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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.

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Video archives of Environmental Lectures >

All lectures will be streamed via Zoom. While most speakers will be in-person, some will join remotely. Use the 'Register now' link for each lecture, to access the Zoom session.
Use the 'Register now' link for each lecture, to access the Zoom session.
You may also subscribe to our e-list, or send an email to: environmentalstudies@tufts.edu.

Fall 2021 Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lectures
* 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.
# This speaker will join remotely
Sep. 9, 2021
Elizabeth Hoover Defining and Enacting Food Sovereignty in Native American Community Gardening, Culinary Work, and Land Defense #
Sep. 16, 2021
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Kate Davies Marine Protected Area Planning in Aotearoa, New Zealand: Reflections on Participation and Process
Sep. 23, 2021
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Sandy Moret It's Now or Neverglades #
Sep 30, 2021
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Alan Sonfist Secret Earth #
Oct. 7, 2021
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Isa Leshko Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Rescued Farm Animals #
Oct. 14, 2021
Watch video
Erin Genia & Elizabeth James Perry Artists Conversation: Public Art, Native Art Expressions and Ecological Thinking
Oct. 21, 2021
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Marissa McMahan The Evolution of Fisheries and Fisheries Management #
Oct. 28, 2021
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Maya Nadimpalli Relying on Antibiotics to Put Meat on the Table: What Are the Implications for Planetary Health?
Nov. 4, 2021
Register now
Jennifer Blesh & Anne Elise Stratton Against the Odds: Farmer-led Transitions to Agroecology in the Midwestern US and Southern Brazil #
Nov. 18, 2021
Register now
Carolyn Ching The Role of Natural Climate Solutions in Corporate Climate Commitments #
Dec. 2, 2021
Register now
Stephen Lester Frontline Struggles: Environmental Health and Justice Communities
Prof. Jonathan Kenny Memorial Lecture
Dec. 9, 2021
Register now
Ben Gubits Turning Passion into Purpose: Protecting Our Lifestyle from Climate Change

Fall 2021 Schedule

Elizabeth HooverSeptember 9, 2021
Defining and Enacting Food Sovereignty in Native American Community Gardening, Culinary Work, and Land Defense
Elizabeth Hoover, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management department, University of California Berkeley

Taken up by activists and academics alike, food sovereignty has become a rallying cry for both established tribal programs and grassroots projects across Indian country. However, what is meant by the term often varies considerably. This talk will place the term within specific notions of American Indian sovereignty, as well as the context of the broader food sovereignty literature, and explore in detail how Native American community farmers and gardeners, Native chefs, and people on the frontlines fighting pipelines and mines describe and define food sovereignty as both concept and method, and a tool for pursuing community goals of promoting health and reclaiming and maintaining tribal culture.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program, the Anthropology Department, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor, and Tisch College of Civic Life.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoover is an associate professor in the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management department at the University of California Berkeley whose work focuses on food sovereignty and environmental justice for Native communities. Her first book The River is In Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community, (University of Minnesota Press, 2107) is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks' response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research. Her second book project-in-progress From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds; Indigenizing the Local Food Movement explores Native American community based farming and gardening projects; the ways in which people are defining and enacting concepts like food sovereignty and seed sovereignty; the role of Native chefs in the food movement; and the fight against the fossil fuel industry to protect heritage foods. She also recently co-edited a book Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States with Devon Mihesuah (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). Elizabeth has published articles about Native American food sovereignty and seed rematriation; environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities; and tribal citizen science and community based participatory research. Outside of academia, Elizabeth serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) and the board of North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) and the Freed Seed Federation.

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Kate DaviesSeptember 16, 2021
Marine Protected Area Planning in Aotearoa, New Zealand: Reflections on Participation and Process
Kate Davies, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a critical element of fisheries management and biodiversity conservation strategies around the world. However, MPA planning is a complex undertaking that requires consideration of many factors, as well as balancing social, cultural, and economic interests. Engaging diverse actors, including indigenous partners, in MPA planning, establishment, and management has consistently been identified as key to ‘successful' MPA implementation. This talk discusses MPA planning in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a focus on the role of participation and collaboration in the development and implementation of MPAs. Lessons learned that may be applicable elsewhere are drawn from this work.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department.

