Weston Roundtable Series

The Weston Roundtable is made possible by a generous donation from Mr. Roy F. Weston, a highly accomplished UW-Madison alumnus. Designed to promote a robust understanding of sustainability science, engineering, and policy, these interactive lectures are co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Office of Sustainability. These lectures build on the tremendous success in past years of the Weston Distinguished Lecture Series and the SAGE Seminar Series.


Contact Carol Barford for more information

Contact Mary Sternitzky to be added to the SAGE Friends mailing list.

Spring 2015 Schedule

Time: 4:15-5:15
1106 Mechanical Engineering, 1513 University Avenue
All lectures are free and open to the public

29 Jan: James J. Schauer
Professor, UW-Madison, College of Engineering
Director, Water Science and Engineering Laboratory

"Air Pollution and Sustainable Cities: Implications for Transportation, Energy, Buildings and Industry" Throughout the world, air pollution is a leading contributor to the burden of disease and has large societal and economic costs. Although the effects of air pollution on health are well established, there is considerable need to better map how specific controls of air pollution sources can lead to improvements in public health. The seminar will address the impacts of air pollution, and how pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the livability of cities should be managed to assure reductions in air pollution and realize large co-benefits to human health.

5 Feb: Kate Nelson
Chief Sustainability Officer, UW–Milwaukee

"Sustainability Initiatives at the UW-Milwaukee" The Office of Sustainability at UW-Milwaukee directs sustainability initiatives across campus operations, student life, and throughout academic affairs. By building cross campus and community collaborations, integrating sustainability into campus planning initiatives, assessing impacts over the long term, and working from its sense of place and purpose, the UW-Milwaukee manages its resources wisely and makes sustainability relevant to its teaching and research mission.

Our speaker plans and manages a variety of sustainability initiatives, including energy conservation, stormwater management, expansive recycling, sustainable purchasing, alternative transportation options, and urban gardening; and engages the campus students, faculty, and staff through multiple sustainability outreach and educational programs.

12 Feb: Bob Lasseter
Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering

"A New Electrical Energy Paradigm" The National Academy of Engineering regards the U.S. electrical power system as one of the top engineering achievements of the twentieth century. Abundant electric power helped spur America’s economic development and distributed benefits widely to both cities and farms. But today we need to rethink the delivery of electricity. We need higher efficiencies, fewer emissions, more renewables and greater reliability. Progress can be achieved by moving generation sources close to their loads to allow effective use of waste heat and increased reliability. The complexity of management and control of tens of thousands of small sources can be daunting. Possible approaches will be addressed.

19 Feb: Angela Dickens
Air Policy Analyst – Bureau of Air Management
Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

“Keeping Wisconsin’s Air Clean: Meeting EPA’s New Ozone Standard” Air pollution management in the U.S. is, in many ways, an environmental success story. Concentrations of air pollutants have declined significantly across the eastern U.S. due to a range of federal and state measures. However, research has revealed health impacts at lower and lower pollutant concentrations, and the federal government has issued more stringent standards. Some states may struggle to meet these standards, which could approach background levels.  This seminar will explore the challenges of developing effective, scientifically informed management strategies and the ways research can support ozone pollution management in Wisconsin.

26 Feb: Michael Berners-Lee
Director and Principal Consultant, Small World Consulting

> This talk is part of the Office of Sustainability’s Forum 2015 <
> Venue: Varsity Hall, Union South, 1308 West Dayton Street <
> Time: 4:30- 5:30 PM; coffee, tea and cookies at 4:15 PM <

"BURNING QUESTIONS – How much fuel needs to stay in the ground? Why is this so hard? And how can we make it possible?" Emissions from energy use have risen exponentially for at least 160 years. Talk and action on climate change have produced no detectable deviation in this trajectory. Where will the curve take us if it continues? Will human intervention really be necessary? If so, what blend of politics, economics, technology and psychology will make this possible? Why haven’t innovation, efficiency or renewables helped yet? Under what conditions might they? Given the global systemic nature of climate change, how can individuals and organizations help? Is there any point in microactions to cut consumption and waste? And if so, how should we go about it?

5 Mar: No Weston Roundtable.
Please plan to attend the UW Climate Symposium March 5-6, Sponsored by our "sister center", CCR in the Nelson Institute

The goal of this broad-reaching interdisciplinary symposium is to showcase the diversity of climate-related research at UW-Madison and better network the climate-change community. More details about the Symposium

12 Mar: David Shaffer
Professor of Educational Psychology, UW–Madison

"LAND SCIENCE: Using Virtual Worlds to Learn About the Natural World"
What should environmental education look like in the computer age? This talk will examine how digital environments can help children and adults think more deeply about the natural and built environment around them. We will look at virtual internships in which students have opportunities to think and work as engineers, urban planners, and other real-world problem solvers, thereby increasing their understanding of complex topics. Virtual Internships show the power of aligning technology-based learning, teaching, and assessment to create a new model of 21st-century environmental thinking.

19 Mar:
Joan Schmit
American Family Insurance Distinguished Chair in Risk Management and Insurance
Wisconsin School of Business, UW–Madison


Jim Swanke
Global Director of Enterprise Risk Management at Towers Watson, and Lecturer
Wisconsin School of Business, UW–Madison

"Insurance and Climate Change" Insurers are intimately involved in climate change. It affects their insurance business, their investment strategies, and their own efforts to implement sustainable business practices. For the Weston Roundtable audience, we believe a focus on how climate change is affecting insurance losses, and how insurers might be involved both in researching these effects and mitigating them, would be most beneficial and interesting. The UW-Madison is home to a multitude of researchers who have potential input to the insurance industry and who are adept both in predicting future losses and in mitigating them. We also will touch on insurer investment strategies and sustainable business practices.

Patrick Reed26 Mar: Patrick M. Reed
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Cornell University

"Discovering Tradeoffs, Vulnerabilities, and Stakeholder Dependencies in Complex Environmental Systems" Over the past decade our speaker’s research group has worked to implement his “many-objective visual analytics” (MOVA) framework for management of complex environmental systems. This framework helps decision-makers discover key system tradeoffs, vulnerabilities, and dependencies. The goal is to transform decision-makers’ abilities to pose and explore multiple competing problem conceptions. Professor Reed’s presentation will demonstrate key computational innovations in the MOVA framework, using multi-city urban water portfolio planning in the Southeast US, and will highlight recent assessment of the vulnerability of space-based rainfall observations to coordination failures and infrastructure collapse.

2 Apr: No Lecture - Spring Break

9 Apr: Jessika Trancik
Atlantic Richfield Career Development Assistant Professor of Energy Studies
Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Quantifying the Value of Storage Technologies for Solar and Wind Energy" Wind and solar energy industries have grown rapidly but still supply a small fraction of global electricity. Their continued growth will require that they compete against energy-on-demand alternatives. Energy storage can help meet this objective but cost improvement is needed. Evaluating diverse storage technologies on a common scale has proven challenging, however, due to widely varying performance along the two dimensions of energy and power costs. Here we devise a method to compare storage technologies, and determine optimal cost improvement trajectories. These results, and several others, demonstrate the benefits of predictive evaluation of energy technologies to accelerate their development in the laboratory.

16 Apr: Doug Holt
Founder and President,
Cultural Strategy Group
Note Venue Change: Plenary Room, 1310 Grainger Hall, 975 University Avenue
co-sponsored by the Wisconsin School of Business

"BRANDING CLIMATE; How Americans Can Build the Political Will to Solve Climate Change" Solving climate change requires (amongst other thi ngs) a significant price on carbon dioxide emissions. For twenty years, heavily resourced efforts by environmentalists to pass such legislation have failed. The dominant environmental organizations have failed to generate popular support for climate policy, so special interest politics prevailed. Campaign strategies were badly flawed. Environmentalists have been outmarketed by the “Carbon-Right” every time. Our speaker will explain why this is so, and will develop a new climate brand strategy designed to drive the political will to pass a very aggressive carbon tax, adapting theories and methods from the “dark arts” of marketing that progressives usually shun.

