EnviroThursday Fall 2014

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

September 11, 2014

"A Carrot or a Stick?  Defining and Implementing a Carrotmob at El Norteño"
Speakers:  Samantha Burlager '15 and Li Guan '15

Global climate change is perhaps the most pressing issue our world faces today. Greenhouse gas emission reductions are urgently needed; however, currently many people are hesitant to take action due to the enormity of the problem. What can we do as students to mitigate this challenge? One of the solutions we can implement is a carrotmob. In this talk, we will define and discuss carrotmobs, which utilize the power of consumers for good, and collectively organize buying power to reward businesses. Based on our experience of carrotmobbing the local restaurant El Norteño, we will discuss how carrotmobbing creates a win-win situation for consumers, businesses, and the environment, and describe how students can plan and implement another carrotmob in the Twin Cities.

September 18, 2014

"Helping Forests Adapt to a Changing Climate"
Speaker:  Leslie Brandt, Climate Change Specialist, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science and the USDA Forest Service

Climate change has the potential to alter forest composition and productivity through direct changes in temperature and precipitation and through the effects of physical and biological disturbance. Forest managers face the immense challenge of integrating the inherent uncertainties of a changing climate into a wide variety of management decisions. To help address this challenge, we developed the Climate Change Response Framework: a collaborative approach among researchers, managers, and landowners to integrate climate change considerations into decision-making. This presentation will provide an overview of the Climate Change Response Framework and case studies of how we have applied the framework to help forests, and the people who manage them, adapt to a changing climate throughout the Midwest.

Leslie Brandt's work focuses on climate change adaptation and outreach for natural resource managers in the Midwest and Northeast. She has a PhD in Ecology from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College.

September 25, 2014 - Olin-Rice 205

Environmental Studies Study Abroad Informational Meeting

This session is geared toward first-year and sophomore students who are planning to major in Environmental Studies and who are interested in studying abroad. Several people will be present to share information and answer questions, including a member of the International Center staff, ES faculty, and senior ES majors who participated in a range of study away experiences. Lunch will be provided; come eat and get the answers to all your study away questions!

October 2, 2014

"How Business Can be Part of the Environmental Solution"
Speaker:  Kevin Wilhelm '95, CEO, Sustainable Business Consulting

Kevin Wilhelm will talk about his work in the non-profit and government sector, and his move to work within the business sector to show businesses the benefit of working towards solving our planet's greatest social and environmental challenges. His firm, Sustainable Business Consulting, works with companies ranging from small business to some of the leading Fortune 500 companies like Nordstrom, Amazon, REI, and Alaska Airlines, to find cost savings strategies that not only enhance their brand, but also reduce the organization's environmental footprint at the same time.

Kevin is a 1995 grad that brings over 18 years experience working in this field, having worked with over 85 companies in 21 different industries.  He is also the author of two books:  Making Sustainability Stick: The Blueprint for Successful Implementation and the acclaimed Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability and Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy.  He is a professor at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in Seattle, which is the world's first and best Sustainable MBA Program.

October 9, 2014

"Bridging the Gap:  New Approaches to Integrating Environmental Science and Public Health in Urban Areas"
Speaker:  Gabriel Filippelli, Professor of Earth Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Over 50% of the global population lives in cities--this number is expected to climb to 70% by 2050. Although holding great potential for sustainability, cities also exhibit significant environmental and social legacies that can lead to serious human health and environmental justice issues. This talk presents newer approaches to bridging the gap between environmental scientists and medical and public health professionals, including developing new approaches to linking the data they each collect to better inform the public and city planners. In this way, we can turn science into action, providing solutions for managing the complex interactions between people and their environment.

Gabriel Filippelli is also Adjunct Professor of Public Health and Director, Center for Urban Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

October 16, 2014

"Barriers and Bridges to Building Restorative New Cities"
Speaker:  Molly Van Avery, Artist Organizer for The Cornerstone Group

Visionary urban planners, architects, and real estate developers know that we are beyond the need to think "sustainably" and have moved towards restorative new technologies.  Buildings that incorporate restorative design have the ability to produce more power than they require and treat their own waste and water.  This conversation will draw on local examples of projects still in the design phase in the Twin Cities to discuss the challenges and opportunities projects like this present to our ways of thinking, building, and funding the cities of the future.  We will also discuss the role art can play in the design and community engagement process to ensure that economic and cultural diversity are valued from the beginning.

Molly Van Avery is an Artist Organizer at The Cornerstone Group, a progressive, woman-owned real estate development company working on two major projects in Richfield and Prospect Park North.  Molly is a poet, performance artist, and public art practitioner whose work uses humor and story to investigate the pressing issues of our time.  She also works with Pillsbury House Theatre and HECUA where she teaches the course "Making Media, Making Change".

October 23, 2014

No EnviroThursday - Fall Break

October 30, 2014

"Saving Tigers in the 21st Century"
Speaker:  Robert Rose, Hubert H. Humphrey Visiting Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies

As the human population grows from 7 to 9 billion over the next 25 years, and as global economies expand, raising the standard of living of poor and rich alike, our planet faces unprecedented demand for land and natural resources. Add to that a climate that is changing with unknown consequences for the diversity of life on Earth and the ecosystems on which we all depend. Conservation NGOs continue to invest large sums of money and human resources in preserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services that are vital to the ecological functioning of the planet and the welfare of humanity.  But is this investment enough to stem the tide of biodiversity loss?  Critiques of conservation NGOs have focused on the effectiveness and fairness of conservation strategies and, increasingly, donors are asking for more evidence that their funds, invested by us, are having a measurable conservation impact.  In this talk, Robert will discuss how conservation NGOs are beginning to collect the evidence needed to show the effectiveness of conservation dollars and, more broadly, how a science based approach to conservation and a stronger alignment between conservation practitioners and academic institutions will be critical to saving tigers (and biodiversity) in the wild.

Robert Rose teaches two classes including an introduction to remote sensing and a class on habitat change and conservation planning.  He is on loan from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York where he is the Assistant Director of the Conservation Support team.  Robert’s role within Conservation Support is to lead efforts on providing technical support, building capacity and leading research on issues of conservation GIS, remote sensing and land change science.  The work supports the efforts of over 41 long-term programs designed to conserve the best wild landscapes and seascapes in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  Robert joined WCS in 2008 after finishing his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his dissertation research investigated how changes in the farming structure and the growth of recreational housing have affected both the amount and pattern of land cover change in northwestern Wisconsin from 1972 to 2002.

This EnviroThursday is co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies and Geography Departments.

November 6, 2014

Pests In The City"Pests in the City"
Speaker:  Dawn Biehler, Geographer, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Housing renewal, discrimination, and disinvestment have had important consequences for urban ecology and the health of city residents.  Animals such as flies, bedbugs, roaches, and rats have flourished in disinvested urban neighborhoods, often threatening residents’ physical and emotional health. This talk tells the story of health and housing activists since 1900 who connected pest management with other social and political movements, from urban beautification to civil rights to Black power. The story of pest management in American cities reveals the deep and complex roots of the current environmental justice movement.

Co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies and Geography Departments.

November 13, 2014

No EnviroThursday - Environmental Studies Majors and Minors Fall Social

November 20, 2014

Speaker:  Bruce Rich, Attorney with Environmental Defense Fund