Weston Roundtable Series

collage of photos

Thursdays, 4:15-5:15 PM

Lectures presented on-line this semester, registration required. 
Please see the abstract text below for registration links.

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.

Fall 2020 Schedule

photo of Jamie Devereaux

Thursday, September 3
Jamie Devereaux
Editor, Sustainability: The Journal of Record, Mary Ann Liebert Publishers, New Rochelle, NY

What are you reading? The top 10 sustainability articles of the year
Jamie Devereaux, editor of Sustainability: The Journal of Record, will highlight the Journal’s 10 most-read articles of the past year (July 2019—July 2020). Lecture will explore the topics, style, and tone of the top-read papers, looking at both commonalities and unique components. Devereaux will also explain the peer-review and manuscript processes and conclude with a look at emerging trends in the field of sustainability science. REGISTER FOR THIS LECTURE HERE: https://forms.gle/4LoPumHjsbNft1d7A

collage of environmental photos

Thursday, September 10

photo of Paty Romero-Lankao

Thursday, September 17
Paty Romero-Lankao
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Understanding How Policy Making Shapes Inequality in Urban Vulnerability and Risk is Key to Foster Climate Justice
Adapting to climate change in just ways is embedded in global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. However, climate-adaptation policies can shape inequality in vulnerability and risk. Dr. Romero will highlight how 43 city adaptation plans attempt to address inequality in climate risk to urban populations and food-energy-water (FEW) systems, and how case studies show that short-term policy responses to floods, wildfires and other hazards do not address root causes of unequal vulnerability. Progress depends on integrating climate agendas and development priorities related to equality and justice. REGISTER FOR THIS LECTURE HERE: https://forms.gle/KHAmWakxxjftWYTz7

photo of Mark Winne

Thursday, September 24
Mark Winne
Senior Technical Advisor, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

The Food System Elephant: Working Toward A Common Understanding
Whether we are building a new food system out of the shell of the old or trying to get our arms around issues of racial inequity, climate change, and COVID-19, our attention remains riveted on the multi-faceted challenges of our local and regional food and farm landscapes. In light of these immediate, life-altering challenges and the larger need to intentionally direct our food systems, the lecture will address how we describe and analyze the food system elephant and how we act on our understanding of it. REGISTER FOR THIS LECTURE HERE: https://forms.gle/xSBGnYvTEg8c15L67

photo of Lena Neij

Thursday, October 1
Lena Neij
Professor, Lund University, Sweden

The Deployment of New Energy Technologies and the Need for Local Learning
The transition towards a low carbon society will require a good understanding of the nature of technological change and the potential of designing policy measures for effecting and accelerating processes of technical change. In my lecture I will focus on the process of deployment of new energy technology, what the literature can tell us about the need for local learning when adopting new technologies, the potential of cost reduction in relation to local learning, and how to design policy instruments to support local learning. REGISTER FOR THIS LECTURE HERE: https://forms.gle/o5GC34EEvJDvHtnv9

photo of H.J.S. Fernando

Thursday, October 8
H.J.S. Fernando
Professor, Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame

Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations in Equatorial Atmosphere and Oceans
The hydrology of Indian Summer Monsoons includes active and break phases of rainfall of 30 to 60 days, called intraseasonal oscillations (ISO). Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations (MISO) propagate from the equatorial Indian Ocean toward the Bay of Bengal, causing rainfall variability with global reach. A research program sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research is peering into both oceanic and atmospheric ISO in the northern Indian Ocean. Observations from ocean cruises, land deployments, aircraft measurements and long-term moorings are summarized, together with intriguing phenomena that create weather variability in equatorial oceans and atmosphere. To register, please visit https://forms.gle/xyeKSWEXjYGovRBC8

photo of Steven Lawry

Thursday, October 15
Steven Lawry
Senior Research Associate, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Revisiting Aldo Leopold's 1942 essay, 'Land Use and Democracy,' for its relevance on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day
Aldo Leopold argues in a 1942 article in Audubon Magazine entitled "Land-Use and Democracy” that direct citizen action is required if the nation’s conservation goals are to be achieved. This lecture summarizes Leopold’s reflections on possible forms of effective citizen action, including consumer campaigns holding companies accountable for environmental harm and greater embrace of good land stewardship practices by land-users. We will consider how and where these and other forms of direct democratic action have taken root in our time. REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/m5v3x8unj1U1NY476

photo of Laurence Kalkstein

Thursday, October 22
Laurence Kalkstein
Professor Emeritus, President, Applied Climatologists, Inc. Co-Founder, Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC)

