Weston Roundtable Series

collage of photos

Thursdays, 4:15-5:15 PM
1153 Mechanical Engineering, 1513 University Avenue

*unless noted otherwise in the list


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.

Spring 2020 Schedule

photo of Lynne Heasley

Thursday, January 23
Lynne Heasley
Professor, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Western Michigan University

A Humanist, an ichthyologist and a scuba diver walked into a river...
Dr. Heasley will expand on passages from her forthcoming book of creative non-fiction and experimental essays (working title The Accidental Reef: A Great Lakes Composite) with discussion of the science, local knowledge, and governance underpinning the readings. Topics will include lake sturgeon, invasive Dreissenid mussels, and slime-forming bacteria in pulp and paper production, among other emphases and digressions.

photo of Eban Goodstein

Thursday, January 30
Eban Goodstein
Director, Graduate Programs in Sustainability, Bard College

How to Solve Climate by 2030: We CAN Change the Future
Can we really stop climate change soon? Dr. Goodstein will discuss the Solar Dominance Hypothesis: the idea that the 2020’s could see massive global market disruptions in energy and EV’s. Combined with policies to ensures justice in the transition, this could open the road to "solve climate”—the energy side—over the next decade.

photo of Diane-Laure Arjalies

Thursday, February 6
Diane-Laure Arjalies
Ivey Business School, Western University (Canada)

Can Financialization Save Nature? The Case of Endangered Species
The financialization of nature is underway. Yet the processes through which financialization transforms spaces previously outside markets remains relatively unknown. To address this gap, we examine the development of a calculative device used to assess the ability of conservationists to save endangered species. We demonstrate that this device—the Index—gradually transformed animals into investments from which financial returns were expected. We discuss the implications of these findings for the literatures on financialization and conservation.

photo of Jodi Hilty

Thursday, February 13
Jodi Hilty
President and Chief Scientist, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Making the Case for Large Landscape Conservation: Yellowstone to Yukon
The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative is one of the earlier large landscape conservation movements in the world. While it is clear that connecting and protecting landscapes at the scale at which nature operates is essential, how does having a cohesive vision drive forward conservation? This talk will examine progress over the last 25 years and seeks to attribute where the Y2Y movement substantially contributed to advances in conservation in the region and compares progress in the region to other equivalent regions.

photo of Charles Ferguson

Thursday, February 20
Charles Ferguson
Director, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

More Nuclear Power: Should We Risk It?
Operating nuclear power plants emit almost zero greenhouse gases and thus appear to be "clean" sources of electricity that help to mitigate climate change. However, concerns persist about how to manage safely and securely the radioactive waste from these plants. Also, increased global nuclear power use could raise the risk of nuclear war by spreading the means to produce weapons-usable fissile materials across more countries. While several nuclear power plant designs offer reduced risk of nuclear proliferation, other design choices could pave the way to a world awash in highly enriched uranium and plutonium – potentially available for use in making nuclear weapons. Can we have more nuclear power while managing these proliferation risks? Dr. Ferguson is the author of the book "Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know" (Oxford University Press, 2011).

photo of Teddie M. Potter

Thursday, February 27
Teddie M. Potter
Clinical Professor, Director of Planetary Health, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

Planetary Health: Cross-Cutting Principles We Can Live With
The health of humanity and the health of the planet are interconnected. Human actions have put the earth in multi-system failure with dire consequences for the future of humanity, but a healthy future is possible if we act now. We need to urgently challenge old patterns of exploitation, exclusion, and domination, and adopt new principles of mutual respect, equity, and partnership. Working together to renew the health of the biosphere will restore the health of humanity at the same time.

photo of Monica White

Thursday, March 5
Monica White
Associate Professor of Environmental Justice, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fannie Lou Hamer, Black Agricultural Cooperatives and Freedom Farmers
Freedom Farm Cooperative (FFC), started in 1969 by activist Fannie Lou Hamer, was an agricultural cooperative built on 680 acres in Mississippi. It included a pig bank, Head Start program, community gardens, commercial kitchen, a garment factory, sewing cooperative, tool bank, and low-income, affordable housing as strategies to support the needs of African Americans who were fired and evicted for exercising the right to vote. This presentation offers an analysis of Freedom Farm and illuminates valuable lessons on agriculture as resistance, and alternative strategies of rebuilding and investing in sustainable communities.

photo of Tyler Lark

Thursday, March 12
Tyler Lark
Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), University of Wisconsin - Madison

From Grasslands to Grains: An Exploration of America’s Changing Landscapes
Recent cropland expansion has caused the conversion of over 1 million acres of grasslands per year across the United States, leading to substantial changes to the environment while providing only marginal production gains. In this talk we’ll explore recent trends in agricultural land-use change and implications for crop yields, carbon emissions, and wildlife habitat for species of concern, as well as associated relationships to biofuels policy and proposed solutions to improve conservation. NOTE: To comply with UW–Madison's preventive measures for COVID-19, we need to keep attendance at this Thursday's Weston Roundtable below 50 persons (see https://covid19.wisc.edu/). The in-person lecture space (Mechanical Engineering 1153) will be reserved for registered students in ES 401 and ES 900 only. Everyone else is invited to view Tyler Lark's lecture online at their convenience! You can find all of the Weston Roundtable webcasts here (going back to 2011!). We will keep everyone apprised of developments with respect to Roundtables during the remainder of April (16th, 23rd, 30th). Until then, stay well!