Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn Program
Fall 2013 Schedule
September 5, 2013
The Benefits and Impact of Urban Agriculture
and Rooftop Farming in Greater Boston
Jessie Banhazl, CEO and Founder of Green City Growers
Jessie Banhazl will present
the current impact and scope of urban agriculture in our local community, and
why using unused, urban space is important for a sustainable food system. This
talk will provide a survey of the current landscape, focusing on rooftop
farming, raised-bed intensive growing, and creative uses of space to grow food.
Jessie Banhazl is
the CEO and Founder of Green City Growers. She has a Bachelor's degree from Smith College in Northampton, MA
and is a Boston-area native. After graduating, she moved to New York City and
began a career in reality television production. Disillusioned with the
entertainment industry, she moved back to Boston to run GCG, re-awakening her
passion for food, farming, and sustainability. Jessie has extensive experience
in marketing, communications, management, production and public relations. She
is involved in the Local Food movement and is passionate about cooking with
fresh ingredients. Since founding the company in 2008, Jessie has lead GCG
through five successful seasons, building and maintaining over 400 raised-bed
vegetable gardens, including a 1/2 acre rooftop farm on top a Whole Foods Market
in Lynnfield, MA.
September 12, 2013
Sea Level and Climate Changes
Over the Last 2000 Years
Andrew Kemp, Assistant
Professor, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Tufts University
encompassing the past 2000 years provide a pre‑anthropogenic
context for understanding the nature and causes of current and future changes.
Understanding of sea-level variability during this period is limited and the
response to known climate deviations such as the Medieval Climate Anomaly,
Little Ice Age and 20th century warming is unknown. Elucidating climate-sea
level relationships through multiple climate phases is critical for making the
accurate projections necessary for effective management of coastal populations,
infrastructure, and ecosystems. Foraminifera, transfer functions and composite
chronologies provide a new method for reconstructing decadal- and
decimeter-scale changes in sea level. In North Carolina sea level changes over
the last 1000 years are related to climate changes. New reconstructions from
Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut show similar patterns and shed light on the
driving mechanisms behind past, present and future sea-level rise.
Andrew Kemp is
a new Assistant Professor in the Earth and
Ocean Sciences (EOS) department at Tufts University. He is also a new member of
the Environmental Studies Program through the recent cluster hire with EOS and
will be a member of the ENVS Executive Committee and an ENVS Undergraduate
Advisor. He completed his PhD in 2009 at the University of Pennsylvania working
on sea-level change in North Carolina. His post-doctoral research was conducted
at Yale University, where he worked on a fairly wide range of topics including
sea-level changes in Florida, Connecticut and New Jersey over the last 2000
years. He is looking at longer timescales (10,000 years or so) of sea level
change in northern Russia and Florida. He is also working on sea-level rise
projects in New York City, Bermuda and the geological record of hurricane
strikes in New Jersey. Finally, has also focused on the geological record
of very large earthquakes and tsunamis in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Dr.
Kemp will be teaching Global Climate Change (EOS 191) during the fall 2013
September 19, 2013
Boom Before Bust? Tubewell Irrigation in India ad China
Ujjayant Chakravorty, Professor of Economics, Tufts University
Recent decades have seen an explosion in the drilling of wells and
extraction of groundwater in India and China. According to many experts,
the rise of groundwater extraction has led to increased food production
and food security in these two populous nations. However, this trend has
occurred at the same time as water tables have declined in many regions in
India and China. The talk will highlight the spatial organization of water
markets and show that increasing scarcity of water may lead to a boom in
"well-drilling," contrary to what one may expect. Resource scarcity reduces
competition among water sellers, hence increases profits. Higher profits
induce greater entry.
is Professor of Economics and
Environmental Studies at Tufts University and Fellow at the Toulouse
School of Economics and CESifo. He was previously Professor and Canada
Research Chair at the University of Alberta and has taught at Emory
University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has worked on the
economics of fossil fuels and clean energy, the effect of environmental
regulation on energy prices and the economics of water resources. His
current work includes modeling the supply of nuclear power, the effect
of biofuel mandates on food prices and poverty and the relationship
between energy and economic development. He has been visiting professor
at Sorbonne and the Graduate School of International Studies at Geneva.
He has received research funding from NSF, NOAA, SSHRC and other agencies.
