ESS Lecture Series, Spring 2011

The Environmental and Sustainability Studies program is pleased to announce an extensive spring lecture series featuring faculty members and others from departments across the campus. The topics of the 14 lectures range from green chemistry to environmental history and from sustainable architecture to environmental justice.

The Environmental and Sustainability Studies Lecture Series is sponsored by the School of Urban and Public Affairs and the University Sustainability Committee. The lectures are free and open to all.

All lectures will be held on Thursdays, 9:30-10:15 a.m., in Trimble Hall, Room 115.

Full schedule

Environmental & Sustainability Studies program

Lecture abstracts, presentations, and readings

(updated as materials become available; some links are accessible only to UT Arlington students, faculty, and staff)

Jan. 20 — Dr. Jeff Howard — “Experts, Expertise, and the Politics of Sustainability”

The emergence of climate change and other global environmental problems has important implications for our understanding of scientific, technical, and professional expertise. How have our systems of knowledge production, technological innovation, and professional practice made it possible for our civilization to fundamentally disrupt the natural systems on which our species’ success and survival depend? What does this disruption imply about the political character of forms of expertise traditionally understood to be objective? And now what? Among other things, this inquiry suggests a framework for considering how Environmental and Sustainability Studies relates to the various disciplines and interdisciplines that constitute the university.

slides

reading: 

John Carey, “Calculating the true cost of global climate change,” Yale Environment 360, January 6, 2011.

Jan. 27 — Dr. Chris Morris – “Back to the Future: Environmental History and Present-Day Environmental Problems”

This lecture will consider the relevance of the past for the present, not just in explaining the origins of present-day environmental problems, or in finding past analogies to present-day concerns, but in suggesting viable solutions, or at least drawing on the past to offer new ways of thinking about present problems. The lecture will briefly survey several specific examples from U.S. history, before considering in more depth the 1849 flooding of New Orleans and how it might suggest practical solutions to the problems facing New Orleans today.

slides

reading:

William Cronon, “The riddle of the Apostle Islands,” Orion, May/June 2003, 36-42.

Feb. 3 — Dr. Jim Grover — “Scientific Ecology and its Engagement with Sustainability Issues” [canceled due to inclement weather]

Although ecology and environmentalism often are regarded as synonyms, scientists identifying themselves as ecologists draw a sharp distinction: Ecology is the scientific discipline that examines the interaction of organisms with their environment, including other organisms, while environmentalism is a cultural and political movement advocating change in the human relationship to the environment. Ecology provides information relevant for environmentalism, but historically scientists studying ecology have maintained a degree of separation from environmental advocacy. During the past two decades, ecologists have more strongly engaged with environmentalism. This engagement offers many opportunities to explore basic ecological questions while providing information relevant to environmental politics and policy.

readings:

J.H. Lawton,  “Ecology, politics and policy,” Journal of Applied Ecology 44: 465–74, 2007.

Shahid Naeem, F.S. Chapin III, Robert Costanza, et al., “Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Maintaining natural life support processes,” Issues in Ecology [Ecological Society of America], no. 4, Fall 1999, pp. 2-11.

February 10 — Dr. Frank Foss — “Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technologies: Necessity and Opportunity” [canceled due to illness]

The lecture will survey sustainability-related developments in modern chemistry. Topics will include advances in chemical synthesis and emerging chemical technologies regarding renewable energies.

readings:

Katharine Sanderson, “It’s not easy being green,” Nature 469(January 6, 2011): 18-20.

Richard Van Noorden, “Beyond petroleum? BP’s chief chemist talks about balancing the company’s commitment to renewable energies with profit,” Nature News, July 7, 2009 .

Feb. 17 — Dr. Melanie Sattler — “Clearing the Air: Air Quality Problems and Solutions in the 21st Century”

Air quality problems, particularly climate change, pose some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. This lecture will look at progress made in cleaning up the air during the 20th century, and challenges remaining for the 21st, both in the US and around the globe.

slides

audio

reading:

Norman Myers and Jennifer Kent, eds., “Elements,” excerpt from The New Atlas of Planet Management (University of California, 2005), pp. 108-153.

Feb. 24 — Dr. Michan Connor — “The Metropolitan Environment and Social Justice”

The talk will describe the overlap of the environmental and civil rights movements and the way that discussing the environment in terms of “justice” instead of only the terms of “conservation” and “protection” allows us to think of a different kind of environmental movement that speaks to the needs of the 80% of Americans who live in metropolitan areas.

slides

bibliography

audio

reading:

Andrew Light, “Ecological citizenship: The democratic promise of restoration,” in The Humane Metropolis: People and Nature in the 21st-Century City, ed. Rutherford H. Platt (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press in association with Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, 2006), 169-81.

