The Environmental Studies Program runs a robust lecture series during the fall and spring semesters. We seek top thinkers and researchers in their field and bring them to campus to meet with our students, share a meal, and give a lecture. The lecture series is broken up into an evening series and a lunchtime series. While the lecture series is specifically geared to our students and the current semesters courses they are free and open to the public. Click here to see a list of past guest speakers and hear podcasts.
Spring 2017 Environmental Studies Lecture Series
11:30 lunch, 12:00 lecture
Fairchild Room, Dana
Where in the World: Environmental Studies Student Internship Presentation
Come join the ES Program as we hear short presentations from our majors about their Jan Plan Internships. Organizations include:
Food & Water Watch (NY)
Natural Resources Council of Maine(ME)
Schoodic Education and Research Center (ME)
Appalachian Mountain Club (ME)
World Resources Institute (China)
Cultural Vistas Fellowship and Selco Foundation (India)
**Please note you can join us for 11:30 for lunch**
A Colby Grad’s Experience in the U.S. Renewable Energy Business
Matt Kearns, Chief Marketing Officer, Long Road Energy and Colby alum
Over the last 10 years large scale wind and solar projects have been built across the U.S. to meet renewable energy goals set by the states. In the past utilities were the only customers for energy from these large scale projects. As the cost of renewable energy has come down, corporations are driving a new wave of investment in this sector. Companies like Walmart, 3M, Amazon Web Services and others are adding increased growth in renewable energy project development. The talk will include an overview of my experience as a renewable energy developer over the last decade and talk about emerging trends in the renewable energy industry.
Community development through food systems: Understanding networks and building toward systemic change
Sandy Gilbreath, Program Coordinator, Maine Food Strategy Network
A ‘food system’ includes everything from production to consumption of food, while looking at the economic, social, and environmental aspects. There has much activity in Maine’s food system recently; from the vibrant local movement, to the increase in young farmers, to the recognition of so many Mainers lack of access to healthy food. Fully addressing food system issues requires taking a full systems view of the complex and diverse connections and impacts. Come learn about the Maine Food Strategy and other organizations that are building networks, increasing stakeholder engagement, and mobilizing collaborative efforts to build communities and support farming and fisheries in Maine and New England to create long term, sustainable change.
Sandy Gilbreath is the project coordinator for the Maine Food Strategy, where she provides oversight of the organizations Councils, support for collaborative projects, and engages the project in regional work and outreach. Sandy graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree in Policy, Planning, and Management from the Edmund S. Muskie School for Public Service in Portland, Maine. Sandy lives in Portland and is vice-chair of the Portland Food Council, and actively supports the local food scene by frequenting bars and restaurants whenever possible.
The Maine Food Strategy (MFS) is a network of diverse food systems stakeholders in Maine working together to bolster a food economy that supports a healthy environment and communities in Maine. With the release of the Maine Food Strategy Framework: A tool for advancing Maine’s food system, MFS is convening individuals, organizations, and businesses who can implement activities identified in the Framework and work towards measurable positive impacts in Maine’s food system.
What Resistance Looks Like: Defending the Environment in a Conservative Climate
Melissa Mann, Advocacy Coordinator, Maine League of Conservation Voters
The new presidential administration threatens to roll back environmental protections at an unprecedented rate. Fortunately for Maine, we’ve had six years of experience with an executive leader who has a distaste for programs like solar energy and voter-approved land conservation funds. Come learn some tactics and best practices to protect our environment at the state and national levels.
The past, present, and future of a forest: Linking tree rings to carbon monitoring
Dr. April Chiriboga, Colby College
Forests sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing it in wood. Northern hardwood forests are an important sink for anthropogenic emissions of CO2. These forests can be used as a tool to mitigate CO2 emissions, and their effect on our climate. To maximize carbon storage, we must understand how events impact the capacity, stability, vulnerability of the sink. In this talk, I describe work that links the long record of growth contained in tree rings to modern, indirect measures of carbon uptake such as satellite and flux tower monitoring. Using a measure I developed that focuses on wood accumulation in the canopy, a long-standing discrepancy between remote sensing, flux, and biometric data is resolved. The extended record of carbon storage also shows the impact of events like insect outbreaks on sequestration. These results can inform management practices and policy to ensure we make the best use of our forests.