23 Apr: Richard G. Kidd IV
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Installations, Energy & Environment

"Leveraging Army Culture to Create Energy-Informed Operations:
A Closer Look into Army Sustainability"
The Army’s ability to accomplish its mission on a global scale depends on secure, uninterrupted access to power, energy, and water. Energy and sustainability initiatives enhance mission effectiveness through heightened resiliency and capability. These initiatives are part of a broader transformation to change the way the Army values energy. Such efforts help ensure that “energy informed” decision making takes place across the Army enterprise. Our speaker's presentation will explore the steps that the Army has taken to improve its energy and sustainability performance and enhance resiliency, both on its installations and in its operations.
The Army’s sustainability report can be found at http://www.asaie.army.mil/Public/ES/sustainability.html.

30 Apr: Martine van der Ploeg
Wageningen University and Research Centre. Topic: Sustainable Land Management
Soil Physics and Land Management
Wageningen University,
The Netherlands

"Sustainable Land Management: the importance of coupling physics and socio-economic research" Ecosystem services, such as healthy watersheds provide, are often outside the domain of commercial markets yet are essential to society. Our speaker’s research focuses on interactions between land use and management, soil physical processes, and ecosystem functioning, using an interdisciplinary approach to link different disciplines, engage stakeholders, consider multiple spatial and temporal scales, weigh socio-economic and political factors, and combine empirical approaches with model analysis. The aim is to advance understanding of impacts of land management on soil processes and related ecosystem functions essential to address the global challenges of water and food security, land degradation and restoration, and climate adaptation.

Fall 2014 Schedule

Sept 11: Brad Barham
Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics

"Economists And Sustainability Studies: Bringing Useful Data To The Table" Economics has an undeserved reputation as the dismal science. Recent innovations in empirical economics have much to offer sustainability scientists and advocates, including hope that we can build systems models that incorporate more accurate predictions of human behavior and more integrative analyses of the social, economic, and environmental issues at play. I draw on lessons learned from three recent field research projects: first, genetically modified corn and soybean adoption by Wisconsin farmers; next, farmer incomes from certified coffee production schemes in Mexico and Peru; and finally, ex-ante bioenergy crop adoption by rural landowners in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Sept 18: Molly Jahn
Discovery Fellow
Professor, Laboratory of Genetics, Agronomy Department

"Knowledge Systems for Sustainability: A Report from the Front Lines" This century will bring increasing demand for food, resulting in volatility, risk, and instability in social, ecological and economic systems.  All have enormous consequences across human and environmental dimensions. The speaker will describe a collaborative community of practice that works to improve knowledge systems to better describe and predict dynamics, risk, resilience and uncertainty related to food, water, energy and climate.  Primary goals of the community are to value current efforts and spark new strategies to bend our socio-ecological trajectories toward states we can objectively defend as "sustainable" for humans and all other living things.

Sep 25: Sharon C. Long
Professor, Applied Environmental Microbiology
Department of Soil Science

"What's in Your Water? Fecal Source Tracking for Drinking Water" Have you ever wondered how microbes get into drinking water? Or which microbes you should test for if your water sample is "total coliform unsafe"? Do you lie awake at night pondering advancements in our understanding of pathogens in groundwater, and what the future holds? In addition to answering these questions, this lecture will reveal new developments in Wisconsin's fecal source tracking toolbox. Explore what is known about the environmental fate and transport of indicator organisms and pathogens from bovine and human waste in Wisconsin. Start a dialogue about research to improve understanding and to develop monitoring approaches for emerging waterborne pathogens.

Oct 2: No Lecture -

Oct 9: Kimberly Carlson
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Institute on the Environment
University of Minnesota

"Certified Sustainable: Examining the Environmental Efficacy of Roundtable Sustainability Certifications in the Tropics" Tropical commodity crop production in an increasingly globalized food system has diverse environmental impacts, including deforestation and carbon emissions.Third-party sustainability certification seeks to reduce negative consequences by requiring that producers meet a set of standards. These range from avoidance of high conservation-value landscapes to compliance with government regulations. While certification rates are increasing, the environmental benefits of certification standard adoption remain largely untested. We evaluate how multi-stakeholder roundtable certification of palm oil and soybean is improving environmental outcomes.

Oct 16: Paddy Woodworth
School of Languages and Literatures
University College Dublin

"‘Novel Ecosystems’ – New Normal Or Red Herring?" The theory that 'novel ecosystems' are irreversibly degraded, and will soon be dominant across the earth, has gained credibility in recent years. Our speaker, who has researched restoration projects worldwide for his new book, Our Once and Future Planet (U of Chicago Press 2013) argues that this theory is deeply flawed and potentially disastrous for conservation. The biggest barrier to restoration is usually not an ecological one, but is very often social, political and/or economic. Where sufficient political will, resources and scientific expertise are committed to projects, restoration is now achieving unprecedented successes. Ecological restoration remains not only desirable, but more feasible than ever.

Paddy Woodworth will be introduced by William Jordan III, Director, New Academy for Nature and Culture

Oct 23: Qunying Huang
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography

"Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Studies" Computing intensity of large scale simulations is among the most important issues in environmental science; new computing strategies are required. For example, to calibrate and validate climate change models, millions of model runs are needed to find the best model configuration. Each run may take several months. It is a great challenge to supply such massive computing power. Timely and precise short-term and regional event forecasting - dust storms and hurricanes, for example - also create computational challenges. This Weston Roundtable will present several cyberinfrastucture-enabled solutions to address the computing challenges for environmental studies.

Oct 30: Michael Mucha
Chief Engineer and Director
Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

"Sustainable Infrastructure: Is there such a thing?" In today’s environment, the operating conditions and constraints under which infrastructure must perform are increasingly challenging. Demands for natural resources continue to climb and communities are being forced to adapt to new climate conditions. Public infrastructure plays a crucial role. Imagine using both qualitative and quantitative frameworks to  transform infrastructure from being “less bad” to "dramatically improved" across the full dimensions of sustainability.  Join our speaker as he introduces the Sustainable Action Map and ENVISION, which together challenge and inspire project leaders to ask two fundamental questions:  Are we doing the right project? And, are we doing the project right?

Nov 6: Elisa Graffy
Professor of Practice • Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes
Co-Director, Energy Policy, Law and Governance • ASU LightWorks
Senior Sustainability Scientist • Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University

"Death spirals, solar rooftops, legal innovations and the emerging politics of energy system sustainability" Installation of rooftop solar systems has surged more than 1000% in just a few years, and interest in solar adoption remains high. In a sector that is critical to social, economic, environmental and security priorities, what is the significance of this dramatic trend for the future of the power sector, for society, and for plausible pathways to more "sustainable" energy systems? Dr. Graffy will position the current debate about electric utilities and how they and other actors are responding to challenges and opportunities posed by solar adoption within this larger context, emphasizing the emergence of responsive and innovative strategies in energy system governance.

Nov 13: Jim Tinjum
Associate Professor
Engineering Professional Development

"EPIC Geothermal Exchange Field — Life Cycle Performance and Energy Savings" Low-temperature geothermal exchange systems can dramatically reduce energy use for space heating and cooling, and are particularly relevant in Wisconsin, which has near-zero extractable fossil energy resources. Epic Systems in Verona, WI is the largest cooling-dominated commercial geothermal exchange site in North America, with 6,000+ vertical geothermal exchange wells. This talk will introduce geothermal exchange as a viable technology with a full discussion of the life-cycle benefits (greenhouse gas emissions and economic return) for residential- and district-scale deployments. Geothermal exchange systems are particularly relevant in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.

