UofL's Sustainability Council organized this highly engaging symposium November 1-2, 2012!
2012 Interdisciplinary Sustainability Symposium:
Cross-Pollinating for Resilience
The University of Louisville hosted an extended conversation about building resilient, just, and sustainable societies in the face of multiple global crises including climate change, energy and resource constraints, ecological collapse, economic melt-down, and massive disparities in human health, wealth, and happiness.
This Symposium was brought to you by the University of Louisville Sustainability Council with vital sponsorship from the A&S Liberal Studies Project and the Department of Biology. The Symposium served as a bridge linking the Campus Community Partnerships for Sustainability conference and Bluegrass Bioneers. We encouraged CCPS and Bioneers participants to join us for the full Symposium.
The full symposium was open to the public and all events on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 were free! A light breakfast and afternoon snack was available on Friday, so attendees were asked to help us minimize waste by bringing a reusable mug, plate, and utensils.
Local Harvest Dinner & Chris Martenson Keynote Address
Thursday, Nov. 1st 6:30-9:00pm
Location: Jefferson Community & Technical College Health Science Building Auditorium (110 West Chestnut St.)
Cost: $25. Free with CCPS Registration.
"The Crash Course: Essential Insights For Prospering In Our Increasingly Uncertain Future"
Chris Martenson is the celebrated author of The Crash Course - The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment, and co-founder of Peak Prosperity - Insights for Prospering as our World Changes. With a PhD in neurotoxicology from Duke University, and an MBA from Cornell, Dr. Martenson is an economic researcher and futurist specializing in energy and resource depletion. As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar: "The Crash Course" which has also been published in book form (Wiley, March 2011). It's a popular and extremely well-regarded distillation of the interconnected forces in the Economy, Energy and the Environment (the "Three Es" as Chris calls them) that are shaping the future, one that will be defined by increasing challenges to growth as we have known it. In addition to the analysis and commentary he writes for his site Peak Prosperity, Chris' insights are in high demand by the media as well as academic, civic and private organizations around the world, including institutions such as the UN, the UK House of Commons and US State Congresses. He is now the father of three young children and remains an obsessive financial observer who has made profound changes in his lifestyle because of what he sees coming.
Symposium Plenary Talks
Friday, Nov. 2nd 9:00am - 6:00pm
Location: UofL Strickler Hall Auditorium Room 101
Cost: Free and open to the public. Please register here if you plan to attend.
- 9:00am Maria Koetter, Director of Sustainability, Louisville Metro
Maria Koetter has over twenty years of experience in the environmental industry working with both government and Fortune 500 private sector clients. As Director, she is responsible for strategic sustainability planning and policy development and implementation for the city. Koetter formerly founded and was President of Bgreen2 LLC, which provided sustainability consulting services. Maria has extensive experience with corporate social responsibility and organizational sustainability planning. Before forming Bgreen2, Koetter was employed at the top 10 national consulting firm Tetra Tech Inc. as a senior project manager. She has worked within a wide array of environmental programs, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation Recovery Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act. Koetter was a member of the Bingham Fellows Class of 2010 and Green Convene Chair in 2010 and 2011. Maria received her B.S. in Biology from Western Kentucky University. She is a LEED Accredited Professional with the US Green Building Council and is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.
- 9:45am Llewellyn Wells - Founder and President of Living City Block
"Living City Block: Urban Regeneration at the Right Scale"
Llewellyn is the President and Founder of Living City Block whose mission is to "create and implement a replicable, exportable, scalable and economically viable framework for the resource efficient regeneration of existing cities, one block at a time." LCB is currently operating in the Lower Downtown neighborhood of Denver, Colorado and in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal District. LCB is in early development phases with the community of Santa Marta, Colombia and four other US cities. Prior to founding Living City Block, Llew spent two and a half years as a VP at Rocky Mountain Institute, and twenty four years working in the entertainment industry on such highly acclaimed independent films as Bagdad Café, The Grifters, Dogfight and Under Suspicion. Llewellyn won five Emmy awards, a Golden Globe and two Producers Guild awards as one of the original producers of the television series The West Wing.
- 11:00am Lisa Markowitz - UofL Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology
"Fresh Food Initiatives in the Americas"
Since the 1980s, Lisa Markowitz she has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in farming and ranching communities in Andean South America. For the past decade, as both an activist and researcher, she has been involved with alternative agrifood projects in Kentucky, and more recently, in Vermont. Her research themes have included community food security, rural livelihoods and development in Latin America, and agrarian social movements. She is co-editor of U.S. Food Policy: Anthropology and Advocacy in the Public Interest (Routledge 2012), and guest editor of the latest issue of Sustain Magazine which is devoted to local food. Markowitz also chairs the Committee on Food Justice within UofL's College of Arts & Sciences.