His research has been published in top academic journals including the
American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy,
the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and the
of Economic Dynamics and Control. He is on the Editorial Board for the
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Resource and Energy
Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies and past associate
editor of Water Resources Research. He is Co-Editor of the book "India and
Global Climate Change." Chakravorty has a BS in Civil Engineering from
IIT Delhi and a PhD in Resource and Environmental Economics from the
University of Hawaii.
September 26, 2013
The Scratch Flat Chronicles
John Hanson Mitchell, Author
and Editor, Sanctuary Magazine, Massachusetts Audubon Society
The series of books known as the Scratch
Flat Chronicles is a deep exploration of the whole concept of the sense of
place, the idea that geography and locale can play a critical role in
shaping literature and art, character, and more recently, a concern for the
protection of the local environment. Playing off Thoreau's ideas of examining
the world by examining a singular locale, Mitchell will focus on the first and
latest books in the series. He will deal with the natural and cultural changes
that have taken place on Scratch Flat over the last fifteen thousand years and
pose a couple of possible futures for the area, including a sustainable economic
system. The story starts with a wide focus of the square mile, and ends with a
sharp focus on the natural history of his acre and a half garden.
Over the past thirty years
John Hanson Mitchell has written five books documenting the cultural
and natural history of a single square mile of land known as Scratch Flat. A
former journalist with a number of overseas assignments, Mitchell is the editor
of Sanctuary Magazine, published by
the Massachusetts Audubon Society. His other books have focused on travel and a
biography of the heretofore-unknown early 20th century African American
landscape photographer, Robert A Gilbert. He is currently working on a book
about Robin Hood as early environmental guerrilla.
October 3, 2013
Water Wars in Massachusetts: Reforming Water Management
in a Blue State
Julia Blatt, Executive
Director, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
Despite the fact that
Massachusetts receives 44 inches of precipitation a year, about a fifth of the
Commonwealth's streams suffer from unnaturally low flows during dry summers, a
condition that could worsen with climate change. In an effort to curb the
overuse of water, insure water is available for future generations, and leave
enough in the streams to keep them healthy, the Patrick Administration
introduced the Sustainable Water Management Initiative in 2010. This
initiative, now nearing completion, was a multi-year, multi-stakeholder project
to reform the way the Commonwealth allocates water. The Massachusetts Rivers
Alliance led (and continues to lead) the environmental stakeholders'
participation in this effort. Julia Blatt, its director, will talk about the
changes afoot in the way the state doles out the right to use water, and the
challenges in getting to "yes" on this contentious issue.
Julia Blatt has
been protecting rivers since 1987, when, as an
aide to then-Congressman Chester Atkins, she helped eight communities gain
federal Wild and Scenic River status for the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord
Rivers. She worked as a planner for the state's Riverways program (now
DER), and served as the Executive Director of the Organization for the Assabet
River (OAR) for eight years. During her tenure at OAR, the group took on
the challenge of reducing the river's phosphorus pollution, and their efforts
resulted in precedent-setting phosphorus limits for the river's four wastewater
Since 2009, Blatt has served
as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. The Alliance
is a statewide group that works to improve river protection across the
Commonwealth and to strengthen and connect other groups that share a river
protection mission. The Alliance currently has 41 organizational members
and a growing membership of individuals, families, and businesses. Their
current highest priorities are protecting stream flow and cleaning up stormwater
– two of the thorniest challenges facing rivers in Massachusetts.
October 10, 2013
Standardized Life on the American
Alexander Blanchette, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Environmental
Studies, Tufts University
This talk is based on 24 months of ethnographic
research in the workplaces of some of the world's largest pork production
corporations, which annually produce some seven million hogs. It examines the
politics of standardizing life across species lines, examining how efforts to
imagine and manufacture forms of identical meat at large scales, in turn,
transforms (human) labor and social relations. Along the way we will touch on
diverse issues including biosecurity politics, animal illness, welfare,
industrial organization, and the re-organization of rural economies around the
Alex Blanchette is
Assistant Professor of
Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. Prior to joining
Tufts, he completed his PhD from the University of Chicago and was the 2012-2013
Weatherhead Fellow at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, NM. His
current book project tracks the making and unmaking of the modern American meat
pig from genetics to post-kill processing. In collaboration with Toronto-based
photographer Sean J. Sprague, he is also completing a fine arts and public
anthropology exhibit on labor, nature, and industrial agriculture.