Olin 1, 7pm (unless otherwise specified)
Climate is Your Issue. Are you ready to deal with it?
Tom Tietenberg, Professor Emeritus, Colby College and Peter Garrett, Mid-Maine Group Leader, Citizens Climate Lobby
Understanding Food Access in Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color
Dr. Dorceta Taylor, University of Michigan
Low income and minority communities are often characterized by lack of access to healthy and affordable foods. Large grocery stores are sometimes scarce while food outlets such as gas stations, corner stores, and pharmacies abound. Though terms like “food dessert” have been used to describe this phenomenon, this talk will examine the problemmatic nature of how researchers have defined and studied the food landscape. It explores the role of alternative food sources in providing access to healthy foods in urban areas.
Dr. Dorceta Taylor is a professor of environmental sociology at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE). She is the James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Chair and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SNRE. She also holds a joint appointment with the Program in the Environment. Dr. Taylor is the former Field of Studies Coordinator for SNRE’s Environmental Justice Program and a past Chair of the American Sociological Association’s Environment and Technology Section. Professor Taylor received dual doctorates in Sociology and Forestry & Environmental Studies from Yale University in 1991, a Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy from Yale University in Sociology and Forestry & Environmental Studies in 1988, a Master of Forest Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1985, and a Bachelor of Arts Environmental Studies and Biology from Northeastern Illinois University in 1983.
Marketing Sustainability to the Masses: Lessons learned from EV1 (electric vehicle one), Levi’s and Nest
Doug Sweeney, Chief Marketing Officer Nest/ VP of Marketing Google
Marketing sustainable products to a more mass consumer audience has had ups and downs over the past two decades. While we all have the best intentions to reduce our impact on the environment, unfortunately we don’t always act. Many sustainable products have failed to gain mass appeal. Why is this the case? Doug will share his experience and lessons learned leading marketing for big global brands and also smaller start-ups. From the spectacular failure of the General Motors EV1 (electric vehicle one), to the iconic jean brand Levi’s to his most recent experience leading Nest marketing, Doug will bring to life three sustainable marketing case studies.
Doug Sweeny, Chief Marketing Officer Nest/VP Marketing Google Doug has more than 20 years of experience leading marketing for iconic, global brands like Levi’s, Adidas and General Motors EV1. He is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Nest, an Alphabet company, and leads brand strategy, advertising, ecommerce business, social media, PR, channel, and partner marketing. Doug has led Nest marketing from the early days as a small garage start-up though the Google acquisition. Prior to joining Nest, Doug was VP of Global Marketing for Levi’s and architect of the Go Forth campaign and was selected by Advertising Age as one of the Top 50 – Innovative Marketers today.
Before Levi’s, Doug was the Managing Director of the Adidas business at TBWA/Chiat/Day. Doug is a senior advisor to Google Ventures, startups like Modsy, and is a member of Marketers that Matter. He is a guest lecturer at Stanford University School of Business and University of California, Hass School of Business.