Nov 20: Earth Science Women's Network Panel
• Tracey Holloway (moderator), UW–Madison, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
• Rebecca Barnes, Colorado College Environmental Program
• Carmen Rodriguez, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
• Emily Fischer, Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science
• Manda Adams, National Science Foundation, Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division
• Erika Marin-Spiotta, UW–Madison Department of Geography
• Meredith Hastings, Brown University, Department of Geological Sciences

"BUILDING COMMUNITIES TO BUILD CAREERS – Lessons from the Earth Science Women's Network" The Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN) is an international peer-networking organization with over 2000 members in more than 50 countries (www.eswnonline.org), with an emphasis on early-career scientists. ESWN’s mission is "building community, building careers,” and it has served scientists in atmospheric science, geology, biogeosciences, oceanography, ecology and other Earth Sciences for over a decade.This week's panel is the first that the ESWN Board has presented. The group will address challenges and opportunities facing women in science, and the role of networks in supporting discovery and learning. Join us to discuss solutions and strategies to help support scientific careers, and opportunities for institutions to support the advancement of women in science and academia.

Nov 27: No Lecture – Happy Thanksgiving!

Dec 4: Dane Buy Local Panel
• Moderator
– Prof. Lydia Zepeda (Dept Consumer Science)
SERRV - Sarah Wilcox
Ian's Pizza - Staci Fritz
Cascade Asset Management - Paul Keough
Summit Credit Union - Jeremiah DeGollon
Slow Food UW - Clara Dockter

“THINK LOCAL FIRST: A Discussion of Economic, Environmental and Social Sustainability Dane Buy Local presents a panel discussion of Dane Buy Local members: SERRV, Slow Food UW, Cascade Asset Management, Ian's Pizza, and Summit Credit Union. Learn how these independent businesses contribute to a vital local economy through purchasing policies, sustainability goals, and technology. Find out how the “think local first” message makes a difference in our community.

Dec 11: Mark Powell
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, US Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison
Professor, Department of Soil Science, UW-Madison

"Management of Feed, Cows and Manure in Global Dairy Production Systems" Nitrogen inputs are essential to sustain productive agriculture. The great increases in global demand for food, especially for animal products, necessitate an urgent search for practices that enhance nitrogen use efficiency and reduce environmental nitrogen loss. Our speaker will present an overview of dairy herd structures and linkages between the nitrogen contained in feed, milk and manure in 144 countries. He will provide more detailed information on impacts of feed and herd management on nitrogen use efficiency in contrasting dairy production systems of West Africa, Australia, India and the US.


Spring 2014 Schedule

Jan 30: Barron Henderson
Professor of Environmental Engineeering Sciences
University of Florida
"Testing Air Qualtiy Models for Application, Source Attribution, and to Advance Fundamental Science" Air pollutants affect human health, ecosystems and the services they provide. Knowledge of air pollution impacts comes from theory, lab, field, and computational model studies. Henderson uses computational models to identify the drivers of both air quality and climate. He will explain how these models estimate air quality, project future conditions, examine policy, and test our understanding of the underlying science. Henderson will discuss three case studies. The first uses satellite data to test the model for policy applications. The second applies advanced statistical theory in experiments appropriate for climate, but equally relevant to human exposure. The third examines air quality using two models to evaluate attribution of air pollution to natural, national, and international sources. WEBCAST

Feb 6: Eric Lambin
Ishiyama Provostial Professor
School of Earth Sciences
Woods Institute for the Environment
Stanford University
University of Louvain, Belgium
"Globalization is Increasingly Driving Land Use Changes" Enhanced food production and forest ecosystem preservation are twin sustainability goals. Land use change is increasingly associated with commodities for global markets, in which developing countries face economic globalization, cropland availability shrinks, and deforestation results. Well-designed policies can reconcile forest preservation with food production, but ecological impacts of some policies have been mixed due to outsourcing of deforestation abroad, and dominance of tree plantations over natural forest regeneration. However, globalization can increase land use efficiency rather than lead to uncontrolled expansion. In addition, consumers of agricultural and wood commodities, corporations and civil society show growing concern for sustainability and begin to express preference for goods certified as meeting sustainability criteria.

Feb 13: Alon Tal, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Visiting professor, Stanford Center for Conservation Biology
Professor, Ben Gurion University
Israel Union for Environmental Defense, founding director
Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, founder
"Enduring Technological Optimism: Israeli Water Resources at the Crossroads" During the past decades, Israel's water resources have undergone a revolution. Desalination and waste water recycling have reduced dependence on Kinerret Lake and the national water carrier, and changed the way the public and Israel's farmers view this scarce resource. Israel's water management strategy is considered a model to many dryland nations around the world. But is it sustainable?

Feb 20: No Lecture

Feb 27: Tom Rutherford
Professor, Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics
"Optimization and Climate Policy" Climate change is often cited as the most significant environmental challenge of this century. Greenhouse gas emissions result from virtually every kind of commercial activity, thus policies aimed at reducing emissions will have significant and broad economic impacts. Public policy regarding climate change has been assisted by integrated assessment models. These have been used to find optimal climate policy responses, and consider both environmental and economic aspects. This talk will survey important insights that have been provided by integrated assessment and optimization as tools for climate policy analysis, and will outline some developments in optimization to inform the climate policy debate.

Mar 6: Nancy Wong
Professsor of Consumer Science
Faculty Director, Center for Retailing Excellence
School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison
"Can We “Nudge” People to Be More Sustainable? Insights from UW-Madison Students" Field experiments in consumer research show that scaling behaviorally informed research into large energy conservation programs can be more cost effective than traditional policy changes. Market evidence suggests that many households and consumers in the US have yet to adopt many energy-saving measures despite access to and promotion of these technologies. Consequently, we are conducting multiple studies with student participants in order to identify approaches that could be field tested and scalable at the local level, before adapting them to other domains.

Mar 13: Michael Washburn
Principal, Washburn Consulting
"Critical Thinking in Sustainability: What does it mean to have a professional opinion?"
Sustainability topics tend to become polarized in public discussion, and often lack the nuances of critical professional insight. As natural resource or conservation professionals, leaders must be able to understand these nuances, know the facts, ask different questions, and offer practical solutions to complex problems. Washburn will discuss his experiences related to bottled water, logging, boycotts, and climate change to illustrate how aspiring environmentalists can elevate the debate and ultimately help solve some of the world's most daunting sustainability challenges.

Mar 20: SPRING BREAK - no lecture

Mar 27: Leo Donner
Dept. of Geosciences and Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
Princeton University
"Atmospheric General Circulation Models: Complexity, Synthesis, and Computation"
To capture the general features of atmospheric circulation in mathematical models is a grand scientific challenge that underpins both weather prediction and understanding of climate change. The atmosphere and its interactions are extremely complex; important processes occur on sub-micron to global scales. Heightened concern regarding climate change has significantly influenced  physical, chemical, and biological aspects of climate modeling in recent decades.  Circulation model development has been a triumph of synthesis and computation, but enormous issues still require resolution if these models are to provide accurate weather and climate projections that meet societal needs and guide public policy.

Apr 3: Trisha Andrew
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
"Organic Chromophores for Optoelectronic Devices"
Molecular and polymeric organic materials are promising replacements for the inorganic semiconductors in photovoltaic cells due to their large absorption coefficients and easy processing and deposition procedures. Non-traditional nanostructured devices on inexpensive and arbitrary substrates can be fabricated with high throughput using organic materials, leading to vanishingly low module costs. Recent highlights in incorporating organic chromophores into photovoltaic devices of varying architectures will be discussed.

Apr 10: Varun Rai
Assistant Professor
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
The University of Texas at Austin
"Predicting Patterns of Energy Technology Adoption: An Agent-based Approach"
Wider adoption of new consumer-oriented energy technologies such as rooftop solar, electric vehicles, and home-energy management systems could fundamentally alter how our electricity system functions. Understanding the drivers of the rate and structure of adoption of these technologies is critical for the design of incentive policies and utility programs as well as for infrastructure planning. I will present findings from an agent-based simulation framework that integrates GIS, social networks, and behavioral theories to study the complex, emergent process of energy technology adoption. 