Kate Davies joins the Tufts faculty in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) this fall as a full-time Lecturer and the Director of the MS in Sustainability. Kate's work focuses on navigating equitable transformations to sustainability using a range of collaborative and participatory methods. Recent projects include developing serious games to address air quality challenges in the Salt Lake Valley and using scenario planning techniques to improve cumulative effects management in Aotearoa New Zealand's coastal and marine areas. Kate has also worked with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to develop scenarios that inform global and regional biodiversity and ecosystem service assessments. Through the co-production of knowledge and practice, these projects aim to improve social and ecological outcomes and enhance the resilience of communities by supporting individuals and institutions to grapple with environmental change across interests and scales. Prior to joining UEP, Kate has worked as a social scientist for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Aotearoa New Zealand, an urban planner in Salt Lake City, and a Research Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Utah. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Auckland and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College.

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Sandy MoretSeptember 23, 2021
It's Now or Neverglades
Sandy Moret, Florida Keys Outfitters, owner and conservationist
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Few are aware the Everglades ecosystem was once a flowing river. Headwaters began below Orlando, flowed through Lake Okeechobee and the central Everglades before emptying into the salt waters of the Gulf and Florida Bay between the southern tip of mainland Florida and the islands of Florida Keys. This created the one of the most prolific and productive estuaries on our watery planet. Through Florida's population explosion, the sugar industries manipulation of water and political posturing this national treasure reached the verge of collapse. Here's what's happening to reverse the tide.

Sandy Moret was born in Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1969. In 1972 he moved to Miami to pursue a business opportunity. Friends soon introduced him to the wonders of South Florida, the Keys and Everglades. For Sandy, sight fishing with fly rod was an incredibly rewarding challenge. Between 1979 and 1991 he was Grand Champion of the Keys' most prestigious fly-fishing tournaments eight times.
After selling a successful business in Miami in 1985 he moved to Islamorada full time and was a frequent TV guest on the Walker's Cay Chronicles, The Reel Guys, and Andy Mill's Sportsman's Adventures. Sandy has fished and explored throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Central America, the Seychelles, Christmas Island and Palau. He was among the first US anglers to fish for Atlantic salmon on Russia's Kola Peninsula before Perestroika. He opened the Florida Keys Fly Fishing School in 1989 and the school eventually led to opening the premiere saltwater fly shop, Florida Keys Outfitters.

Sandy was past president of the Everglades Protection Association and served on the East Everglades/Everglades National Park Advisory Board at the appointment of Governor Bob Graham. He is a founding member of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and past Chairman of The Don Hawley Foundation (Guides Trust Foundation). In 2018, Sandy was awarded the Fly Fisherman Magazine – Sage Conservationist of the Year and presented with The Orvis Company Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with the Now or Neverglades Movement. He has served on the Board of Directors for The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Bullsugar.org

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Alan SonfistSeptember 30, 2021
Secret Earth
Alan Sonfist, Artist
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Beginning with his first major commissioned work, "Time Landscapes", Alan Sonfist received critical acclaim for his innovative use of urban spaces to design havens of nature. His early work in the 1960s and 1970s helped pioneer the burgeoning movement of site-specific sculpture. Today, he continues to promote sustainable energy and strives to raise awareness for global climate change with his international projects. In this talk, Alan Sonfist will discuss the juxtaposition of nature and art, the constant change in our earth and artists' response to climate change.

This talk is co-sponsored with the Visual and Material Studies Department at the School for the Museum of Fine Arts.

Alan Sonfist grew up in the South Bronx of NYC near the Hemlock Forest, which later became a major inspiration for his art, and attended Hunter College, where he received a Masters in Art. In addition to his studies at Hunter College, he also studied with Gestalt psychologist, Hoyt Sherman at Ohio State University. His research there concerned the language of visual culture and its relationship with human psychology. Later, he went on to pursue a Research Fellowship in visual studies at MIT, Cambridge, MA.

His first major publication was on his lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. Sonfist edited "Art in the Land," an anthology on environmental art which was republished in Europe and Asia due to its reception by critics and artists alike. He has been included in multiple major international exhibition catalogs such as the Dokumenta, the Venice Biennale, and the Paris Biennale. Recently, Dr. Robert Rosenblum wrote an introduction to Sonfist's "Nature: The End of Art" which was distributed by Thames and Hudson, and published by Gil Ori.

Throughout his career, Sonfist has given several keynote speeches for public and private events and organizations such as Pennsylvania State University, the Southern Sculpture Conference, and the American Landscape Association in Miami. He has been a featured speaker in numerous symposiums at major institutions and conferences including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Midwest College Association, the U.N. Ecological Conference in San Paulo, Brazil, and the Berlin Ecology Conference. Sonfist has been a featured lecturer at numerous major institutions including the Whitney Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago.

Sonfist has received major awards and grants from private and governmental organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation for Art and Architecture, the Chase Manhattan Bank Foundation, and the U.S. Information Agency. Sonfist's works are included in many international public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Villa Celle, in Tuscany, Italy, the Today Art Museum in Beijing, and the Museum Ludwig in Koln, Germany.