March 3 — Dr. James Welch — “Establishing Common Ground in Sustainability”

The complexity of sustainability and environmental issues can seem overwhelming, leading to ambiguity, confusion, and even open dispute. Interdisciplinary strategies can help organize and manage these issues by integrating them as a holistic system. Interdisciplinarity can also aid in resolving conflicts among stakeholders and establish common goals toward a sustainable future.

audio

reading:

Kathryn Hegarty, “Sustaining collegiality through the imperative of interdisciplinary practice,” London Review of Education 7(1): 83–90, 2009.

March 24 — Dr. Fred Forgey — “Sustainable Real Estate”

What are the financing and valuation issues surrounding sustainable real estate? How are property markets evolving to incorporate these issues? What are the opportunities and threats that exist for property developers of sustainable real estate?

audio

readings:

Norm Miller, “Does green still pay off?” Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, June 2010.

Norm Miller, Jay Spivey and Andy Florance, “Does green pay off?” Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, July 2008.

March 31 — Mr. Richard Greene — “Cities Discover Sustainability”

A discussion of how local government, businesses, and environmental leaders have come to embrace and incorporate sustainability practices into the life of urban communities. Results that lead to cleaner and healthier cities cannot be realized only through federal and state regulatory authorities. We’ll take a look at how success at the local level, moving from the obvious and easy to more robust initiatives, is helping to achieve the desired outcomes.

slides

audio

readings:

North Central Texas Council of Governments, “What is NCTCOG?”

North Central Texas Council of Governments, “Sustainable Environmental Excellence.”

City of Dallas, “Green Dallas: Building a Greener City.”

April 7 — Ms. Wanda Dye — “Sustainable Urban Landscapes”

An examination of new projects and proposals that take derelict or left over spaces and sites and cultivate them into sustainable urban landscapes.

slides

audio

readings:

Charles Waldheim, “Landscape as Urbanism” in Landscape Urbanism Reader, ed. Charles Waldheim (New York: Princeton Architectural, 2006), 35-53.

Kevin Pratt, “Prefabrication and Sustainability,” KieranTimberlake Associates LLP, 2007.

April 14Mr. David Wallace“Culture, Environment, and the Literary Roundtable”

Environmental literature and eco-critical theory serve as round-tables. Around these tables, diverse members of culture can gather to discuss broader issues of environmental awareness and sustainable environmental practices.

reading:

Lawrence Buell, “The emergence of environmental criticism,” chap. 1 in The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and the Literary Imagination (Blackwell, 2005), pp. 1-28.

April 21Ms. Meghna Tare“How Green is Your Campus?” [originally scheduled for May 5]

A commitment to environmental stewardship is casting a green sheen on every corner of the campus. With priorities that address energy and water conservation, construction, transportation, recycling, and more, the University is becoming an example for other institutions to follow. Learn what UT Arlington is doing to be a green and sustainable campus.

slides

audio

reading:

UT Arlington Office of Sustainability, “University of Texas at Arlington STARS Report,” submitted to Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 2010.

April 28Dr. Peggy Semingson“Sustainability-focused Literacy Instruction in K-12 Classrooms”

This talk focuses on the ways that sustainability-centered instruction can take place in K-12 classroom settings. Ideas for aligning reading and writing instruction with interdisciplinary and high-interest materials and texts will be demonstrated and discussed.

slides

audio

reading:

Geraldine Burke and Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, “What’s there, what if, what then, and what can we do? An immersive and embodied experience of environment and place through children’s literature,” Environmental Education Research 16 (3-4):311-30, 2010.

May 5Dr. Douglas Klahr“The Walls That Surround You: Sustainable Architecture” [originally scheduled for April 21]

Topic: Percentage of energy consumed in USA. Fact: Building sector 49%, transportation 28%, industry 23%. Topic: Percentage of CO2 emissions in USA.  Fact: Building sector 47%, transportation 33%, industry 20%. Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about sustainable building practices.

slides

reading:

Excerpts from Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century, ed. David Gissen (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003), pp. 8-17, 114-25, 144-53.

Jan. 27 — Back to the Future: Environmental History and Present-Day Environmental Problems

Dr. Chris Morris, Associate Professor, Department of History

This lecture will consider the relevance of the past for the present, not just in explaining the origins of present-day environmental problems, or in finding past analogies to present-day concerns, but in suggesting viable solutions, or at least drawing on the past to offer new ways of thinking about present problems. The lecture will briefly survey several specific examples from U.S. history, before considering in more depth the 1849 flooding of New Orleans and how it might suggest practical solutions to the problems facing New Orleans today.