Effective fisheries management through traceability: Balancing transparency and accessibility
Dr. Megan Bailey, Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University
Event Desription: Increasingly the seafood sustainability discussion is including calls for transparency as a solution to combatting illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing (IUU) and mislabeling and fraud. Seafood value chains remain some of the most opaque in our global food system, and thus traceability is being forwarded as a way to validate transparency claims, and to open up the black box of the seafood value chain. Yet whether or not sustainability gains arise from traceability is debated, and in fact, implementing traceability may impose disproportionate costs onto some producers, especially small-scale ones and producers in developing countries. Specifically, they may lack the money or capabilities to implement highly complex traceability systems in response to global calls for transparency. The question that follows is if traceability is replicating the dynamics of certification, for example in aquaculture and fisheries, where traceability remains possible only where it is needed the least. In this talk, Dr. Bailey discusses work she has been involved in for the past four years, trying, with varying degrees of success, to implement full-chain consumer facing traceability in Indonesian handline tuna fisheries. Lessons learned for the global seafood market are discussed, as Dr. Bailey works from the global to the local, and back up again, weaving theory and practice in an effort to help move us to more transparent seafood value chains that are also socially just.
Megan Bailey is Assistant Professor with the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University, and Canada Research Chair in Integrated Ocean and Coastal Governance. Megan’s work focuses on finding solutions at the intersection of markets and states to promote sustainable fishing and sustainable consumption.
A Reading from Open Midnight: Where Ancestors & Wilderness Meet
April 25, Special Collections, 7pm
with Brooke Williams, author and activist
Open Midnight weaves two parallel stories about the great wilderness—Brooke Williams’s year alone with his dog, ground truthing backcountry maps of southern Utah, and that of his great-great-great-grandfather, William Williams, who in 1863 made his way with a group of Mormons from England across the ocean and the American wild almost to Utah, dying a week short. The story follows two levels of history—personal, as represented by his forbear, and collective, as represented by Charles Darwin, who lived in Shrewsbury, England, at about the same time as William Williams.
As Brooke Williams begins researching the story of his oldest known ancestor, he realizes he’s armed with few facts. He wonders if a handful of dates can tell the story of a life, writing, “If those points were stars in the sky, we would connect them to make a constellation, which is what I’ve made with his life by creating the parts missing from his story.” Thus William Williams becomes a kind of spiritual guide, a shamanlike consciousness that accompanies the author on his wilderness and life journeys, appearing at pivotal points when the author is required to choose a certain course.
The mysterious presence of his ancestor inspires Williams to create imagined scenes in which his ancestor meets Darwin in Shrewsbury, sowing something central in the DNA that eventually passes to Williams, whose life has been devoted to nature and wilderness. Grounded in the present by his descriptions of the Utah lands he explores, Williams’s vivid prose pushes boundaries and investigates new ways toward knowledge and experience, inviting readers to think unconventionally about how we experience reality, spirituality, and the wild.
Open Midnight beautifully evokes the feeling of being solitary in the wild, at home in the deepest sense, in the presence of the sublime.
Brooke Williams has spent the last thirty years advocating for wilderness. He is the author of four books, including Open Midnight, Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness, and The Story of My Heart, by Richard Jeffries, as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams. His journalistic pieces have appeared in Outside, Huffington Post, Orion, and Saltfront. He and his wife, Terry Tempest Williams, divide their time between Utah and Wyoming.
Fall 2016 Environmental Studies Lecture Series
11:30 lunch, 12:00 lecture
Fairchild Room, Dana
Where in the World Did ES Majors Spend Their Summer?
Wednesday, September 14th
Come enjoy face-paced presentations from Environmental Studies Majors who spent their summers exploring career paths. Organizations represented include; Oceana, Apex Clean Energy, National Institutes of Health, Hurricane Island Foundation, Wildlife Safari, Energy Crossroads, Maria Mitchell Center, and others.
High Performance Building Physics – Using Advanced Energy Analysis Tools, Basic Physics and an Integrative Process to Inform Sustainable Design
Wednesday, September 28
Mike Pulaski, VP. Thorton Tomasetti Consulting
The talk will explore the process on how Sustainable High Performance Buildings come to fruition. Drawing from over 10 years of experience on projects at Colby College and from others across the nation and around the globe, this talk will provide some insight into how these difficult design decisions are made and the rapidly evolving set of analytical tools that are available to assist in this process. In addition, we’ll provide insight into what is typically described as an “Integrative Design Process” and how a basic understanding of building physics can help inform good design decisions that result in highly energy efficient buildings.