Delaying Climate Change: The Impact of Cool Technologies Upon Heat Wave Meteorology
Over the past several years, we have been conducting research on understanding how the implementation of reflective roof products, more reflective urban surfaces, and additional tree canopy could potentially cool cities during excessive heat events. Since heat is the leading weather-related killer in major U.S. cities, part of the evaluation involves an estimation of how many lives could be saved during deadly heat events. Much of this work has been funded by the 3M Corporation, which manufactures products that add to roof and surface reflectivity, and also by the U.S. Forest Service, which is most concerned about the cooling impacts of planting additional trees in urban areas. The latter research has led to the development of the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC), which is a unique partnership among universities, private enterprise, non-profit environmental organizations, and government agencies. We have modeled a number of heat events in several cities with different climates to determine the differential impact of these "cool urban solutions”. In addition, we have subdivided Los Angeles into socially homogeneous regions to see if vulnerability to heat impacts varies among neighborhoods as much as expected, and to see if the cooling technologies are more effective in the most vulnerable regions. If the intensity of heat events can be reduced using today’s technologies, there is great potential to significantly delay the impacts of climate change for possibly decades. This research represents the first attempts to quantify the meteorological and health impacts of cool cities technologies, and the results can be transmitted to urban decision-makers who can then develop policies to improve cities’ responses to excessive heat events and their negative health outcomes. RSVP link: https://forms.gle/MttSnWYLzx7Z1Z5r7

photo of Maria Tysiachniouk

Thursday, October 29
Maria Tysiachniouk
Visiting Fellow, UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies; Chair, Environmental Sociology group, Center for Independent Social Research, Russia

Who Benefits? Complex Relationships of Oil Companies and Indigenous Communities in Alaska
Governance of oil in the North Slope of Alaska involves multiple actors that share oil rent with local communities. This presentation will focus on benefit-sharing arrangements between oil companies, native corporations, the North Slope Borough, and Indigenous Peoples. We will look at how benefit-sharing arrangements are organized and implemented, and how this affects procedural and distributive equity. Procedural equity is associated with indigenous communities’ participation in decision-making. Distributive equity arises when funds from the oil companies are allocated in an equitable way. Registration form: https://forms.gle/yyz1HEMA9Xaun8ni9

photo of Rhett Butler

Thursday, November 5
Rhett Butler
Founder and CEO of Mongabay, a conservation news service

Communicating science: Key takeaways from 20+ years of Mongabay
Since 1999 Mongabay has grown from a guy in his pajamas on a laptop to a news service that operates 5 bureaus, has a network of over 600 journalists in 80 countries, and attracts 10 million readers a month. Mongabay founder Rhett Butler will talk about his journey and present some of the things he’s learned about how to effectively communicate science. RSVP link: https://forms.gle/258BCezaQuSjUDVu6

collage of environmental photos

Thursday, November 12

photo of Sarah H. Olson

Thursday, November 19
Sarah H. Olson
Associate Director of Epidemiology for the Wildlife Conservation Society

Taking Action to Protect the Health of All: Science and Conservation at Zoonotic Spillover Interfaces
Since her training in environmental research and public health at UW–Madison (PhD ’09), Dr. Olson has been working for the Wildlife Conservation Society Health Program on front-line conservation and wildlife health threats. Recently, she was part of a team which showed that coronavirus detection increases significantly along wildlife value chains from source to consumer. Dr. Olson will address the science, conservation, and policy surrounding zoonotic spillover interfaces, where viral pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and Ebola virus jump between animals and people. RSVP Link: https://forms.gle/5q2RHctMz2gtM98C9

photo of Alfonso Morales

Thursday, December 3
Alfonso Morales
Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Marketplaces Fostering Dimensions of Sustainability
In this lecture we consider outdoor marketplaces and street vendors, the processes that make up those practices, and how over time they have fostered social, political, ecological, and economic dimensions of sustainability from a variety of perspectives. RSVP form: https://forms.gle/oHHUHm9bjTikCtvK6