Some of his most notable solo exhibitions include "The Autobiography of Alan Sonfist," at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, "Alan Sonfist Landscapes" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, "Trees" at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA, and "Trinity River Project" at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. A few of his commissions include, but are not limited to: "Lost Falcon of Westphalia," commissioned by Prince Richard of Germany, "Time Landscape of Indianapolis," commissioned by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and "Circles of Time," on the Gori Estate in Florence, Italy. Sonfist's current projects include "Ancient Olive Grove," in Florence and a xeroscape landscape for the city of Los Angeles. He has created a team of specialists to address all of the issues involved in creating a functional ecological landscape that will naturally adapt to their contemporary urban and suburban environments.

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Isa LeshkoOctober 7, 2021
Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries
Isa Leshko, Artist
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Artist Isa Leshko will discuss her monograph Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries, (University of Chicago Press, 2019). For nearly a decade, she visited farm animal sanctuaries across America to create intimate photographic portraits of geriatric animals. Roughly seventy billion land animals are killed for food globally each year. Most of these animals are slaughtered before they are six months old. By depicting the beauty and dignity of elderly farm animals, Leshko invites reflection upon what is lost when these animals are deprived of old age. Leshko will share her approach to photographing animals and examine how her ethics informed her creative choices for the project. She will also discuss the violent early history of animal photography and why she no longer uses the term ‘shooting' to describe picture-taking

This talk is co-sponsored by the School of the Museum of the Fine Arts.

Isa Leshko (b. 1971) is an artist, writer, and activist whose work examines themes relating to animal rights, aging, and mortality. She has received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the Culture & Animals Foundation, the Houston Center for Photography, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Silver Eye Center for Photography. She has exhibited her work widely in the United States, including shows at 516 Arts, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Houston Arts Alliance, the Houston Center for Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Photographic Resource Center, and the Silver Eye Center for Photography. Her prints are in numerous private and public collections including the Boston Public Library, Fidelity Investments, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Book jacket: 'Allowed to Grow Old' by Isa LeshkoIsa's images have been published in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, The Guardian, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, and Süddeutsche Zeitung. In May 2019, the University of Chicago Press published her first monograph, Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Rescued Farm Animals, which included essays by activist Gene Baur, author Sy Montgomery, and curator Anne Wilkes Tucker. The book, which is now in its second printing, was selected by Buzzfeed as one of the best photography books of 2019, and was a coffeetable book recommendation for The New York Times 2019 Holiday Gift Guide. Isa's work is represented by the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, N.M., and by ClampArt Gallery in New York City.

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Erin Genia and Elizabeth James-PerryOctober 14, 2021
Artists Conversation:
Public Art, Native Art Expressions and Ecological Thinking

Erin Genia, Sculpture faculty, SMFA
Elizabeth James Perry, Artist
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Multidisciplinary Native artists Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate/Odawa) and Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag), whose practices span public art, textiles, jewelry-making, and other mediums, will join in dialogue over the values that guide their work, from cross-cultural and Native art expressions to traditional ecological knowledge and the impact of climate change.

Special event: Friday, October 15, 2021 | 2:30 pm | Jackson Gym parking lot
Join Erin Genia for a guided tour of commissioned public art mural Wakpa, on view through the 2021–22 academic year.

These events are co-sponsored with the Tufts University Art Galleries and the Visual and Material Studies Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Erin Genia Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate/Odawa (she/ her), is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and community organizer specializing in Native American and Indigenous arts and culture. Genia has an MS in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT, an MPA in Tribal Governance from The Evergreen State College and studied at Institute of American Indian Arts. Her public art commissions include the Minnesota Historical Society, the City of Saint Paul, and the City of Seattle. Genia lives and works in the greater Boston region, was a 2020 Artist-In-Residence for the City of Boston, and works with the New England Foundation for the Arts' Public Art team on the project Centering Justice: Indigenous Artists' Perspectives on Public Art.

Elizabeth James-Perry is an enrolled member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe on the island of Noepe (Martha's Vineyard). Her fine artwork focuses on Northeastern Woodlands Algonquian artistic expressions: Wampum shell carving and diplomacy, sustainable weaving, and natural dyeing methods. As a member of a Nation that has long lived on and harvested the sea, James-Perry's perspective combines art and appreciation for Native storytelling and traditional environmental knowledge in relation to coastal North Atlantic life. She has spoken about her Nation's wampum traditions on the podcast Indigeneity, and has appeared in Native People's Magazine, the Native Fashion Now exhibition catalogue, and First American Art magazine. She was a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's 2014 Traditional Arts Fellowship. James-Perry resides in South Coast Massachusetts where she works as an artist, educator, and exhibition consultant. Elizabeth James-Perry is currently mentoring Erin Genia in hand-sculpted traditional wampum art, through the Massachusetts Cultural Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program and is also a marine biologist.

