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Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn Program

Thursdays at 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center, Medford Campus

Every week during the academic year, the ENVS Lunch & Learn lecture series features speakers from government, industry, academia and non-profit organizations to give presentations on environmental topics. This is a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge beyond the curriculum, meet other faculty and students and network with the speakers.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are welcome to attend.

Food is generously sponsored by the Tufts Institute of the Environment.

You can't make it to the talk? No problem!

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Fall 2015 Lunch & Learn Schedule
Sep. 10, 2015
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Ninian Stein Factory, Forest and Farm: Case Studies in Environmental Policy, Science and Archaeology
Sep. 17, 2015
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Adriana Zavala Frida Kahlo's Garden
Sep. 24, 2015
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Matthew Nisbet Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals and their Arguments for Action on Climate Change
Oct. 1, 2015
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Johanna Neumann Reducing Global Warming Pollution

Professional in Residence
Sign up to meet with speaker for individualized career advice
Oct. 8, 2015
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Carolyn Kirk Report from the front line
Oct. 15, 2015
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Eric Hove Towards a more sustainable and equitable Metro Boston: The HUD regional planning grant
Oct. 22, 2015
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Becky Kessler The Dammed: Getting fish back into American rivers by chipping away at dams
Oct. 29, 2015
Watch video
Tim Griffin Sustainable Diets: Science, Guidance, and Politics
Nov. 5, 2015
Watch video
Jim McClintock Lost Antarctica: Drug Discovery in a Disappearing Land
Nov. 12, 2015
Watch video
Philip Warburg Solar Power Comes of Age
Nov. 19, 2015
Watch video
Dan Grossman Looking for Good News About Global Warming
Dec. 3, 2015
Watch video
Guy Robinson Tree Pollen and Public Health in New York City: will another million trees help?
Dec. 10, 2015
Watch video
William Moomaw Talloires Declaration: Past, present, future

Fall 2015 Schedule

September 10, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Factory, Forest and Farm: Case Studies in Environmental Policy, Science and Archaeology
Ninian R. Stein, Environmental Studies, Tufts University
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Destruction through deterioration, subdivision or uninformed development threatens countless abandoned industrial buildings, farms and forests across New England. Understanding the history of these places can be integral to their preservation and planning for their futures. This presentation discusses three case studies where environmental policy, science and archaeology are being combined to produce recommendations for appropriate site management. Come learn about an exciting combined approach that you could apply to the places you care about locally and beyond.

Trained as an anthropological-archaeologist and an environmental scientist, Dr. Ninian Stein's research and teaching spans three areas— environmental policy and communication, landscape change, and environmental justice. Many of her classes and aspects of her research look at environmental policy and communication through the lens of the disciplinary cultures of science and policy. At the heart of Dr. Stein's work is the idea of "landscape literacy" (Spirn 2005), that if we can read the past of a place we are better able to plan for its future. Dr. Stein has taught most recently at Smith College and also at Wheaton College, the University of Massachusetts Boston and San Jose State University. Her current research draws on systems thinking, science and design to create new collaborative decision-making frameworks for communities seeking to increase their sustainability and more effectively utilize and preserve local environmental resources.

September 17, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Frida Kahlo's Garden
Adriana Zavala, Department of Art and History, Tufts University
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Adriana Zavala, Associate Professor of Art History at Tufts and guest curator of the exhibition "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life" at the New York Botanical Garden will discuss the project's team-based curatorial approach and provide a highlights overview of the exhibition. She will also touch upon aspects of the nature-based symbolism in Kahlo's painting and discuss the importance of her garden and home, the Casa Azul, as her creative refuge and inspiration.

Adriana Zavala earned her Ph.D. in Art History from Brown University, with a specialization in modern Mexican art and visual culture. She is Associate Professor of Art History at Tufts, and director of the Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, and the Latino Studies program. From 2012-15 she joined the interdisciplinary team at the New York Botanical Garden to curate "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life," on view through November 1, 2015. With its 2008 Darwin's Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure, the Botanical Garden pioneered an exhibition model, unique among botanical and public gardens, that presents topics related to science and nature through a humanities-based lens, using both living and material collections. "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life" is the latest in their projects of this type.