Apr 17: Jerry Knox
Reader, Agricultural Water Management
School of Applied Sciences
Cranfield University, United Kingdom
"Water for food: what are the challenges facing global food security and how can science help?"
Water security is essential for global food requirements. Nearly half the world's population live in areas of water scarcity, and a growing proportion are “food insecure.” Yet food production must double by 2050 to meet the needs of the world's burgeoning population. Many hope that irrigation will increase crop productivity to help meet future demand, but agriculture already uses significant volumes of freshwater; its over-exploitation in many areas has damaged the environment. Climate change threatens to exacerbate this situation. Can science help avert this 'perfect storm'? Our speaker will discuss challenges and risks of 'water for food' and consider how science and innovation may help improve water allocation and management for food security.

Apr 24: Ken Genskow
Associate Professor and Extension Specialist
Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Environmental Resources Center
"Governance and sustainability:  insights from watershed management"
Governance issues deal with how society organizes itself to make and implement decisions. The complexity of science, engineering, and institutional structures around sustainability for natural resources and environmental management presents many challenging governance questions. For example, how do we integrate, synthesize, and otherwise make sense of information across multiple disciplines and perspectives? Ultimately, how do we engage an appropriate range of interests and information resources to develop workable approaches that are effective at local, regional, and global scales? This talk will use ongoing challenges in watershed management as a lens for introducing and exploring governance questions for sustainability.

May 1: Elisabeth A. Gilmore
Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy
University of Maryland, College Park
"Developing and Applying Social Cost Estimates for Air Qualtiy"
Choosing among products, processes or policies requires credible information about both private and social costs. While private costs are available from the market, estimating social costs from environmental damages is more complicated. One approach to calculate damages from air quality involves tracing discharges to their effects, and monetizing them using estimates of “willingness to pay.” Our speaker will discuss sources of variability in the social costs for quality, focusing on two questions: first, are differences in estimates of social cost important for decision-making? and if so, what sort of guidance is appropriate for users who want literature values?

Fall 2013 Speakers

WEBCASTS for 2013

Sept 12: Simon Toze
Principal Research Scientist, Land and Water
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
"Water Sustainability in Australia" Australia recently experienced over a decade of drought followed by very wet periods. Both climate extremes placed challenges on water sustainability and led to significant research on ways to improve water management for urban, rural and environmental needs. Research has included mechanisms to drought-proof urban environments, improve environmental flows and ensure sufficient water for industry and farming. Areas of study include better modelling of climate change and its impact on water supply and quality, ways to increase uptake of recycled and alternative water sources, and social responses to changes in urban water management. This presentation will focus on research to improve the water sustainability of Australian cities and towns.

Steve LoheideSept 19: Steve Loheide
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
"Ecohydrology for Sustainability" The science of ecohydrology seeks to elucidate the interactions between hydrologic and ecologic processes. Two of the salient benefits of this endeavor may well be development of a scientific basis for improved environmental decision making and more sustainable stewardship of resources. In particular, an understanding of the provision of ecosystem services and how they may change with human interventions remains a key challenge. Three examples will be provided to demonstrate how ecohydrologic science can inform decision-making for sustainability in natural, urban, and agricultural settings.

Michael ZimmermanSept 26: Michael Zimmerman
Director, Center for Humanities and the Arts
Professor of Philosophy
University of Colorado at Boulder
"Climate Change: Integrating Interior Perspectives" The debate about anthropogenic climate change has become the focal point of an on-going clash between the modern and the Green worldviews. Professor Zimmerman will examine this debate in terms of a model of cultural development, according to which the Green worldview must not only transcend but also include the noble aspects of the modern worldview. Otherwise, little progress can be made toward finding the common ground needed to foster alternatives to a carbon-based economy.

Julian Champion Oct 3: Julian Champion
Executive Director,
Fresh Moves mobile produce market
“THE SUCCESS OF FAILURE - Learning What Works from What Didn't" Champion will discuss the problems of “food deserts” and the mobile market innovation that he led in an effort to solve them. He offers an honest accounting of his organization's missteps, mishaps, and misdirection and what could have been done, in hindsight, to salvage their work. The lecture will also focus on a paradigm shift that has taken place in Champion over his twenty years of work in some of the toughest urban communities in the country. Champion argues that this shift, which he is now bold enough to promulgate publicly, is the missing ingredient that will allow socially conscious individuals to successfully address the myriad of social and economic issues that plague urban communities across the United States.

Richard Keller Oct 10: Richard Keller
Professor, UW Dept. of Medical History and Bioethics
Director, International Studies Major/Global Studies Program/Development Studies Program
IRIS, Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux sociaux
Place, Urban Form, and Vulnerability in the 2003 Heat Wave Disaster"
Place matters. While climatologists and geophysicists have framed climate change as global, its effects depend overwhelmingly on highly specific local conditions. Nowhere is this clearer than in the murderous heat wave that struck Western and Central Europe in 2003. Paris, with three percent of France's population, was most affected; nearly eight percent of the country's heat wave mortality was there. More important, specific neighborhoods, even particular buildings proved far more vulnerable than others. This lecture draws upon epidemiological records and intensive fieldwork in Paris to detail patterns of vulnerability and resilience linked to place during the heat wave.

Oct 17: Tom Theis
Director, Institute for Environmental Science and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago
"SUSTAINABILITY AND ARTIFICIAL LIGHT Energy Efficiency and the Rebound Effect" Lighting in the U. S. constitutes 18.8% of total electricity consumption. Improved efficiency in residential lighting is projected to significantly decrease energy use, as the transition from incandescent to compact fluorescent and solid state lighting proceeds. However, technological advances in energy efficiency often result in lower prices and increased consumer demand, a phenomenon known as “rebound.” Historically, this has been the norm for artificial lighting. Will it continue? Agent-based modeling (ABM) permits all three “pillars” of the sustainability paradigm (economic, social, and technological) to be integrated. ABM results suggest that rebound effects approaching 100% are possible as LEDs are phased into use.

Don SparksOct 24: Donald Sparks
S. Hallock du Pont Endowed Chair, Soil and Environmental Chemistry
Director, Delaware Environmental Institute
University of Delaware
"GRAND CHALLENGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY The Water, Climate, Soil, and Food Nexus" Soil degradation, water quality and quantity, climate change, and food security are the foremost challenges of our time. Soil provides the substrate where all of these challenges commingle. Thus the importance of basic soil biogeochemical research has never been more important. Combining advanced molecular-scale analysis with studies at the macroscopic and landscape scale, and over an array of temporal scales, is necessary to address important questions about environmental quality. This talk will include case studies on soil, air and water contamination and carbon cycling/sequestration to show how the application of a multi-scale, interdisciplinary approach can provide insights into environmental degradation and restoration.

Carl KorzOct 31: Carl Korz
Food Service Director
Wisconsin Union, UW-Madison
"FOOD, SUSTAINABILITY AND UNION SOUTH" Have you ever wondered about the food and drink in Union South? Is it local, organic, sustainable? If so, how so... and if not, why not? Have you ever wondered about how the eating preferences of diners at Union South have changed over the years? Or about how the Union South building itself changed when it was newly constructed in 2011? Look for answers and new questions in this conversation starter as part of the Weston Roundtable series.

Marcos CostaNov 7: Marcos Heil Costa
Associate Professor, Dept. of Agricultural Engineering
Univ. Federal de Viçosa (Brazil)
"NEW REASONS TO PRESERVE THE AMAZON RAINFOREST" Historically, Amazon rainforest conservation was intended to preserve biodiversity and the homes of indigenous peoples, and to maintain carbon stocks. We now have reason to believe that climate regulation by rainforests is also important for conservation. Recent calculations with coupled climate-agrometeorological models and coupled climate-hydropower models have demonstrated that widespread removal of the Amazon rainforest may affect regional climate and have serious economic consequences. These may affect not only agriculture and hydropower, but also other economic activities.