Michael Pulaski leads Thornton Tomasetti’s Portland, Maine, office. He has more than 10 years of experience in sustainability consulting, providing sustainability strategies and engineering, energy and environmental analysis, and certification management. His clients range from building owners to design teams and contractors for new construction and existing structures. He is well versed in all LEED rating systems, and in Living Building Challenge certification and Passive House standards.
Border Nature: Stories of People and Nature along the German Wall
Wednesday, October 19
Dr. Sonja Peck, Bates College
For 40 years, Germany was cut in two, its internal border a legacy of the Second World War and ground zero of the Cold War: while West Germany remained capitalist, East Germany turned socialist. But the border region, shaped for decades by demographic and economic decline, became an ecological refuge for over a thousand of Germany’s endangered plant and animal species. When the wall fell in 1989, conservationists scrambled to protect the former border space and convert it into an ecological corridor and protected area called the “Green Belt.” That effort continues today, and many parts of the corridor remain incomplete. What currently exists of the Green Belt is an often-contested, complex mosaic cutting through many different ecosystems and habitats, administrative districts, and cultural regions. This talk introduces the Green Belt and, through an up-close look at two particular places along the corridor, explores the ways in which diverse stakeholders struggle for, and experiment with, different visions of what the border’s nature was, is, and should be. In the process, these places allow us to better understand how industrialized societies grapple with wildness, modernity, and memory.
Prof. Pieck is a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program at Bates College, and also chairs the Latin American Studies Program there.
A Young Journalists’ Journey Reporting on Love Canal and Three Mile Island
***Please note this event is on Monday, October 24***
David Shribman, Executive Editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Lovejoy Award Selection Committee Chair
Mr. David M. Shribman serves as Executive Editor and Vice-President of PG Publishing Co., Inc. Mr. Shribman joined The Boston Globe after serving as national political correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, covering national politics for The New York Times, writing for the feature and national staffs of The Washington Star and working in the Washington Bureau and city room of The Buffalo Evening News. In 2001, he was appointed Adjunct Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, on the Alumni Council and on the Board of Visitors of the Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences, was an alumni interviewer and admissions District Enrollment Director. He serves as Trustee at Dartmouth College.
Examining the role of Ethiopian Orthodox Church Forests in preserving stream ecosystem function and water quality
Wednesday, November 2
Dr. Denise Bruesewitz
The Maine Island Trail: A Model for Citizen Stewardship in Maine
Wednesday, November 9
The Maine Island Trail is America’s oldest recreational water trail. Dubbed the “Best Trail in Maine,” the “Best Sea kayaking Trail in America,” and “One of the 50 Best American Adventures” by national publications, the Trail has grown from an initial 30 islands to include over 200 properties spanning the entire Maine coast. Come learn how this unique recreational resource – built on simple handshakes and maintained by conscientious users – has risen from humble beginnings to become a world-class recreational resource and a model for water trails across the globe.
Brian’s time at MITA began as a volunteer in 2004. He was hired to fill the role of Stewardship Manager the following year. In 2009 he was named Program Director and now oversees all of MITA’s Trail development, stewardship, and education activities.
7pm, Olin 1 unless otherwise indicated
Synthetic nature and the future of nature
Tuesday, September 27
Dr. Kent Redford, Archipelago Consulting
Synthetic biology is a broad and fast-moving field of innovation involving the design and construction of new biological parts, and the re-design of existing, natural biological systems. It has many potential applications that may change human relations to the natural world including replacing natural products (e.g. vanilla, ambergris) with synthetic ones, reviving extinct species, and creating powerful tools to address wicked conservation problems. Despite this promise and the vast sums being spent on its development, synthetic biology is virtually unknown to the conservation community. We must engage promptly, honestly and with a broad discussion to see how conservation perspectives can help shape this major emerging field.