October 17, 2013
Environmentally Literacy for the 21st Century Careers!
Robin Organ, Founder and
Executive Director of Green Schools
Learn the recipe for success
when developing Environmentally Literacy Skills for the 21st Century! This
workshop showcases multiple Environmental Education strategies for the College
Student & Teacher/Informal Educator. Learn how to deliver best practices when it
comes to experiential education in Environmental Education through service
learning opportunities that truly engage in innovation and sustainable outcomes.
Robin Organ is the Founder and Executive Director of Green
Schools, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to create greener &
healthier learning environments through Education, Awareness, and Action. Green
Schools provides a number of Environmental Education and STEM-based programs to
schools and communities looking to make The Green Difference!
Robin has been responsible for
developing and implementing Green Schools' Programs and has developed more than
150 Green Schools' strategic Partnerships across the Commonwealth and our
Robin was recently invited as
one of 100 women across our nation to attend the White House Women & the
Environment Summit. Last year, she was invited to participate in the 1st White
House Summit on Environmental Education, as Robin is a true leader in
Environmental Education across our nation.
Robin was also recently named
Chair of SAGEEE [Secretaries Advisory Group on Energy & Environmental Education]
and Project Manager of the MA ELP [Environmental Literacy Plan].
In addition to her efforts
with Green Schools, Robin serves on the Advisory Board for the Green Schools
National Network, The Green Ribbon Schools Working Group, Partners In
Prevention, and several other community groups.
October 24, 2013
Poverty Alleviation through Commercial and Resource Development While Sustaining
Environmental Integrity and Local Culture: Co-Management Practices in
Ghana's Forests and the Okyeman Community Environment Brigade
Osagyefuo Ofori Panin, the King of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area in Ghana,
the Chancellor of the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies,
and the immediate former Chairman of Ghana Environmental Protection Agency
Ofori Panin, the King of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area in Ghana,
the Chancellor of the University College of Agriculture and Environmental
Studies, and the immediate former Chairman of Ghana Environmental Protection
Agency, will share the area's vision and experience of efforts to save the
earth and humanity in Africa. The Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council located
in the eastern part of Ghana resolved five years ago to establish a university
dedicated to agriculture and the environment as way of fighting poverty,
disease, and environmental degradation.
Besides his role as a king, Osagyefuo Ofori Panin also
occupies the following positions: working to prevent environmental degradation;
the immediate former Chairman of Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, former
Chairman of Forest Plantation Development Fund Board, Member of the Advisory
Council to the Prince Charles's Rainforest Project (UK), the World Bank Global
Environmental Facility and Honorary Vice President for West Africa, Board
of Birdlife International.
October 31, 2013
Walking: Where Environment, Health and Community Vitality Come Together
Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston
WalkBoston was the first organization in the US to
focus on advocacy for "everyday" walking and since 1990 has been making walking
safer and easier in Massachusetts. In 2012 WalkBoston worked with more than 25
cities and towns across the state including Somerville, Revere, Holyoke, Bolton,
Springfield and Boston, with much of its work targeted to neighborhoods and
communities where people depend on walking the most – people with lower incomes,
elders, children, people with disabilities, and transit users. Wendy Landman
will discuss how WalkBoston's work bridges the worlds of public health, climate
change/environmental advocacy and land use planning. She will focus on the
important role that walkability plays in encouraging a more sustainable
transportation system including growth in the use of transit. She will also
provide an overview of the role of walkability in projected land use and real
estate patterns that are beginning to reflect changing American demographics.
Wendy Landman is
Executive Director of WalkBoston and leads the
organization's advocacy. Among WalkBoston's initiatives are: Safe Routes to
School programs; a leadership role in the Transportation for Massachusetts
coalition; technical assistance efforts to many of the 52 Mass in Motion
communities; Good Walking is Good Business trainings; and deep engagement in
state transportation policies through the MA Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory
Board, the Safe Routes to School Task Force and the Chronic Disease Prevention
Built Environment Community of Practice. WalkBoston is also leading efforts to
train new populations to be walking advocates including public health outreach
workers, teens in Boston neighborhoods, and senior volunteers and local public
works staff in suburban communities. WalkBoston also uses the MEPA process to
review private development projects and major transportation projects around the
state, works to improve sidewalk snow and ice clearance, and creates wonderful
walking maps to attract new walkers and encourage municipalities and large
employers to get engaged in advocacy. Wendy came to WalkBoston with 25 years
experience in urban planning; spanning all modes of transportation, as well as
master planning, smart growth and environmental review. She holds SB and Master
of City Planning degrees from MIT, and a Diploma in Urban Design from the
University of Edinburgh.