George AikenNov 14: George Aiken
Senior Researcher
U.S. Geological Survey in Boulder, CO
"DISSOLVED ORGANIC CARBON - WHY IT MATTERS" Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important driver of geochemical, environmental and ecological processes, including photochemistry, microbial activity, mineral dissolution/precipitation, and the transport and reactivity of hydrophobic compounds and metals. DOM is thus important for ecosystem function, including drinking water provision. Changes in DOM concentration and chemistry - due to climate change, ecosystem restoration, and land use management - have potentially important ecological and chemical consequences. DOM concentration, composition, flux, and yield observations can aid understanding of watershed processes and river and stream biogeochemistry. Dr. Aiken will present examples of the utility of DOM metrics from studies of eighteen large North American rivers.

Rebecca LarsonNov 21: Rebecca Larson
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"AGRICULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ROLE OF ANÆROBIC DIGESTION" As interest in sustainable agricultural practices grows, producers have to make decisions about technology and management, even though they may have little information about their performance and economic viability. Often these decisions can lead to innovative solutions to waste management and environmental problems. They may, however, also result in ineffective and costly mistakes. In Wisconsin, anaerobic digesters are being utilized to facilitate agricultural sustainability. This lecture will discuss the technology, policy and economic environment that drives these installations and their impact on agricultural sustainability.

Nov 28: No Lecture

Dec 5: Matthew Ginder-Vogel
Assistant Professor, Environmental Chemistry and Technology
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Traditional carbon capture and storage (CCS) treats carbon dioxide as a waste product to be disposed of in the most expedient, permanent, and inexpensive manner possible. An alternative is to treat CO2 as a valuable raw input to products. One product category is calcium carbonate minerals, which are already widely used in the paper, plastic, and building material industries. Current commercial methods for producing these minerals rely upon carbonation of lime (CaO) and produce calcite, the most thermodynamically stable (least reactive) CaCO3 polymorph. In addition, industrial production of lime releases large amounts of CO2 during the calcination process. Commercial production of metastable (i.e., more reactive) CaCO3 polymorphs such as amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC), vaterite, and/or aragonite, could open new, larger markets for calcium carbonate minerals, particularly if these minerals embody more CO2 than is emitted in their production. Here, I describe a pilot-scale process to produce reactive carbonate minerals from CO2 emitted from a gas fired powerplant in northern California.

Spring 2013 Speakers

Jan 31: UW Sustainability Panel:
Nancy Mathews, Morgridge Center for Public Service
Craig H. Benson, Office of Sustainability
Faramarz Vakili, WE Conserve

"What's red and white and green all over? WE Conserve Grows with the Office of Sustainability and the Morgridge Center for Public Service" UW-Madison strives to model environmentally sustainable practices and instill a spirit of environmental stewardship in community consciousness. Since 2006, WE Conserve has served as the flagship program to strengthen sustainable practices on campus. In 2011, WE Conserve joined forces with the Office of Sustainability (OS), to integrate sustainability into the curriculum in a more strategic fashion. Starting in the spring of 2013, WE Conserve and OS are teaming up with the Morgridge Center for Public Service to promote civic environmental responsibility through integration of operations and curricular and co-curricular sustainability initiatives. Join us on January 31st to learn about this exciting new collaboration to transform the UW-Madison Campus in partnership with the community.

Feb 7: Professor Jerry Schnoor
Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering, University of Iowa
Co-Director, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and
Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Science and Technology (American Chemical Society)
Location: Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, WID, Hector DeLuca Forum, 330 North Orchard St.

"Water Sustainability in a Changing World" Water is a vital resource increasingly stressed by demands from agriculture, industry, recreation, and ecosystem needs. Changes in supply and demand are driven by population growth, climate and land use change, and energy choices. We discuss the drivers affecting water sustainability and potential solutions. Management of the water cycle has been fragmented – groundwater and surface water are treated separately, and standards for effluent discharge are often disconnected from quality required downstream. Integrated management of water resources is frequently stated as a goal, but knowledge gaps make this difficult. We also discuss research at Clear Creek watershed (270 km2), a tributary of the Iowa River, to create an environmental observing facility and intelligent digital watershed (IDW) for better management.

Feb 14: Sustainability Science Poster Session

Feb 21: NO Roundtable

Feb 26
(special Tuesday date): Tim Miller
Spoken Science

"Mastering Public Presentations" Science is not just about generating ideas; it's also about sharing ideas with the world. The ability to recruit students, attract colleagues, and secure funding is tied to successful communication of your research, both to peers and to the general public.
Communications expert Tim Miller has spent his career helping scientists and students bring their work out of the laboratory to a wider audience. In this session, Miller will address some of the challenges and opportunities of designing and delivering live presentations. Topics include effective use of body, voice and visual aids, and the importance of telling a story. Miller will help attendees choose the best tools for communication and will share tips that can boost presentations to the next level.

Feb 28: Mick Follows
Senior Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, Hector DeLuca Forum, 330 North Orchard St.

"Modeling Marine Microbes: Cell Physiology to Global Biogeography" Communities of marine micro-organisms are diverse and ecologically complex; they modulate global cycles of carbon and sulfur, and form a critical part of the food web that regulates marine resources. How are marine microbial communities organized in space and time? What is their role in biogeochemical cycles? How do they respond to environmental changes? Mathematical models can synthesize empirical understanding and explore the interactions of complex systems. We will illustrate how "self-organizing," trait-based ecological models can simulate and help interpret the functional biogeography of marine microbes. Modern views of cell biology influence these models. Examples will focus on nitrogen fixing phytoplankton, competition for nitrogen and iron at the large scale, and resource allocation at the cellular scale.


Mar 14: David Allen
Gertz Regents Professsor in Chemical Engineering and Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, The University of Texas at Austin
Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm, Reception to follow
Location: Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, Hector DeLuca Forum, 330 North Orchard St.

"Atmospheric Impacts of Expanded Natural Gas Use" Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale formations is projected by the Energy Information Administration to become the dominant source of domestic natural gas over the next several decades. However, the environmental impacts associated with fracking for shale gas have made it controversial, and some communities seek to ban it. This presentation will focus on air quality impacts associated with fracking. Data and modeling on emissions and impacts of photochemically active air pollutants, toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions will be described. In addition, natural gas production in Texas and the Texas grid will be used as a case study for examining the indirect consequences of expanded natural gas availability.

Mar 21: John Francis
Planetwalker, Nelson Institute Board of Visitors

Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm. Coffee, tea and cookies at 4pm
Location: 1106 Mechanical Engineering

“Planetlines: Walking as if Engineering Mattered”
Has environmental education kept pace with environmental degradation? Does “the environmental crisis” surpass our ability to cope? Pollution, climate change, species loss, and health problems such as asthma, obesity and nature deficit disorder require multi-faceted solutions with scientific, cultural, socio-economic, and personal elements. By walking across the U.S. and South America, Francis sought to replace despair with empowerment. Planetlines is Francis's new curriculum that uses walking to engage students, teachers and communities to better understand where we live through story and science. GIS and GPS technologies are used to collect and share quantitative and qualitative data. Francis will discuss Planetlines and also ask what insights might be gained by walking through life as if engineering mattered.