Kent H. Redford is the principal at Archipelago Consulting, established in 2011 and based in Portland, Maine. He was most recently Director of the WCS Institute and Vice President, Conservation Strategies at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York.
Nitrogen cycling in eutrophic systems: Case studies in Lakes Erie and Taihu
Tuesday, October 4
Dr. Silvia Newall, Wright State University
Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Taihu and western Lake Erie are driven largely by agricultural nitrogen (N) and phosphorus. Cyanobacterial community dominance and HAB development may depend on ammonium (NH4+) availability, and increased NH4+ has been linked to increased toxin production. Microcystis, the dominant toxic cyanobacterial genus in both lakes, cannot fix atmospheric N2; consequently, it must compete for NH4+ with other primary producers. Understanding the factors that govern N cycling and NH4+ availability is therefore crucial for identifying conditions that stimulate and maintain HABs.
Silvia Newell is an Assistant Professor at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. She has a Ph.D. in Geosciences from Princeton University. Her dissertation focused on biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen in low-oxygen marine environments in Chesapeake Bay and the Arabian Sea.
The elephant in the room: Reconciling the needs of people and elephants on Earth’s most populous continent
Tuesday, October 11
Dr. Shermin de Silva, Trunks & Leaves
Asian elephants are the sole survivors of the genus Elephas. This six-million year old, evolutionarily unique, species must now make a living alongside its historic predator, humans, on the most densely populated continent of the planet. More than half the human population lives in Asia, and development is accelerating. With large herbivores in global decline, elephants illustrate many of the issues they face in the 21st century. I will discuss the biology, ecology and conservation concerns for Asia’s last mega-herbivore.
Shermin obtained her Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, studying the behavioral ecology and demography of Asian elephants and directs the Udawalawe Elephant Research Project in Sri Lanka. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and is also the President and Founder of the US-Based nonprofit Trunks & Leaves.
Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, reading by Blair Braverman ’11
Thursday, October 27
Blair Braverman is a nonfiction writer and dogsledder whose work has appeared in This American Life, The Atavist, Buzzfeed, Orion, The Best Women’s Travel Writing and elsewhere. She is training for the Iditarod, a 1100-mile dogsled race across Alaska.
Her first book is WELCOME TO THE GODDAMN ICE CUBE, out now from Ecco/HarperCollins.
Dr. Jon Grabowski, Northeastern UniversityNew England is home to some of the oldest and most iconic fisheries species in the U.S., including the American lobster and Atlantic cod. Lobster populations and landings in coastal Maine have been consistently high over the past couple of decades, whereas the groundfish fishery was recently declared a disaster, with spawning stock biomass estimated at 3-4% of maximum sustainable yield. Several mechanisms have been proposed behind this increase in lobsters, including release from cod and other predators in coastal waters as well as bottom-up augmentation from herring bait. Furthermore, efforts to rebuild cod and other groundfish species such as imposing closures have affected the biology of cod. New England fisheries offer lessons in how socioeconomic and ecological processes are coupled, with the aim of building towards more sustainable fish populations and increased well-being of the coastal communities that rely on them.
Spring 2016 Evening Lecture Series:
Green Jobs Alumni Panel
Tuesday, February 9
Co-sponsored by ES and CC
Come meet Colby alumni, learn about their careers, and how their liberal arts education helped them along the way. The panel will share their backgrounds, answer questions about their views on making a difference in the world through their work, and most importantly interact with you, the student, to answer questions and give advice.