November 7, 2013
Cambridge Successes: Environment, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
Henrietta Davis, Mayor, City of Cambridge
The City of Cambridge has ongoing success in many
areas: collaborations, energy efficiency, green building design, renewable
energy, climate change preparedness planning, and sustainable transportation.
This past spring, the City of Cambridge, Harvard University, MIT and leading
Cambridge businesses signed the "Community Compact for a Sustainable Future"
which lays out a clear framework for how these entities will collectively
improve the health and well-being of the Cambridge community. Mayor Davis will
share her perspective on these exciting sustainability initiatives.
In February 2012,
Henrietta Davis was elected Mayor of
the City of Cambridge. She previously served eight terms on the Cambridge City
Council, and as the City's Vice Mayor. She has also served four terms on the
Cambridge School Committee.
During her time as an elected official, Mayor Davis
has focused on children and families, energy and the environment, non-auto
transportation, neighborhood preservation, and aging in Cambridge.
Mayor Davis serves as chair of the Cambridge School
Committee, chair of the city's coordinating council on children and families
(the Kids' Council) and for many years has been co-chair of the award winning
Healthy Children Task Force, focusing on prevention efforts.
For many years she was the Chair of the Council's
Environment Committee and she led the Council to adopt a Green Building policy
for all new city buildings. She counts as significant accomplishments the
commitment of Cambridge to purchase 20% renewable energy for its municipal
Mayor Davis is a member of the Massachusetts
Municipal Association Energy and Environmental Policy Committee. She is the
current chair of the NLC International Council. Mayor Davis has also served as
the past Chair of the National League of Cities' Energy, Environment and Natural
November 14, 2013
Rooftop Farming: Utilizing Unused Urban Space to Grow Food while Providing
John Stoddard, Founding
Farmer, Higher Ground Farm, 1 Design Center Place
The Boston metropolitan area has acres of blacktop rooftops that are not
only vacant spaces in high population centers, but that are contributing
to environmental problems such as the urban heat island effect and combined
sewer overflows. Higher Ground Farm's Founding Farmer, John Stoddard, will
discuss why rooftop farming can be part of the solution to dietary issues,
food security issues, and environmental issues that urban areas commonly face.
John will also tell the story of how he and his business partner, Courtney Hennessey,
started Higher Ground Farm, Boston's first commercial roof farm, and the
challenges in starting an unconventional, mission-driven business.
MS is a Founding Farmer of Higher Ground Farm,
Boston's first commercial green roof farm. As an environmentalist and food
lover, he has focused his career on promoting sustainable food systems. In
addition to running Higher Ground Farm, John is a Healthy Food in Health Care
Coordinator for the global non-profit organization, Health Care Without Harm,
and works throughout New England on facilitating local and sustainable food
procurement for health care institutions. John began his career in the waste
reduction field, working with institutions and municipalities to decrease their
landfill bound waste, and moved to environmental health work, addressing toxics
in the environment. He earned his Master of Science from Tufts
University's Friedman School of Nutrition specializing in the Agriculture, Food,
and Environment program.
November 21, 2013
Green Island Development: Catalysts and Frameworks
for Collaborative Innovations
Ken Kao, Director, Kao Design Group
Like many small islands, those in the Caribbean are environmentally
and economically more vulnerable than neighboring continental sites.
Shaped by their unique context and historically protected by their
limited access, the islands' extraordinary natural resources remain
their most important asset. The island's natural landscape and
bio-resources attract visitors, providing a critical source of
revenue. Paradoxically, the increase in tourism also exposes the
islands' bio-resources to potential damages and disrupts its
cultural fabric. It is challenging to formulate a responsible
development approach that balances economic and resort expansion
with the conservation and regeneration of the islands' ecology. The
islands' isolation and their remote context demand self-sustaining
approaches and integrative development strategies.
Resorts and tourism present one of the most prevalent opportunities
to create a flourishing economy on Caribbean islands, with the
potential to greatly benefit the broader community.
