Tufts University  |  School of Arts and Sciences  |  School of Engineering  |  Find People  | 

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

Sea-level reconstructions 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 semester.

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.

Ujjayant Chakravorty 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, Econometrica, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and the Journal 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 treatment facilities.

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 "Factory" Farm
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 industrial pig.

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 Nation.

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

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, 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 needs.

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 Resources Committee.

November 14, 2013
Rooftop Farming: Utilizing Unused Urban Space to Grow Food while Providing Environmental Benefits
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.

John Stoddard, 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 investments.

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 Technology.

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 ecosystems.'

Julian Agyeman 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.