September 24, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals and their Arguments for Action on Climate Change
Matthew C. Nisbet, Communication Studies, Northeastern University
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In this presentation, Dr. Nisbet will discuss his research analyzing the role that prominent public intellectuals like Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Jeffrey Sachs, Tom Friedman, and Andrew Revkin play in shaping debate over climate change. He will detail how public intellectuals establish their authority, spread their ideas, and shape political discourse, assessing the contrasting stories that they tell about the causes and solutions to climate change and related environmental problems. He will propose methods for building on his analysis and urge the need for forums that feature a diversity of voices, discourses, and ideas.

Matthew C. Nisbet is Associate Professor of Communication, Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. He is a Senior Editor at Oxford University Press' Research Encyclopedia Climate Science, "The Age of Us" columnist at The Conversation, a consulting researcher to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academies Roundtable Committee on Public Interfaces in the Life Sciences. Nisbet studies the role of communication, media, and public opinion in debates over science, technology, and the environment. The author of more than 70 peer-reviewed studies, scholarly book chapters, and reports, he teaches courses in Environmental and Risk Communication, Political Communication, and Strategic Communication. Among awards and recognition, he has been a Shorenstein Fellow on Media, Policy, and Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Investigator, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. The editors at the journal Nature have recommended Nisbet's research as "essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate," and the New Republic has highlighted his work as a "fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism." Nisbet holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Communication from Cornell University and a BA in Government from Dartmouth College.

October 1, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Room 745A, Dowling Hall
Reducing Global Warming Pollution
Johanna Neumann, New England Regional Director, Environment America
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When it comes to climate change, the science is clear: Carbon emissions from human activity are fueling a rise in global temperatures. This global warming is causing a host of problems including more frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and more. Learn how one organization is building the political power needed to get our leaders to pay attention to the science, push back against the interests of polluting industries, buck the status quo, and act to address this global challenge.

Johanna Neumann is the Regional Program Director for Environment Massachusetts, which works to protect our air, water and open space and champion the core environmental values so many of us share. Prior to joining Environment Massachusetts in 2011, Neumann served as the state director for the consumer advocacy group Maryland PIRG where she developed expertise in energy issues, toxics and consumer protection. She has appeared twice on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, and been quoted in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Boston Globe. In addition to advocacy, Neumann also has extensive community organizing experience, working with communities to reduce their exposure to toxic threats with the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore and at Toxics Action Center in Boston. She graduated from Tufts University in 2001 with a degree in biology and environmental studies and completed Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing, in 2002.

Professional-in-residence program
The Career Center invites students interested in this field to sign-up for a 20-minute one-on-one meeting with Johanna for career advice. More information >

October 8, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Report from the front line
Carolyn A. Kirk, Deputy Secretary, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and former Mayor of Gloucester
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Mayors and other municipal leaders in coastal communities are on the front lines of confronting the challenges posed by climate change, sea level rise, and extreme weather. In Gloucester, Massachusetts, a coastal city north of Boston, these challenges hit on almost every aspect of the community from adapting the economy to a sustainable fishery to advances in the city's emergency management response to ensuring that new development meets standards of resiliency. Not only does the municipality have to respond to our changing environment, but citizens do as well. Carolyn A. Kirk will share her experience as Mayor for seven years in Gloucester in confronting these challenges but also show how citizens were inspired to do their part as well.

Carolyn A. Kirk joined the Administration of Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in January of 2015 and serves as the Deputy Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. In this position, Ms. Kirk leads operational management and shares policy responsibility for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Mass. Office of Business Development and its ancillary agencies of Mass. Travel and Tourism, the Mass. Marketing Partnership, and the Mass. Office of International Trade and Investment. In addition, Ms. Kirk is responsible for economic planning and growth in the Maritime economic sector, oversees the MassWorks grant program, and provides direct support to the Lieutenant Governor's office on a number of initiatives.