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Marissa McMahanOctober 21, 2021
12:00-1:00pm | Register now
The Evolution of Fisheries and Fisheries Management
Marissa McMahan, Director of Fisheries, Manomet

We are at a critical point in the evolution of fisheries and fisheries management. The combined effects of hundreds of years of exploitation and mismanagement and rapid climate induced change is threatening the ocean's resources and the people whose livelihoods depend on those resources. Mitigation and adaptation efforts are underway globally, and are of particular importance here in the Gulf of Maine where ocean temperatures are warming faster than 99% of the rest of the world's oceans. These efforts include ecosystem restoration and fisheries diversification which are essential for creating resilient fisheries and coastal communities.

Dr. Marissa McMahan is the Director of Fisheries at Manomet. She has spent over a decade researching fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. Her research focuses on restoring ecosystem productivity and strengthening and diversifying fisheries resources. Much of what drives her scientific curiosity is a deep connection to the fishing traditions and culture that New England is founded upon. Her family has been fishing in midcoast Maine since the 1700s. She grew up on her father's lobster boat and spent much of her young adult life as a commercial lobster fisher. As a fisheries scientist, she has relied heavily on her industry background and collaborative partnerships with commercial fishermen. Much of her work has focused on commercially important species such as lobsters, cod, black sea bass, scallops, soft-shell clams, quahogs, and kelp and oyster reef communities. Her research is often designed to inform fisheries stock assessment and management. She also works to develop new fisheries and markets for undervalued, underutilized, or invasive species, such as the European green crab. Prior to beginning at Manomet in 2017, McMahan completed a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at Northeastern University and a MS in Marine Biology at the University of Maine.

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Maya NadimpalliOctober 28, 2021
12:00-1:00pm | Register now
Relying on Antibiotics to Put Meat on the Table: What Are the Implications for Planetary Health?
Maya Nadimpalli, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University

Resistance to antibiotics is increasingly common among bacteria that cause serious infections. In this talk, Dr. Nadimpalli will describe how changes in global food animal production practices could be exacerbating this crisis. She will describe case studies from two regions of the world where food animal production is rapidly intensifying (Southeast Asia and Latin America) including potential implications for human and environmental health. Finally, she will describe current global efforts to combat antibiotic resistance, including ongoing initiatives here at Tufts University.

Dr. Maya Nadimpalli is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. She received her B.A. & Sc. in Environment from McGill University, Canada, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has more than 9 years' experience using genomic and epidemiological approaches to understand how exposures to food, animals, and the environment can impact human colonization and infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Prior to joining Tufts, she was a research fellow at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France.

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Dr. Jennifer Blesh and Dr. Anne Elise StrattonNovember 4, 2021
12:00-1:00pm | Register now
Against the Odds: Farmer-led Transitions to Agroecology in the Midwestern US and Southern Brazil
Jennifer Blesh, University of Michigan & Anne Elise Stratton, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Despite strong evidence for its benefits, diversified agriculture is diminishing rather than increasing globally. Structural constraints such as agricultural policies and globally integrated markets increasingly limit agroecological practices. Yet, some farmers find pathways to agroecology against the odds. We present an interdisciplinary framework – and apply it to two case studies – to understand the emergence of “bright spots” of diversification. The US case demonstrates how collective action through farmer-networks can intersect with limited structural changes to increase agricultural diversity. The Brazilian case shows how food system policies can mobilize resources for farmer-led diversification. When network-based and institutional pathways converge, farmers can catalyze food system transformation.

Dr. Jennifer Blesh is an Associate Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and part of the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative. She conducts ecological and interdisciplinary research to understand social-ecological outcomes of different agroecosystems and management practices. Her work focuses on increasing crop diversity, including identifying how cover crops and perennials affect soil health and nutrient cycling processes, especially legume nitrogen fixation. She also studies social processes that lead to food system transformation, drawing on the disciplines of political ecology and rural sociology. Practicing interdisciplinarity, thinking systemically, and integrating multiple perspectives are all fundamental components of her scholarship. Prior to her current position, she held appointments at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil and at Cornell University.

