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Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lectures

Thursdays at 12:00-1:00pm
Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall, Medford Campus

Every week during the academic year, the Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lectures feature 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.

The Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lectures are made possible thanks to the generosity of Daphne Hoch-Cunningham J82, A18P and Roland Hoch A85, A19P.

Watch it live:go.tufts.edu/HoCuLIVE

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Video archives of Environmental Lectures >

Spring 2020 Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lectures
Jan. 16, 2020
Watch video
Tim Wise Eating Tomorrow: The Battle for the Future of Food in the Climate Crisis
Jan. 23, 2020 Jeff Young & Louis Spencer Unique Natural Approach to Eliminate Algae and Reverse Pond Eutrophication
Jan. 30, 2020 Laura Corlin Impacts of Air Pollution on Health: Assessment and Challenges
Feb. 6, 2020 Ralph Robinson Pictures from an Expedition: A Search for a Personal Relationship with Wilderness
Feb. 13, 2020 Kelly Sims-Gallagher Vicious and Virtuous Cycles in Global Climate Policy *
Feb. 27, 2020 Amy Moran-Thomas MINE: A Family History of Carbon, Race, Place, and Planetary Health *
Mar. 5, 2020 Michelle Wyman How Science Diplomacy Can Result in Effective Climate Policy: Lessons From State and Local Climate Policy Initiatives
Mar. 12, 2020 Richard Schrader How Fracking was Banned in New York
Mar. 26, 2020 Jason Davis The Climate Stories Project
Apr. 2, 2020 Vernon Walker Are You and Your Community Prepared for Extreme Weather?
Apr. 9, 2020 Hossein Ayazi Agrarianism, Race, and Settler Colonialism
Apr. 16, 2020 Adam Sachs Life: The Most Powerful Force on Earth to Address Global Warming
Apr. 23, 2020 Larry House and Caroline Desbiens Decarbonization, Energy Transitions and Equity in New England: Perspectives from Two of Quebec's Indigenous Rivers

* There will not be live-stream broadcast for this lecture, and it will not be recorded.
‡ There will be live-stream broadcast for this lecture, but it will not be recorded.

Spring 2020 Schedule



Timothy A. WiseJanuary 16, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Eating Tomorrow: The Battle for the Future of Food in the Climate Crisis
Timothy A. Wise, Senior researcher, Small Planet Institute
Watch video

A series of recent United Nations reports on the growing climate emergency highlights the urgent need to change the way we grow, market, and consume our food if we want to meet the UN goals to end hunger by 2030. Based on his extensive research in India, Mexico, the United States, and several countries in Southern Africa, Timothy A. Wise presents key findings from his new book, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food (New Press, 2019). He echoes UN calls to reduce dependence on fossil-fuel-based inputs and promote a transition to ecological agriculture.

Book jacket for 'Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food'Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

Timothy A. Wise is a senior researcher at the Small Planet Institute, where he directs the Land and Food Rights Program. He is also a senior research fellow at Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute, where he founded and directed its Globalization and Sustainable Development Program. He previously served as executive director of the U.S.-based aid agency Grassroots International. He is the author of Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food (The New Press) and Confronting Globalization:Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Twitter: @TimothyAWise
Instagram: @TimothyAWise

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Jeff Young and Louis SpencerJanuary 23, 2020

12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Unique Natural Approach to Eliminate Algae and Reverse Pond Eutrophication
Jeff Young & Louis Spencer, Advanced Marine Technologies

The rate and severity of algae blooms in the U.S. have been increasing at a dramatic rate over the last 20 years due to the accumulation of excessive nitrogen in our waterways from over-development, fertilizer run-off, human waste, and other pollutants. The most common methods to combat algae is to kill the algae with algaecides, which are toxic to the environment. However, these methods only mask the problem, and in many cases increase the rate of algae growth in the long-term. The Founders of Advanced Marine Technologies (AMT) of New Bedford, MA will discuss their successful, 3-pronged method to eliminate excessive nitrogen and return waterways to a healthy state, using only natural products approved for use in certified organic farming.

Jeff Young is the co-founder of AMT. In the early 1990's, he and his partner, Louis Spencer, discovered a unique method to enzymatically digest fish and food byproducts into a undenatured liquid in less than 2 hours processing time. The product they created, ORGANIC GEM™ Liquid Fish Fertilizer, quickly became the industry leader and base tool for organic and regenerative farmers. Jeff and Louis have been on the leading edge of the healthy food revolution, which all begins in the soil. Their position as early innovators in the field of soil health, has led to their skills being sought after and contracted by PepsiCo, Disneyworld, General Mills, and three foreign governments. They have been featured on NPR and in various trade magazines, won environmental awards and were guest lecturers at the Columbia Earth Institute. They continue to bring innovative and practical solutions to improve the quality of our food and environment.