Prior to her appointment with the Baker/Polito administration, in 2007 Ms. Kirk was the first woman popularly elected as Mayor of the City of Gloucester. She went on to win three subsequent general municipal elections and never lost a ward or a precinct in any of her contests and served as Mayor for seven years. Kirk's administration invested over $100million in infrastructure thus laying the groundwork for future economic growth.

October 15, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Towards a more sustainable and equitable Metro Boston: The HUD regional planning grant
Eric Hove, Regional Plan Implementation Assistant Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
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The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) works with dozens of municipalities and non-profits to advance smart growth and preservation in Greater Boston. In the summer of 2014, MAPC and the Metro Boston Consortium for Sustainable Communities wrapped up work on the $4 million Regional Planning Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Consortium included 170 organizations and municipalities and was governed by an elected and representative steering committee. The grant allowed MAPC and the Consortium to advance MetroFuture, a long-term regional plan, through local planning efforts, state and regional policy work, development of tools and data, and capacity building for local residents and leaders. This work is now turning into on-the-ground change, as the plans and recommendations are implemented.

Eric Hove is the Assistant Director of the Regional Plan Implementation department at MAPC. Mr. Hove works closely with a number of MAPC's divisions and external partners on a variety of projects. Under the HUD-funded Sustainable Communities program, he managed project solicitation and selection processes, helps develop and manage state and local policy and planning projects, and is responsible for evaluating, documenting, and disseminating best practices internally and throughout the region. Prior to joining MAPC, Mr. Hove served as the Assistant Director for Land Use Policy at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). While at EEA, he helped establish and implement a wide range of smart growth policies and programs throughout the Commonwealth. He also worked at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in their Environmental and Land Use section. Mr. Hove holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and English from Oberlin College and a master's degree in regional planning from UMass-Amherst. He is a member of the American Planning Association.

October 22, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
The Dammed: Getting fish back into American rivers by chipping away at dams
Becky Kessler, Environmental journalist and Editor, Mongabay
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U.S. rivers once teemed with migratory fish making their way between the salty ocean and inland freshwater bodies: alewives, blueback herring, shad, salmon, trout, smelt, eels, lamprey, sturgeon, and others. But the installation of thousands of dams, culverts, and other barriers helped squeeze the fish flow to a trickle. Populations of 24 North Atlantic migratory fish species are now down to less than 10 percent of their historic size, and half are down to less than 2 percent, by one estimate. New England alone has no fewer than 25,000 dams, many of them dating to the 1700s, and more than you might expect in derelict and crumbling condition. Little by little, people are considering taking out some of these dams, with an eye to easing passage for fish, as well as generally improving rivers' health. But dam removal often runs into blockages of its own, and we'll talk about old (bad) and new (better) ways of getting fish over dams when that happens. On the east coast, flagship river restoration is taking place on the Penobscot in Maine, combining several strategies to improve fishes' odds of making it past the 13 dams that once choked its flow: dam removal, dam bypass, and better fish passageways. Enlightenment may be dawning in the U.S., but globally, dusk is descending for many riverine fish and peoples. We'll zoom out and look at the global dam-building frenzy that is transforming entire river networks in a quest for "green" energy, including the Yangtze and Amazon river basins, where roughly 250 dams are being planned or are under construction.

Rebecca Kessler is an editor at the environmental news website Mongabay.com, where she covers all aspects of our changing planet with a particular zeal for the ocean, environmental conflict, and indigenous peoples. A former freelance science and environmental journalist and senior editor at Natural History magazine, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Yale Environment 360, Conservation, Discover, ScienceNOW, ScienceInsider, and Environmental Health Perspectives. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

October 29, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Sustainable Diets: Science, Guidance, and Politics
Timothy Griffin, Food, Agriculture & Environment Program, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University
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Dietary guidelines are about diets and health, but the ways people eat have many impacts. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) began its work in late 2013, and released its Scientific Report in February 2015. For the first time, the DGAC report included an assessment of the environmental impacts of human diets. Much has been made of the fact that the DGAC included these issues (both in support and in opposition), but the rationale for inclusion is clear: our ability to meet food security goals in the future is directly impacted by our use of resources now. There is a significant scientific assessment that connects dietary patterns to sustainability outcomes, which will be reviewed. The public and political response will also be discussed.