Mar 28:  No Roundtable - SPRING BREAK

Mutlu OzdoganApr 4: Mutlu Ozdogan
Assistant Professor of Forest Ecology and Environmental Studies
Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) and Dept of Forest Ecology and Management, UW-Madison

Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm. Coffee, tea and cookies at 4pm
Location: 1106 Mechanical Engineering

"Monitoring Crops From Space: Challenges and Opportunities" Timely and accurate information on crop growth status and yield at local to regional scales is of paramount importance for societal, economic, agricultural, and policy considerations.Since the 1970s, numerous attempts at relating remotely sensed measurements to crop biophysical variables have been proposed. While these attempts proved to be simple and effective, they were successful only under the conditions at the time, and were unsuitable for repeated and large-scale analysis. Professor Ozdogan will illuminate the existing challenges for space-based monitoring of crops and present state-of-the-art methods to overcome these challenges. The goal is to improve within- and end-season crop management. Proposed tools will include data assimilation, machine learning algorithms, and new sensors, designed specifically to monitor crops.

Corbett GraingerApr 11: Corbett Grainger
AgricAsst. Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Environmental Studies
Nelson Institute, UW-Madison

Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm. Coffee, tea and cookies at 4pm
Location: 1106 Mechanical Engineering

"Distributional Impacts of Environmental Regulations"
Any environmental regulation affects the distribution of economic benefits and costs. Disentangling who wins or loses is complicated because regulations affect environmental quality, human health, product prices, input prices and land values. Economists have studied the efficiency characteristics of alternative regulatory approaches, and recent research has addressed how regulations affect different groups. In this talk, Professor Grainger will highlight some of these impacts, including how regulations affect renters versus landowners; how market-based regulations affect different individuals and firms; how tolls and congestion pricing may affect urban versus suburban communities; and where our current understanding of distributional impacts is not well understood.

Abby SwannApr 18: Abigail L.S. Swann
Assistant Professor, Dept.of Atmospheric Sciences and Dept. of Biology
University of Washington
Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm. Coffee, tea and cookies at 4pm
Location: Pyle Center, no recording

"Ecoclimate Teleconnections: Remote Effects of the Interactions between Ecosystems and Climate"
Large-scale afforestation in the northern mid-latitudes warms the Northern Hemisphere and alters global circulation patterns in climate model experiments. Expansion of dark forests increases absorption of solar energy and increases surface temperature. Atmospheric circulation re-distributes the energy absorbed in the northern hemisphere resulting in the northward displacement of tropical rain-bands. Precipitation decreases over parts of the Amazon basin, affecting productivity, and increases over the Sahel and Sahara regions in Africa. We find that the response of climate to afforestation in mid-latitudes is determined by the amount of soil moisture available to plants, with the greatest warming found in water-limited regions. The ability of vegetation to affect remote circulation has implications for strategies for climate mitigation.

Apr 25: Adena Rissman
Dept. of Forest and WIldlife Ecology, UW-Madison
Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm. Coffee, tea and cookies at 4pm
Location: 1106 Mechanical Engineering

"Fixing the Environment: The Limits of Science in Adaptive Management"
Adaptive management promises a holistic approach that transcends disciplinary boundaries and helps to accommodate uncertainty. It aspires to treat policies and actions as experiments through which hypotheses can be tested.   Professor Rissman suggests that the “stages” heuristic of adaptive management makes some variables visible, others invisible, and does not go far enough to enable us to understand how change happens.   She will illustrate these dynamics with evidence from a systematic review of the social-ecological systems literature, and through a case study from the Yahara Watershed. These examples will inform discussion of how science helps to improve sustainability, assess environmental management efforts, and track change more broadly in coupled social-ecological systems.

May 2: Matthew D. Ruark
Assistant Professor
Soil Science Extension, UW-Madison

Time: 4:15 - 5:15pm. Coffee, tea and cookies at 4pm
Location: 1106 Mechanical Engineering

"Long-term cropping systems trials in Wisconsin: lessons on carbon, nitrogen, and sustainability"
The effects of agricultural management practices on crops and soil are not always immediately seen. Thus, there is tremendous value in maintaining long-term cropping trials to evaluate these medium- to long-term effects. Dr. Ruark's presentation will focus on the long-term cropping system trials at the University of Wisconsin and how they have been, are being, or can be used to answer pressing questions facing agriculture, with a specific emphasis on soil carbon, nitrogen availability, and sustainable crop production

Fall 2012 Speakers

Thurs, Sept 13: Professor Tracey Holloway
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Energy Options for Cleaner Air”
Abstract: As we consider strategies to move toward renewable, domestic energy resources, one of the most direct environmental benefits is clean air. From electricity production to transportation, energy choices impact air quality and public health across the U.S. and around the world. Energy emissions and associated air pollution issues are intertwined with climate change, international development, and regulatory policy. Holloway and her research group focus on processes controlling ground-level ozone and particulate matter, from emission sources to chemistry and meteorology. Using advanced computer models, satellite data, and ground-based measurements, she works to evaluate the air quality and public health impacts of energy conservation, renewable electricity, and transportation alternatives.

27 Sept: Mitchell Myhre
Regulatory Affairs Manager, Alliant Energy
"Sustainability Impacts of MISO and Wisconsin Electric Utility Operations"
Abstract: The environment in which Wisconsin electric utilities and the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) operate is continuously evolving. With this evolution come changes in policies, sources and processes used to meet the electricity needs of customers in the Midwest. Within this changing environment, however, reliability is a constant paramount priority. This presentation will discuss some of the recent sustainability impacts of MISO and Wisconsin electric utilities including a discussion of policy, system and resource changes.

4 Oct: Vladimir Novotny,
American Academy of Environmental Engineers
Marquette and Northeastern Universities
"Closing the Water Cycle: Recovering Energy and Resources in the Cities of the Future"
Abstract: Current water management paradigms in both developed and developing cities are unsustainable. Transformations of water inputs, energy, and materials create polluted effluents, overflows, air pollution, excessive solid waste and greenhouse gases. The flows exemplify linear urban metabolism: long distance transfers of water, underground conveyance of used water and stormwater, and high energy use for transport, treatment and disposal of used water and solids. The worldwide Cities of the Future initiative features a new paradigm of water-centric sustainable communities. Cities of the Future distribute water and reclaim energy from used water in an urban metabolic cycle based on the four R's: reduce, reclaim, reuse and restore. Sustainable water "ecocities" projects in Canada, China, Singapore, Sweden, and Australia will be presented, and research and implementation challenges will be discussed.

11 Oct: Christian Burgsmueller
Transport, Energy, Environment and Nuclear Matters Section
European Union Delegation to the United States
"EU Roadmap for Moving to a Competitive Low-Carbon Economy in 2050"
Abstract: The European Union has made significant progress toward its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets; over two decades, emissions have declined by 16% while the EU economy grew by 40%. In its “Roadmap for Moving to a Competitive Low-Carbon Economy in 2050” the European Commission looks beyond 2020 objectives to the long-term target of reducing emissions by 80% to 95% by 2050. If the EU succeeds, investment in energy efficiency will produce low-energy and low-emission buildings, electric and hybrid cars, less air pollution, less respiratory disease, and better public transport. Dr. Burgsmueller will describe the Roadmap and the context for implementation in the EU.

18 Oct: Keith Reopelle
Senior Policy Director, Clean Wisconsin
"Voter Attitudes Toward Energy Issues in Wisconsin"
Abstract: Keith Reopelle, the Senior Policy Director for Clean Wisconsin, will present recent focus group and polling data for the state of Wisconsin that reveal voters' attitudes toward clean energy and fossil fuels. The data were generated as part of a nonpartisan candidate education project that Clean Wisconsin led with business partners, including Johnson Controls, Orion Energy and others. Reopelle has worked on clean energy and climate change policies for Clean Wisconsin for over 25 years.

Joe Eto25 Oct: Joseph Eto
Staff Scientist, Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
"Use of Frequency Response Metrics to Assess the Planning and Operating Requirements for Reliable Integration of Variable Renewable Generation"
Abstract: Joseph Eto is a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he manages an industry, government and academic R&D partnership called the Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS). Dr. Eto has contributed to every major Department of Energy electricity policy study over the past decade, including the Power Outage Study Team (2000); the National Transmission Grid Study (2002); the US-Canada Final Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout; and both DOE National Electric Transmission Congestion Studies (2006 and 2009). His publications have dealt with electricity policy and reliability, transmission planning, cost allocation, demand response, distributed energy resources, utility integrated resource planning, demand-side management, and building energy-efficiency technologies and markets.