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Laura CorlinJanuary 30, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Impacts of Air Pollution on Health: Assessment and Challenges
Laura Corlin, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University

Most of the research on air pollution focuses on how individual air pollutants affect health outcomes. From this research, it is known that air pollution is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality globally. Yet, people are routinely exposed to pollutant mixtures – not individually pollutants. Therefore, we need to develop better methods to assess people's exposures to air pollutant mixtures and to understand the health effects of this exposure. This talk will introduce concepts related to the exposure assessment of air pollution mixtures and the epidemiologic challenges in relating these pollutant mixtures to chronic health outcomes. It will also be discussed how expertise in environmental engineering, health sciences, statistics, and environmental policy is used. Dr. Corlin will touch on her path through Tufts as well and how students may be able to leverage the substantial resources of the university to pursue their own research.

Dr. Laura Corlin is an Assistant Professor in Public Health and Community Medicine. She earned her MS and PhD in Environmental Health through the Tufts School of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cardiovascular Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on developing and applying new methods to assess the chronic health effects of environmental mixtures in observational studies. Through her exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology research, Dr. Corlin seeks to mitigate environmental health disparities.

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Ralph RobinsonFebruary 6, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Pictures from an Expedition: A Search for a Personal Relationship with Wilderness
Ralph Robinson, Photographer

The book "Pictures from an Expedition" explores our connection to the unspoiled, natural places around us, and how we see our role in protecting our distressed planet. The basis for the book, and the focus of this talk, will be the story of a tragic accident, which occurred during a photographic expedition to eastern Siberia, in which a park ranger lost his life when he surprised a Russian brown bear in the woods. However, beyond the simple documentation of a loss of life, the story is also a personal search for a spiritual and emotional relationship with the wilderness, the risks we take in life, and the impact we have on the world whenever we step outside to explore it. The speaker joins a long tradition of wildlife photography in which a sense of awe and respect for the animals emerges from the encounters, and at the same time explores the potential dangers which are inherent when trekking in remote areas. In its totality, the book goes beyond one tragedy or one species at risk, and points to a broader recognition that, just as nature takes care of us, we also urgently need to take care of nature.

Ralph Robinson creates imagery focused on the importance of preserving remaining wilderness areas, and protecting endangered species, drawing attention to the increasing degree to which that wilderness, and the entire planet, is threatened by human activities. His sense of urgency about the plight of our planet has driven him to use his art to inform and encourage others to act now, before it becomes too late. Primarily working in photography, he often brings his images into woodblock, screen, and other forms of printmaking as a way to further explore these themes. He is currently a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts at SMFA at Tufts.

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Kelly Sims GallagherFebruary 13, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Vicious and Virtuous Cycles in Global Climate Policy *
Kelly Sims-Gallagher, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, Tufts University

Since 1992, the global climate change negotiations have experienced numerous booms and busts. What causes the momentum to change? What induces countries to come together at times and why do they splinter apart at other times? Most importantly, how can progress be sustained and ambition enhanced through virtuous policy cycles so that global climate policy actually works to bend the upward trend of global emissions down to net zero.

Dr. Kelly Sims Gallagher is Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. She directs the Climate Policy Lab and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at Fletcher. From June 2014-September 2015 she served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and as Senior China Advisor in the Special Envoy for Climate Change office at the U.S. State Department. Gallagher is a member of the board of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and she also serves on the board of the Energy Foundation.

Broadly, she focuses on energy innovation and climate policy. She specializes in how policy spurs the development and deployment of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, domestically and internationally. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of Titans of the Climate (The MIT Press 2018), The Global Diffusion of Clean Energy Technologies: Lessons from China (MIT Press 2014), China Shifts Gears: Automakers, Oil, Pollution, and Development (The MIT Press 2006), and dozens of other publications.

* This talk will NOT be live-streamed or recorded.

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Amy Moran-ThomasFebruary 27, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
MINE: A Family History of Carbon, Race, Place, and Planetary Health *
Amy Moran-Thomas, Associate Professor of Anthropology, MIT

The growing polarizations and divides of our present often get framed as a separate story from American fossil fuel extraction and its environmental and atmospheric effects. This talk focuses on crucial moments when these material inheritances intersect. It offers a "relational ethnography" building outward from one family’s trajectories moving across a divided swing state. Following the various ways carbon gets embodied across scales of bodies, towns, homes, infrastructures, times, atmospheres, and landscapes, these intergenerational stories uneasily probe larger questions of "slow violence" and segregation, by populating broad terms like settler colonialism and hydrocarbon toxicity with the jarring intimacy of a kinship story.