This talk will explore some strategies to concurrently
develop islands for resort and tourism and conserve their unique
resources, while enhancing bio-diversity and self-sustainability.
The sustainable development of Caribbean islands present unique
challenges that require careful study and multi-disciplinary
collaborations to achieve success. Through creating a framework that
supports ecological design, regenerative developments can integrate
the often-divergent aspirations of developers and conservationists.
Multi-disciplinary partnerships that employ ecological design,
incorporate vernacular best practices, and transfer emerging
technologies, are able to attract and support long-term strategic
Dr. Kenneth Martin Kao
is an architect specializing in ecological master planning,
design of net-zero energy projects, and leading green technology
research and design initiatives.
At Kao Design Group since 1995, Kao combines professional
practice and teaching with research on innovations in building
technology and sustainability.
He has realized ecological projects in California, New
England, and international projects, including: Green Island
Development Master Planning at
Moskito Island, British
Virgin Islands for Sir Richard Branson; collaborated with Drs.
Kammen and Prull from UC Berkeley's Renewable Appropriate Energy Lab
to conceive of Necker Island Net-Zero Energy Master Plan,
British Virgin Islands.
His studio received First Place Team Design Award for Harvard
University Green Campus Initiative's 2020 Vision of Sustainability
Competition. He has
designed net-zero energy projects in California, and currently is
completing the prototype Human Needs Project to offer clean
technology and community services to the slums of Kibera in Kenya
and Mumbai India.
At Harvard University Graduate School of
Design from 1988 to 2011, Kao researched and taught innovations in
sustainable design, engineering collaborations, and computer-aided
design and manufacturing.
With leading engineers from Arup & Partners, he conducted
seminars on Net-Zero Energy Developments, Environmental
Sustainability Seminar, Low-energy buildings and high performance
building envelopes. Kao
co-authored with colleagues at Harvard on Digital Design and
Manufacturing, published by Wiley Press.
He served as faculty advisor on the Harvard Green Campus
Sustainability Principle task force, and on Harvard University's
Allston Planning for Sustainability Workshop Team.
Dr. Kao has also taught at the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology ETH-Zurich and at the Massachusetts Institute of
Kao was appointed to the advisory
task-force to establish the Caribbean Green Technology Center, in
USVI, collaborated with teams at National Renewable Energy Lab,
sponsored research with Department of Energy to develop Low Carbon
Strategy for Energy Development Island Nations, and studied energy
efficient housing prototype in USVI in 2010. Kao has recently
lectured on Ecological Island Development for the International
Small Island Studies. He
chaired the “Sustainable Design Concepts" symposium session at the
Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference at Washington D.C.
He served as Boston Society of Architect's commissioner of
Education and Research from 2011-12.
Kao received a Doctor of Technical Sciences from Swiss Federal Institute
of Technology ETH-Zurich; awarded Master of Architecture from
Harvard University Graduate School of Design with the AIA Merit
Award and the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, and B.A. from University of
Pennsylvania with Distinction in the Design of the Environment.
December 5, 2013
Just Sustainabilities: Re-imagining E/quality, Living Within Limits
Julien Agyeman, Professor of Urban and
Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University
Professor Agyeman will speak about his concept
of 'just sustainability' the full
integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as ‘the
need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a
just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting
is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy
and Planning at Tufts University, Medford, MA. He is an environmental social
scientist with degrees in botany, geography, conservation policy and
environmental education whose expertise and current research interests are in
the complex and embedded relations between humans and the environment, whether
mediated by institutions or social movement organizations, and the effects of
this on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in
relation to notions of justice and equity.
He is co-founder, and Editor-in-Chief of the international journal
Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability.
With over 150 publications, his books include, Just Sustainabilities:
Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press 2003); Sustainable Communities
and the Challenge of Environmental Justice (NYU Press 2005);
Environmental Inequalities Beyond Borders: Local Perspectives on Global
Injustices (MIT Press 2011); Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and
Sustainability (MIT Press 2011); and Introducing Just Sustainabilities:
Policy, Planning and Practice (Zed Books 2013).
He was founder in 1988 of Britain's Black Environment Network (BEN) and is
currently a member of the Advisory Board of the
Center for Diversity and the Environment
(2009); the Board of Directors of The
Massachusetts Audubon Society
(2009-) and the is on several journal editorial boards.