Paul Robbins1 Nov: Paul Robbins
Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Vector-borne Disease Hazards and Management in the US Southwest"
Abstract: Mosquito populations that spread West Nile Virus have become a health hazard in the Southwest. In southern Arizona, a team of entomologists, climatologists, spatial theorists, and political ecologists seek to understand these disease vectors. Using interviews with homeowners and mosquito control professionals, plus a review of industry and government data, I argue that (1) mosquito control is an “orphan industry” of agri-chemical companies; (2) mosquito control districts are vulnerable to budget raiding and underbidding; (3) a boom-and-bust trend evolves that cannot maintain a robust mosquito control infrastructure; (4) the resultant management landscape leaves homeowners to improvise their own strategies. This leads to “internalization” of responsibility for public health and a decline in expectations of state intervention, with serious implications for public health.

David Mladenoff8 Nov: David Mladenoff
Beers-Bascom Professor in Conservation
Dept of Forest & Wildlife Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"The Importance of History in Understanding Current Ecosystems"
Abstract: Studies in a broad range of landscapes, using new techniques, show that both long term and transient past ecosystem states can have persistent effects on the composition, structure, and function of ecosystems today. Examples from a variety of ecosystems will be presented, including studies by my lab group that incorporate historical information from diverse sources. “Historical information” includes not only direct anthropogenic effects and data, but also the history of the ecosystem in the broad sense: any information from the past that is useful for understanding ecosystems today, and for predicting the diverse trajectories of ecosystems into an uncertain future.

15 Nov: Casey Brown
Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
"Lake Regulation, Climate Change and Residual Climate Risks on the Upper Great Lakes"
Abstract: Water resources are vulnerable to climate change. Policy makers seek optimum sources of information to assist decision making, including frameworks that can use uncertain climate information for planning. We present a risk analysis for water resources management under climate change. First we ask stakeholders which physical conditions they could accommodate and which would require substantial investment. This response is formalized in a water resources systems model that relates changes in the physical climate conditions to performance metrics. Conditions causing impacts are assessed through GCM simulations and paleo-based stochastic analysis. Irreducible uncertainty of climate change projections is addressed through dynamic regulation, adaptive management and consideration of residual risks. Implementation of this process in the recent International Upper Great Lakes Study is described.

29 Nov: Peter Mahaffy
Professor, Department of Chemistry
King's University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
"Climate Science, Powering our Planet, and Rare Materials: A role for Visualization"
Abstract: Our world requires the capacity to visualize models that take us beyond our own scale - to 'see' molecules colliding, to picture invisible forces, to imagine worlds too remote to observe. This is imperative when we tackle the complexity of climate science, make energy choices to power our planet, or comprehend how much modern life depends on rare materials often inaccessible to much of humanity. We will examine strategies developed at the King's Centre for Visualization in Science to take on the challenge of finding new ways to see and understand. How can we help scientists - and those within our spheres of influence - visualize solutions across disciplines and beyond paralysis at the scale and complexity of our planetary boundaries?

6 Dec: Gerrit Hoogenboom
Director of AgWeatherNet
Professor of Agrometeorology, Washington State University
"Agriculture in a Changing Climate - From Scientific Research to Information Delivery for Practical Decision Making by Farmers"
Abstract: Agriculture not only provides our food, it is also a major component of the US economy and that of many other countries. The recent drought in the Midwest shows that weather has a major impact on agricultural production. Farmers have to deal with climate variability daily. It impacts their livelihood as well as food security worldwide. One challenge is to provide growers and producers with information for practical decision making that also has economic value. This information must be scientifically sound, yet relevant and timely to deal with both spatial and temporal variability and uncertainty of weather. Information and communication technologies can play a key role in this process, both in the US and in developing countries.

Spring 2012 Speakers

Jan 26: Mary Ann Piette
Director, Demand Response Research Center
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
"Automating Demand Response with OpenADR:  Communications, End-Use Loads, and an Advanced Integrated Grid"
Abstract: Technology and policy for advanced demand response continue to evolve, as summers get hotter, the electric grid ages, and energy costs continue to rise. The addition of greater levels of intermittent renewable resources for electricity supplies also causes concerns about grid management. Demand response is one of the strategies to address this concern. This presentation summarizes research on communications technology and field experiments on automation of demand response in commercial and industrial facilities.

Feb 9: Paul Shepson
Professor, Analytic and Atmospheric Chemistry, Purdue University
"INFLUX: Moving Toward the Ability to Conduct Regional and Global Scale Accounting of Greenhouse Gases"
Abstract: To understand the global carbon cycle requires knowledge of source strengths, and geographic and temporal variability of emissions. Moreover, international carbon management treaties demand reliable tools to verify compliance. Thus we need the ability to measure urban area-wide fluxes of carbon cycle gases. To do this we created the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX). I will present preliminary results of the INFLUX project for both CO2 and CH4, focusing on efforts to apportion the emissions to individual sectors.

Carol BarfordFeb 16: Carol Barford
Research Scientist and Interim Director, SAGE
"Sustainable bioenergy in Wisconsin: farm-level feasibility"
Abstract: Wisconsin farms can grow bioenergy crops, but will they? Many factors govern this decision, including basic economic feasibility. This talk will present an analysis of the physical and economic conditions necessary for profitable production of switchgrass on Wisconsin farms, using a data-based approach. Logistic and environmental factors will also be discussed.

Feb 23: Michael O'Hare
Professor of Public Policy
University of California-Berkeley
"Risk, Time, Policy Design, and Other Lessons of Real Biofuels Policy"
Abstract: Biofuel policy has forced unanticipated but useful lessons. Indirect land use change, the climate effect of different time profiles of releasing greenhouse gas, and the uncertainty associated with global warming indices of fuels have required rethinking of programs that looked simple when first conceived. Can a life cycle assessment be performed for any substance, or must it be applicable to a policy? What is the meaning of risk management, in programs like RFS and LCFS?

Mar 8: Richard O'Neill
Chief Economic Advisor
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
"New Approaches to Transforming Wind, Rain and Fire into Electricity – Making a Smarter, Cleaner, Efficient Grid"
Abstract: Once virtually impossible, power system market design is now a practical possibility through advances in computer technology. New smart grid technology will allow appliances to ‘talk’ to the grid and allow cleaner energy sources to be integrated into the power system. Electric vehicles will recharge when prices are cheap and sell power to the grid when prices are high. New software will be needed to operate the grid.  What will these new markets look like and how do we get there?

Mar 15: Raghu Murtugudde
Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science/Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland
"Big History: Earth, Life and Sustainability"
Abstract: Humans are the most cooperative species on the planet, capable of collective action to save the planet from the ills of environmental change. Communications to reach the human mind to achieve this collective action at scales that matter may be better designed if we understand the evolution of how the mind came to be schizophrenic, with an emotional elephant and a rational rider. This conversation attempts to place sustainability in the context of the evolution of our planet and its cooperative species.

Mar 22: Michael Doran
P.E., D.E.E.
Adjunct Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michael Doran Techknowledge LLC
"Sustainability - I am an Engineer; I Need a Definition"
Abstract: "There are three times the population of humans on Earth since I was born; 30 times more than in the year 1 CE. Earth's resources are finite, however, and we face huge global challenges in the decades ahead. Sustainability of Human Society: I like that term. But it is defined and used in our society in a way that lacks metrics. I believe we can and must define it differently and better, and I want to have a conversation on this topic with you March 22nd here, on the UW-Madison Engineering Campus."