Trains loaded with pig iron Amy Moran-Thomas is Hayes Associate Professor of Anthropology at MIT, interested in questions of ecological change and ethnographic approaches to science, technology, and medicine. She received a PhD in Anthropology from Princeton in 2012, and taught courses about the anthropology of health and environmental humanities as a postdoc at Brown University before coming to MIT in 2015. Her ethnographic account of the rise of diabetes across the Caribbean, Traveling with Sugar: Chronicles of a Global Epidemic (University of California Press, December 2019), was completed during a fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. Her next book project again picks up questions about the entwined global economies and afterlives of "carbohydrates and hydrocarbons," this time focusing on health between people and places across generations in her own home state of Pennsylvania.

* This talk will NOT be live-streamed or recorded.

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Michelle WymanMarch 5, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Room 745B, Dowling Hall
How Science Diplomacy Can Result in Effective Climate Policy: Lessons From State and Local Climate Policy Initiatives
Michelle Wyman, Executive Director, National Council for Science and the Environment

Michelle Wyman is currently the Executive Director at the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), a nonprofit organization to improve the scientific basis of environmental decision-making. For over 20 years, Ms. Wyman has worked with government at all levels domestically and internationally, and decision-makers on energy, sustainability, and environmental policy development and implementation. She previously served as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In that role, she worked directly with the Energy Secretary and led the Department's engagement activities with state, regional, and local governments on issues across the DOE complex, including renewable energy, science, fossil energy, and environmental clean-up. Ms. Wyman's experience includes founding Applied Solutions - Local Governments Building a Clean Economy, an organization that provides resources and connects local governments and decision-makers to a national network of leading scientists and academics engaged in research and scholarship. She also led ICLEI USA, a nonprofit that works directly with cities and counties to advance climate mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development. She has also served in a wide variety of leadership capacities at the World Bank, United Nations, and other multilateral institutions. She has served as the Natural Resources Director for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado, and established a public-sector law practice focused on the environment and sustainable development working with states, local governments, and related national nonprofits based in Washington, D.C.

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Richard SchraderMarch 12, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
How Fracking was Banned in New York
Richard Schrader, NY Political Director, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program, NRDC

In 2014, after years of pitched political battle around the state, New York became the first state in the nation with known gas reserves to ban fracking. How did this happen? Richard Schrader from The Natural Resources Defense Council will discuss the role played by different stake-holders and the factors that ultimately led to this decision.

Richard Schrader is A veteran environmental and political strategist who represents The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Albany, New York. He has led campaigns and legislative efforts that have collectively expanded clean energy programs, expanded green jobs, and increased ocean conservation. He has been a leader in the successful efforts to bring about a fracking ban in New York state, institute a ban on fossil fuel drilling in the Atlantic, pass a food waste recycling bill, create the nation's first comprehensive congestion pricing system, and pass New York State's comprehensive climate law that codifies the state's goal of 100% clean energy by 2040. Prior to joining NRDC, he served as New York City's commissioner of consumer affairs, where he led one of the nation's first law-enforcement actions prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. He is a graduate of Fordham University and holds a master's in journalism from Boston University.

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Jason DavisMarch 26, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Climate Stories Music
Jason Davis, Director and musician, Climate Stories Project

How can music and storytelling play a role in responding to the climate crisis unfolding around us? Bassist, composer, and educator Jason Davis presents Climate Stories Music, a presentation and performance of original music featuring the recorded voices of people from around the world sharing their climate stories—their personal observations of and responses to climate change in their home regions. Jason will discuss his work collecting and sharing climate stories via his initiative Climate Stories Project, an educational and artistic forum for sharing personal stories about the changing climate. He will also perform two pieces for solo double bass featuring recorded climate stories. Come find out how sharing your climate story contributes to a powerful societal response to the climate crisis.

Jason Davis, Director, is a musician, environmental educator, and leader of the environmental sound/improvisation ensemble Earthsound. He was a 2014 fellow with EE Capacity's Community Climate Change Education Fellowship, for which he began developing Climate Stories Project. Jason holds a doctorate in music from McGill University in Montreal. He has Master's degrees in Music and Ecology, and has published research about the changing relationship between local communities and protected areas around Monteverde, Costa Rica. Jason was inspired to create Climate Stories Project from listening to Different Trains by composer Steve Reich, a piece which uses recorded interviews to explore the very different experiences of people traveling by train in the US and in Europe during World War II. Jason's goal is to create a "living artistic documentary" that engages audiences to share and listen to personal responses to climate change. Photo credit: Randy Cole.

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Vernon K. WalkerApril 2, 2019
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Are You and Your Community Prepared for Extreme Weather?
Vernon K. Walker, Program manager, CREW

This lecture will provide an overview of what the Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) program does to prepare people for extreme weather and how to make an emergency preparedness kit. Rev. Walker will also talk about the relationship between extreme weather communities experience and climate change in the context of the current climate justice movement.