- 1:15pm Irma N. Ramos, MD - UofL Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
"Challenges Posed by Climate Change Among Disadvantaged Populations"
Dr. Ramos' research program focuses on the development and implementation of novel strategies to disseminate knowledge on the complex interactions between genes, environment, culture and disease among disadvantaged and under-served populations. A major group targeted for educational intervention has been Hispanics, one of the fastest growing minority communities in Kentucky.
- 2:00pm Open World Delegation from Russia
"Russian Perspectives on Sustainability"
Nina Dzhemella, Southern Federal University
Anna Igorevna Litvak, Kemerovo State University
Natalya Alekseyevna Makoveyeva, Zabaykalye National Park - Environmental Outreach Unit (Lake Baikal)
Olga Yuryevna Roslyakova, Eco-Tourism Travel Agency, "A-B Turs"
Mariya Sergeyevna Sycheva, Southern Federal University, Rostov Region Environmental Initiatives Center
Since its founding by Congress in 1999, the Open World Program has enabled more than 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders to experience American democracy, civil society and community life; work with their American counterparts; stay in American homes; and gain new ideas and inspiration for implementing change back home. This delegation from Russia, visiting Louisville with the help of the World Affairs Council, is particularly focused on environmental and sustainability issues.
- 3:15pm Joe Gorman - National Council Coordinator, Student Environmental Action Coalition
"The Edge of Organizing: Experiments in Coalition-Building"
Joe began environmental organizing in 2008 and is currently National Council Coordinator for the Student Environmental Action Coalition and Program Coordinator for Build-it-Up! West Virginia. His other environmental and organizing work includes coalition-building work between folks fighting mountaintop removal, fracking and other extractive industries; Mountain Justice; and food logistics for large gatherings of activists. Joe's exciting future prospects include launching a garage cooperative and starting a homestead - both in Southern West Virginia. The Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) is a student and youth run national network whose mission it is to: "Build a network of diverse grassroots struggles that transcends current fabricated, oppressive constructs by sharing stories, skills, knowledge and radical analysis to dismantle destructive systems, and replace them with sustainable communities of resistance and collective liberation. We define the environment to include the physical, economic, political, and cultural conditions in which we live." SEAC facilitates the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition and works in coalition with the Power Shift movement.
- 4:00pm Margaret Carreiro - UofL Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Environmental Science
"Urban Park Woodlands and Managing for Climate Change"
Dr. Carreiro received her Ph.D. in Botany/Mycology in 1989 from the University of Rhode Island, and both her B.A. and M.A. in Biology from Boston University, Boston, MA.. She is an expert in nutrient cycling and ecosystem ecology of terrestrial habitats, particularly those in urban and suburban landscapes. Her research interests include: 1) understanding how cities and urban sprawl affect natural ecosystems, especially forests; using forests in cities as predictors of the effects of global environmental change on regional forest health and resilience; and 3) understanding how warmer temperatures, air pollutants like nitrogen and sulfur compounds and exotic species affect plants, microbes and soil chemistry which in turn affect ecosystem processes of nutrient cycling, primary production and plant community change. She currently is supervising students in her laboratory determining the plant community composition of oak forests along an urban-to-rural land use gradient from Iroquois Park to Bernheim Research Forest to discover whether land use affects the plant species that are there. Margaret is also the Chair of UofL's Sustainability Education & Research Committee.
- 5:00pm Guy McPherson - University of Arizona professor emeritus of natural resources & environment, and author of the blog Nature Bats Last
"The Good, the Bad, and the Astonishing"
Watch the Raw Video.
Listen to the Edited Audio.
The near-term end of the world's industrial economy indicates we will be living closer to our landbase and closer to other humans. Apparently, however, the termination of industrial civilization has come too late to prevent near-term extinction of our species. Facing our own mortality, and that of our species, provides us the opportunity to contemplate our time on Earth and our legacy in ways unavailable to other species and prior humans.
Guy McPherson was born and raised in small-town northern Idaho. He first experienced the hair-raising incident of a rifle pointed at the base of his neck when he was ten years old. The person behind the trigger was thirteen. This episode was so ordinary he didn't bother to tell his parents for two decades. It simply never came up.
The escape from the benighted village came in the form of education, in large part because McPherson's parents were lifelong educators. To pay for his undergraduate education, which led to a degree in forestry, McPherson spent summers working on a helitack crew. Staring down a large wildfire at the age of nineteen, he realized some forces of nature are beyond the human ability to manage.
More than ten years into a career in academia, McPherson began focusing his efforts on social criticism, with topics ranging from education and evolution to the twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: (1) global climate change and (2) energy decline and the attendant economic consequences. His public appearances stress these two predicaments because each of them informs and impacts every aspect of life on Earth. He stresses the importance of individual and societal action in light of ongoing global change and energy decline.
McPherson highlights the importance of living sustainably, a necessity driven by completion of the ongoing collapse of the industrial economy and underlain by the absence of cheap oil. His latest chapter includes abandoning his tenured position as full professor for ethical reasons. His story is described in his memoir, Walking Away from Empire. Read about that book and his many others online here.