Timothy S. Griffin is an Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University. At Friedman, he directs the interdisciplinary graduate program, Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and teaches classes on U.S. agriculture, and agricultural science and policy. His current research focuses on: regional food system, and climate change impacts on agriculture. He served as an Advisor to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, focusing on Sustainability, and is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences study Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experiences and Future Prospects. Before coming to the Friedman School in 2008, he was Research Agronomist and Lead Scientist with the USDA-Agriculture Research Service in Orono, ME, from 2000 to 2008. From 1992 to 2000, he was the Extension Sustainable Agriculture Specialist at the University of Maine, the first such position in the U.S. He graduated from Michigan State University (Ph.D) and the University of Nebraska (B.S. and M.S.)

November 5, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Lost Antarctica: Drug Discovery in a Disappearing Land
James B. McClintock, Polar and Marine Biology, University of Alabama
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The seafloor communities surrounding Antarctica have a long geological history where predation pressure and competition have facilitated the evolution of a rich chemical diversity including compounds with the potential to combat cancer and other human diseases. Rapid environmental change in Antarctica is now threatening biodiversity loss. McClintock has taken this important message to a broad global audience by successfully authoring books.

James B. McClintock is the Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. McClintock's research has been funded continuously over the past 25 years by the National Science Foundation and focuses on aspects of marine invertebrate nutrition, reproduction, and primarily, Antarctic marine chemical ecology. Over the past decade his research has also encompassed studies of the impacts of rapid climate change and ocean acidification on Antarctic marine algae and invertebrates. He recently returned from his 14th research expedition to Antarctica where over the past two decades he and his research collaborators have become among the world's authorities on Antarctic marine chemical ecology and drug discovery and have developed an award winning interactive educational outreach website. His book Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land has garnered considerable national and international praise. He has published over 235 scientific publications, edited and written books, and his research has been featured in a variety of public media outlets including NPR's "On Point", National Geographic Magazine, CNN, and the Washington Post, among many others. In 1998 the United States Board on Geographic Names designated the geographic feature "McClintock Point" in honor of his contributions to Antarctic science.

November 12, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Solar Power Comes of Age
Philip Warburg, Author
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Solar power is poised to become a mainstream US power resource, already visible on hundreds of thousands of rooftops, fast taking hold on farms and industrial "brownfields," and spreading across our Western deserts. In addition to exploring the full extent of solar's potential, this talk will examine some of the challenges it poses. How will utilities adapt as "distributed" solar supplants fossil and nuclear plants that have long been their revenue-generating mainstays? What are the wildlife impacts of utility-scale solar fields, and how can those impacts be mitigated? And how will we manage vast new quantities of solar waste as the industry matures? Specific solar projects will be studied; US and European policies will be explored.

Philip Warburg is a lawyer by training and a writer at heart. His work on energy issues dates back to the summer of 1973, when he staffed one of the nation's first challenges to nuclear power in Plymouth, Massachusetts. After graduating from Harvard College in 1978, he joined the staff of U.S. Senator Charles Percy, where he pioneered legislation to promote renewable energy. Later, as a graduate of Harvard Law School, Phil worked at the Washington-based Environmental Law Institute fostering environmental law reform in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. This followed a two-year stint as a freelance reporter on the first Palestinian Intifada and the beginnings of a Middle East peace process in the late 1980s. In 1994, Phil went back to the Middle East, where he advised the Palestinian Authority's drafting of its first environmental legislation and coordinated a World Bank project in Jordan, protecting the Gulf of Aqaba's endangered coral reefs. He then spent several years at the helm of the Tel Aviv-based Israel Union for Environmental Defense, Israel's leading environmental advocacy group. Returning to his native New England in 2003, Phil became president of the Conservation Law Foundation, the region's oldest and largest environmental watchdog group. There, he found himself in the midst of one of America's most contentious wind farm siting battles—over the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound. In Harvest the Wind: America's Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability, Phil explored wind power's promise and the challenges facing this transformative technology. In his new book, Harness the Sun: America's Quest for a Solar-Powered Future, Phil looks at inner-city solar projects and the development of solar power in Native American communities. He also examines some of the ways that solar developers are responding to concerns about wildlife protection, and he probes the life-cycle performance of different solar technologies.