Rev. Vernon K. Walker is the program manager over the Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW), which is a program under the Better Future Project Organization in Cambridge, MA. The CREW program helps communities become climate resilience by building social resilience. Rev. Walker's work on social justice has been featured in different media outlets including the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Bay State Banner and the Commonwealth Magazine among others. He has also made TV appearances on Fox 25, New England Cable News, Boston Neighborhood Network, CBS Boston, and NBC 10 Boston. Rev. Walker has a BS in Organizational Leadership and a minor in Psychology from Penn State University and a Master's degree in theological studies (M.T.S) from Boston University's School of Theology.

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Hossein AyaziApril 9, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Agrarianism, Race, and Settler Colonialism
Hossein Ayazi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Humanities, Tufts University

Agriculture has been central to histories of U.S. racial and settler colonial dispossession. This talk introduces the U.S. settler vision of an imagined agrarian democracy filled with virtuous "family farms," and address how attachments to this vision have underpinned centuries-long efforts to reconstitute Native social and political space in service of U.S. settler sovereignty, theft of land, and capital accumulation. Dr. Ayazi will also discuss the reforms that came under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act and how agriculture as a relation to land has also been the site and practice of anti-racist and anti-colonial "worldmaking."

Hossein Ayazi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. He completed his Ph.D. in Society and Environment at the University of California, Berkeley. His research and teaching are situated in the field of Transnational American Studies, with an emphasis on comparative and relational inquiry across Africana Studies, Native American/Indigenous Studies, and Environmental Humanities. Trained as an interdisciplinary environmental historian, he focuses his research on how modes of anticipatory governance in moments of "natural" or "ecological" crisis re-entrench historic entanglements of racialization, colonization, and accumulation.

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Adam SacksApril 16, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Life: The Most Powerful Force on Earth to Address Global Warming
Adam Sacks, Executive Director, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

The current global climate disruption requires us to expand our thinking beyond greenhouse gases. As recent reports suggest, biodiversity is a critical factor, as ecological destruction exceeds the impacts on climate of burning fossil fuels. This talk will discuss nature-based solutions as solutions far more powerful than the portfolio of emissions reductions. Examples from the scientific literature and from land management practice will be discussed to illustrate regeneration of habitats, the most hopeful and practical path to restoring a healthful and bountiful biosphere.

This talks kicks-off Earth Day celebrations and serves as a prelude to the upcoming Blessed Unrest conference at Tufts on April 18-19, 2020.

Adam Sacks has had careers in education, holistic medicine, computer technology, politics and advocacy. For five years he directed a non-profit that worked with communities invoking basic democratic and constitutional principles to oppose detrimental local corporate activity. He has been a climate activist since 1999 and has been studying and writing about Holistic Management since 2007. On the side he is an artist and writer. His primary goal is regeneration of biodiversity and a livable planet.

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Larry House and Caroline DesbiensApril 23, 2020
12:00-1:00pm | Multi-purpose Room, Curtis Hall
Decarbonization, Energy Transitions and Equity in New England: Perspectives from Two of Quebec's Indigenous Rivers
Larry House, President, Chisasibi Mental Wellness Team, Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Caroline Desbiens, Department of Geography, Laval University

The climate and economic crises of fossil capitalism have made energy transitions urgent and inevitable. The rush to electrify everything while maintaining low energy costs has created new pressures in old frontiers of resource extraction, particularly in Indigenous territories. In this presentation, we take a critical perspective on "green" energy in order to explore whether strategies of decarbonization are bringing new forms of agency or new phases of dispossession for Indigenous Peoples. Our perspective is anchored in two Indigenous rivers -- La Grande and Manicouagan – where large-scale hydroelectric development has historically provided surplus energy for exportation, notably to New England. Are today's decarbonization strategies decolonizing or reproducing racialized environmental geographies? Is equity a necessary condition of any "green" transition? We explore these issues as they unfold in Eeyou Istchee and Nitassinan, namely Cree and Innu territories.

Mr. House is a member of the Sundance family, he is the President of Inshiyuu Miyuupimatisiuun (Chisasibi Mental Wellness Team), as well as community advocate in the field of cultural safety and cultural approaches to justice and wellbeing. He was taught iiyiyiu knowledge by elder Robbie Matthew and his late wife Sally Matthew in the bush and worked at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. Larry is a firm believer in the universality of truth manifest in Spirit that has been known to sacred knowledge keepers since time immemorial. He is now working to awaken this truth in his community and build alliances for living a good life. For the past decade Larry has developed culture-based, community-driven, wellness services in the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, including a Land-based Healing Program.

Dr. Caroline Desbiens completed her Ph.D. in 2002 at the University of British Columbia. She is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Laval University, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Heritage and Tourism. She does collaborative research that focuses on the interface between Indigenous knowledge, territorial heritage, identity and hydro development in Northern Quebec. Her book, Power from the North: Territory, Identity and the Culture of Hydroelectricity in Quebec (UBC Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2015 Canada Prize in the Social Sciences.

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