Luke Penney ’97, Founder and Director of LEAP Organics
Kerry Whitakker ’08, Assistant Professor of Marine Ecology, Bates College
Stephanie Clement ’92, Director of Conservation Friends of Acadia
Pat Adams ’13,Digital Content Specialist at the US Department of Energy
Pat Roche ’09, Energy Coordinator, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MA)
“Avoiding Random Acts of Conservation: Setting Priorities for People and Landscapes”
Ole Amundsen, President Maine Audubon
Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Whether the goal is protecting land for wildlife habitat, working lands, recreation areas, or watersheds, how can you evaluate which land is most important to conserve, protect or restore? How are demographic changes, market forces, and a changing climate, among other drivers, pushing us to do more than commit “random acts of conservation”? Learn about a variety of techniques and tools that are effectively being used to move beyond business as usual to set priorities for land and water conservation while attending to community (and regional) planning needs.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Olin / Olin 1
Sean will present our Spring 2016 Hollis Lecture in Environmental Studies.
Wallace Stegner called National Parks the “best idea [America] ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” The National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year but it is a less well known law, the Antiquities Act, that has been the genesis of not only more than 25% of the National Parks but most of the lands set aside over the last three decades. Signed into law in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act has been used by every President since then to permanently protect some of America’s most treasured and unique resources and their significant cultural, historic and scientific values. The exercise of that executive authority has almost always been met with opposition from any number of interests at the time of the designation and that is as true today as it was in 1908 when the Grand Canyon was designated a National Monument. In 2016, that same opposition can be found in Maine and New England, as proposals for a national monument in northern Maine and in the Gulf of Maine are considered by the Obama Administration. As the dysfunction and polarization of Congress reaches new heights, congressional agreement on creating National Parks becomes more and more remote. The Antiquities Act not only provides the best hope for permanently protecting America’s greatest national treasures for generations to come but for creating living laboratories for us to understand the impacts of climate disruption on those resources and how best we can adapt to those changes.
“Nature Inspired Food Wrappers Workshop”
Kristen Hitchcox, Manager at Wikifoods, Inc. and Marty Kolewe, Director of R&D at Wikifoods, Inc.
Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 6:00 p.m.
Maine Lakes Resource Center
WikiFoods, Inc. was founded to develop and apply natural packaging models to broaden food experiences, enhance the nutritive value of everyday foods, and positively impact the processed food sustainability lifecycle. Nature-inspired Food Wrappers, presented by a Colby College alumna and a chemical engineer in the field, will highlight technological advances in edible wrapping materials, integrating these advances into marketable consumer products, and the challenges in disrupting an entrenched, conservative industry and infrastructure.
Obesity – What’s the Environment Got To Do With It?
Dr. Victoria Rogers, Director of Let’s Go, The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center
Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 7:00 p.m..
This lecture will explore the relationship between weight, health and obesity and how environmental factors can influence all three. Over the last 4 decades, obesity rates have tripled for children and adults. Over the same time period our environment as changed – there is less green space – more concrete, less small farms – more mega food producers, less physical activity in schools and more sedentary time, less whole foods – more processed foods– and the list goes on. Dr. Rogers will explore what has happened here in Maine and introduce some exciting programs aimed at combating the obesity epidemic.
Keynote Address for the Community, Culture, Conservation: Sustaining Livelihoods and Landscapes conference
Friday, April 7, 2016, 7:00pm
Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.” His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized 20,000 rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Spring 2016 Lunch Lecture Series
Lunches: All in Fairchild Room, Dana. 11:30-12:00 lunch. 12:0012:50 lecture and Q&A
Where in the world did ES Majors spend their Jan Plan?
Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 11:30 a.m
Dana / 012 Fairchild Dining Hall
“Oh, the places you’ll go (and how to get there)”
Bill McDowell, Colby Faculty Fellow in Environmental Studies
Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 11:30 a.m.
Dana / 012 Fairchild Dining Hall
An open discussion about potential careers in ecology and environmental science, from academia to the professional world. Bill will provide a brief overview of his own experiences, followed by a question and answer session.
“The Seaview Survey: Coral reef ecosystem sensing in a time of global change”
Dr. Ben Neal, Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies
Dana / 012 Fairchild Dining Hall
To see more about the SeaView survey visit http://catlinseaviewsurvey.com/
Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 11:30 a.m.
Dana / 012 Fairchild Dining Hall