Mar 29: James McCann
Professor of History
African Studies Center
Boston University
"Africa's Malarial Landscape - History, Complexity, and Silver Bullets"
Abstract: Results of a study of the agro-ecology of malaria in a specific landscape in Ethiopia will emphasize the role of complex interactions of rural ecology and current attempts at eradication and/or control of malaria. The study includes results of laboratory work and field ecology, but also ecological and economic transformation of a malarial landscape as a whole. The lecture will emphasize the importance of an ecological rather than a bio-medical approach to combating malaria's persistence in the tropical world.

Apr 12: William W. Hogan
Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
"Electricity Market Reform and the Green Agenda"
Abstract: The green agenda envisions dramatic changes in the production and use of energy. The electricity sector is critical because it is already a large user of fossil fuels, and many green initiatives assume electrification of the transportation sector. The challenges require fundamental innovations on a huge scale. The uncertainty about both future conditions and technology precludes any simple prescription. A focus on incentives and electricity market design motivates and identifies policy initiatives required to address these challenges.

Apr 26: Andrew Light
Director, International Climate Policy
Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C. and
Director, Center for Global Ethics, George Mason University
"International Climate Negotiations After Durban"
Abstract: The rescent UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa received a mixed reception. Many close to the negotiations pronounced them a critically important victory; some of the bigger carbon emitters signed a binding international treaty. However, critics called them yet another farce. I will review the history of these negotiations to put in context the complicated outcome. More was achieved than most people realized. The next focus should be on establishing the Green Climate Fund and creating a robust public and private international climate finance system.

May 3: James A. LaGro, Jr.
Professor, Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, UW-Madison
“Plumbing Code or Land Use Policy?”
Abstract: On-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) serve most rural households in the Great Lakes Region. Major revisions of Wisconsin's plumbing code, which was changed in the 1990s from a prescriptive code to a performance code, now allow the installation of “alternative” on-site wastewater treatment systems on sites with only six inches (15.2 cm) of native soil above bedrock or the seasonal water table. What are the land use impacts - and sustainability implications - of this experiment in public policy?

May 10: R. Andreas Kraemer
Director and CEO, Ecologic Institute, Berlin; Chairman, Ecologic Institute, Washington DC
"Germany's Energy Future - Greening an Export Nation"
Abstract: Mr. Kraemer will discuss the economic and trade aspects of energy transformation in Germany, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and relevant domestic and EU policies.
Ecologic Institute

Previous Speakers

Teresa M. Adams, "Regenerative Infrastructure Development"
Professor and Director, National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW-Madison

Brad Allenby, "Technology and Sustainability in the Age of the Anthropogenic Earth"
Arizona State University
View the Lecture PowerPoint slides
View the class lecture also given by Professor Allenby during his visit

Dr. Markus AmannMarkus Amann, "From Energy use to Emissions - The third component of the Kaya Identity"
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Laxenburg, Austria
Program Leader, Atmospheric Pollution and Economic Development

Michelle BellMichelle Bell, "What types of airborne particles pose the biggest risk to public health?"
Yale University

Craig Benson, "The Role of Recycled Materials in Sustainable Infrastructure"
Professor, Geological Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering 

Bill Blakemore 
"The Many Psychologies of Global Warming"
ABC News Reporter

Dr. T. Allan CompT. Allan Comp, "Art, Science, Community, and Transdisciplinary Action: Making it Real"
Office of Surface Mining, US Geological Survey

Ken Cassman, "Agricultural Production and Long-term Sustainability of Soil and Water Resources"
Professor of Agronomy, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska

Jeffrey Christian, "Zero Energy Houses: A Promising Grand Challenge for the U.S."
Director of the Building Technology Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
SAGE Graduate student David Zaks interviews Jeffrey Christian for WorldChanging.com

Rita Colwell, "Water Pollution and Human Health"
Chair at Canon US Life Sciences, Incorporated and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Lisa Curran, "From Timber to Palm Oil: Effects of Bornean Land Use Change on Carbon Emissions, Rural Livlihoods and Biodiversity"
Professor of Tropical Resources, Yale University

Pat EaganPat Eagan (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Mark Finster (School of Business & College of Engineering), "An Eleven-Year Analysis of Energy Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Strategies and Trends"

Tom Eggert, "The Business Case for Sustainability"
Professor, UW-Madison School of Business

Erle Ellis
 , "Ancient Anthropogenic Landscapes and the Emergence of the Anthropocene"
Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Geography & Environmental Systems
Ellis' work focuses on understanding the ecology of densely populated landscapes as they are transformed by population growth and industrially-based technologies. Click here to watch a three-minute, Discovery Channel video about his proposal for a new way to map Earth's biomes, taking into account the effect humans have had on the planet.

Kerry Emanuel, “Is Global Warming Affecting Hurricanes?”
Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Listen to the Talk

David E. Foster, "Internal Combustion Engines, Fuels and Sustainability"
Phil and Jean Myers Professor
Engine Research Center
UW College of Engineering

Kevin GardnerKevin Gardner, "Walk, Pedal or Drive? Measuring Sustainability of Transportation Infrastructure"
University of New Hampshire

Elisabeth Graffy, "Confronting Complexity: Rethinking the Role of Public Attitudes in Sustainable Energy Change"
Visiting Researcher, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chris Green, “Economic Energy Intensity: Complexities, Implications, and Controversies”
Professor, Dept. of Economics 
McGill University, Montreal 

Daniel JacobDaniel Jacob, "Mercury in the environment: from smokestack to stomach"
Harvard University

Pat Kinney, "Climate Change, Air Quality, and Public Health"
Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Maggie Koerth-Baker
"Never Say 'Diagonal of the Covariance Matrix': 6 Things Scientists Can Learn From Science Journalists"
Science Editor, BoingBoing.net

Leonard KonikowLeonard Konikow, "Groundwater Depletion: A National Assessment and Global Perspective"

Jonathan Koomey, "Creating the Future: Cost effective options for minimizing climate change and oil dependence"
Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Consulting Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept, Stanford University
View the Lecture and Slidshow Online (courtesy of the UW Engineering MediaSite)
Listen to the Talk

Klaus LacknerKlaus Lackner, "Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide: Another Tool to Help Fix the Climate?"
Columbia University

Eric Lambin, "Impact of Land Use Policies on Changes in  Masai Mara Wildlife (Kenya): Analyzing Coupled Human-Environment Systems"
Professor, Department of Geography, University of Louvain, Belgium
UW Lambin News release

Diana Liverman
"Communities, Climate Change, and Development: Can the International Climate Regime Deliver Mitigation and Adaptation that Benefit the Poor?"
Director of the Environmental Change Institute
Oxford University Centre for the Environment
Listen to the Talk

Julie Lundquist
"Harvesting the Wind: Making Wind Energy Work with Meteorological Insight"
Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder

Gregory Nemet
, "Four Decades of Multi-year Targets in Energy Policy: Aspirations or Credible Commitments?"
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Environmental Studies, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), and La Follette School of Public Affairs, UW-Madison


Panel Discussion: "Student Solutions for Sustainability"
Tracey Holloway, Director of SAGE, Tom Eggert, Director, Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, and three former winners of the Climate Leadership Challenge (CLC): Chris Meyer, GSSP Student Services Coordinator (CLC 2009 winner), Claus Moberg, (CLC 2010 winner), and Patrick Kirk, (CLC 2011 winner).

J. Carlos Santamarina, "ENERGY: A Geo-centered Perspective"
Goizueta Foundation Faculty Chair and Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology


Majid Sarmadi, "Sustainability of Natural Fibers and Dyes: Myth and Reality"
Rothermal Bascom Professor, Design Studies Department, School of Human Ecology; and Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Materials Science Graduate Program, UW-Madison Department of Environment, Textiles and Design

Majid Sarmadi's website

Adrian Treves, "Using Risk Mapping to Predict Environmental Hazards"
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Director, Carnivore Coexistence Lab, The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison
Adrian Treves' website

Updated: 4/24/15

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