Dr. Anne Elise Stratton is an applied agricultural ecologist and Postdoctoral Researcher in the Environmental Geography Department at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She recently completed her PhD in the Blesh Lab in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on farm management practices that can support both environmental sustainability and nutrition security through diversified crop production. Dr. Stratton received her BS in Biology and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Food Systems from Tufts University in Boston, MA. She also has prior experience working for the nonprofit EcoLogic Development Fund to develop agroforestry and other sustainable development programs. Her work aims to inform transitions to sustainable agriculture at local, regional, and global scales.

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Carolyn ChingNovember 18, 2021
12:00-1:00pm | Register now
The Role of Natural Climate Solutions in Corporate Climate Commitments
Carolyn Ching, Senior Manager, Food & Forests, CERES

Companies are heeding the call to set targets for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement and limiting warming to 1.5° Celsius. There is a growing realization that nature is critical to the transition to a net-zero economy. We will not meet the goals of the Paris Agreement without protecting and restoring forests and other natural ecosystems and better managing agricultural land. How can corporate use of natural climate solutions (NCS) raise the ambition of corporate commitments rather than dilute them? How can NCS provide credible climate change mitigation and benefits to nature and people?

Carolyn Ching leads research and engagement on natural climate solutions. She works with investors, companies, and partner organizations to promote the appropriate use of natural climate solutions (or nature-based carbon credits) as part of corporate climate strategies. Her goal is to ensure that corporate use of NCS enhances robust corporate commitments, provides credible climate change mitigation, and generates benefits for nature and people.

Previously, Carolyn worked at Verra, where she played a central role in the development and growth of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). With a focus on natural climate solutions, she supported projects that reduce and remove emissions by protecting and restoring working and natural lands. Carolyn led the development of two methodologies for assessing the GHG impacts of agriculture and forestry policies for the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency. She also played a contributing role in a number of Verra's landscape-based programs.

In 2018 she cycled from London to Hong Kong, Puerto Montt to Ushuaia, Los Angeles to San Jose, and Santander to Paris to London. Visiting 28 countries along the way, she observed and reflected on the impact of climate change across the world. She now lives in Seattle and can be found cycling, climbing, hiking, kayaking, or skiing outside of working hours.

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Stephen Lester December 2, 2021
12:00-1:00pm | Register now
Prof. Jonathan Kenny Memorial Lecture
Frontline Struggles: Environmental Health and Justice Communities
Stephen Lester, Science Director, Center for Health, Environment & Justice

From Love Canal to Flint MI, frontline communities are organizing and winning. This presentation will discuss the strategies used by environmental health and justice communities to win their local struggles. It will also discuss how scientific information can be a game changer and a powerful organizing tool for local grassroots community organizations. The presentation will begin with the Love Canal story, the worst toxic chemical disaster in US history and include case studies of communities across the country fighting for a safe place to live, work play and pray.

This talk is co-sponsored with the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives,, the Department of Chemistry and the Tisch College of Civic Life.

Stephen Lester is the science director at the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. Mr. Lester holds a Master of Science degree in Toxicology from the Harvard University School of Public Health and a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology from American University. He has served on numerous scientific advisory and peer review committees including those of the Natural Resource Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the National institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

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Ben GubitsDecember 9, 2021
12:00-1:00pm | Register now
Turning Passion into Purpose: Protecting Our Lifestyle from Climate Change
Ben Gubits, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Protect Our Winters

Our climate is changing. From the trails, crags, rivers and ski mountains, we can see this with our own eyes. Wildfires are raging across the West, and winters are getting warmer and weirder. It is not too late to redirect our course. But to do that, we need strong political will and an engaged Outdoor State, which consists of more than 50 million people in America who participate in outdoor recreation each year. That's enough to swing an election. So, if you love hiking, skiing, climbing, trail running, mountain biking, fly fishing, or just being outside, your passion for the outdoors can help protect it.

Ben Gubits is the Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at Protect Our Winters and on the Advisory Board of Rank the Vote, a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding Ranked Choice Voting. Ben has also served as field staff in statewide political campaigns and then served as Co-founder and National Political Director for American Promise, a cross-partisan organization working to end the undue influence of big money and corporate power in our political system and overturn Citizens United vs. FEC. There, Ben became nationally recognized in his work for democracy reform, organizational development, campaign management, communications, public policy, and grassroots engagement.

Ben grew up in Jefferson County, Colorado, where he spent his childhood on skis and snowboards on the mountains above the valleys where he and his family launched dry flies to rising trout. College studies took him to the San Juans of Durango, where, when not registering classmates to vote or going on deep backcountry trips, snowboarding and fly fishing further inspired his love for our wild treasures and dedication to protecting them.

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