November 19, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Looking for Good News About Global Warming
Daniel Grossman, Environmental journalist, National Geographic News Watch Editor
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Daniel Grossman has reported for 15 years about the impacts of global warming around the world, from Greenland's Ice Sheet to Peru's rain forest. Recently he's also begun reporting on efforts to reduce carbon, especially in northern Europe, where people are responsible for only half as much carbon dioxide as residents of the U.S. He'll talk about his reporting on climate impacts and a reporting trip last summer to Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany and Norway.

Daniel Grossman is an award-winning print journalist and radio and web producer with 20 years of experience. He holds a Ph.D. in political science and a B.S. in physics, both from MIT. He is a 2008 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow. He was awarded a Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he studied climate science. He has reported from all seven continents including from within 800 miles of both the south and north poles. Dan has written for the New York Times, The Boston Globe, Discover, Audubon and Scientific American, among other national publications. He has been interviewed on environmental topics more than a dozen times on national radio programs including The World, Here and Now and Living on Earth. He has produced three extensive micro-websites on environmental topics. He is coauthor of A Scientist's Guide to Talking with the Media: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists (Rutgers University Press: 2006).

December 3, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Tree Pollen and Public Health in New York City: will another million trees help?
Guy Robinson, Department of Natural Science, Fordham University
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Several types of tree pollen are highly correlated with allergy and asthma. Major cities across North America monitor airborne pollen on a daily basis, but most rely on a single rooftop sampler. To get a handle on the spatial distribution of pollen across the five boroughs of New York City we deployed 45 street pole-mounted traps for the entire 2013 pollen season. Using techniques borrowed from paleoecology, we found that pollen deposition varies by six-fold, reflecting the unequal rates of morbidity at the neighborhood level.

Guy Robinson is a paleoecologist with a particular interest in the global loss of large animals over the last 50,000 years. He works with microfossils from sediment cores and mastodon sites to piece together prehistoric environmental change and the consequences of earliest human arrival. A former carpenter, Dr. Robinson teaches biology at Fordham University in New York City, where he also manages the two aero-allergen monitoring stations that serve southern New York State.


December 10, 2015
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Talloires Declaration: Past, present, future
William Moomaw, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Introductory remarks by Boris Hasselblatt, Associate Provosts, Tufts University

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Tufts climate commitment and the signing of the Talloires Declaration. William Moomaw, Co-Director of the Global Development And Environment Institute, will present the ins and outs of the Declaration. He will discuss how it came about, who wrote it, who signed it, it's purpose and it's impact on teaching, research, and campus sustainability. He will focus specifically on what changed at Tufts in the years after its signing. Come prepared and read the one-page declaration, a 10 Point Action Plan.

William Moomaw is Professor of International Environmental Policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, where he is the founding director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, the Tufts Climate Initiative and co-founder of the Global Development and Environment Institute. He works to translate science and technology into policy terms using interdisciplinary tools. His major publications are on climate change, energy policy, nitrogen pollution, forestry financing and management. He was a lead author of three IPCC reports (1995, 2005 and 2007). He also was an author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment on nitrogen and serves on the Integrated Nitrogen Committee of the EPA Science Advisory board. As an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow, he worked on legislation that eliminated American use of CFCs in spray cans to protect the ozone layer, and also worked on energy and forestry legislation. Dr. Moomaw currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Climate Group, Clean Air-Cool Planet (which he co-founded), Earthwatch Institute, Center for Ecological Technologies and the Consensus Building Institute. He has facilitated sessions with negotiators of international treaties.