates the kitchen from the house-lot garden or the private space of the household from the semi-public space of the community. During collective food preparation for religious fiestas, gendered reciprocity networks strengthen community relations and foster alliances between traditional barrios or neighborhoods and between communities in the region.

Maria Elisa Christie’s research interests include women’s social networks in Mexico and among Mexican immigrants in the United States, nature/society relations in the spaces of everyday life, and cultural identity, adaptation, and resistance. She is a lone geographer in the department of History and Political Science at the University of Indianapolis, where she teaches World Regional Geography, Economic Geography and Globalization, Cultural and Political Ecology, and the Geography of Food, Cuisine, and Kitchenspace. Her publications include an article in The Geographical Review’s special issue on People, Places, and Gardens for which she was guest editor. Her background includes many years working with development and environment non-profit and policy organizations in the US and Latin America.

December 8, 2005

"Tomatoes on the Off-Ramp: A Comparative Look at Urban Community Gardening in the Twin Cities"
Speakers: Julia Eagles and Janet Aubin, Macalester Students

Macalester students Julia Eagles and Janet Aubin along with youth participants from local schools will talk about their experiences with urban agriculture projects in the Twin Cities. A discussion will focus on community gardening as a strategic tactic for empowering youth and community members, encouraging exchange of cultural knowledge, strengthening neighborhoods through reclamation of community spaces, creating and expanding local economics, and combating food security issues such as malnutrition, food deserts, and institutional hunger.