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.

Spring 2021 Schedule

photo of Ashok Sarkar

Thursday, February 4
Ashok Sarkar
Specialist Team Leader, Energy & Extractives Global Practice, The World Bank, Washington DC.

Unlocking Energy Efficiency's Potential for Climate Change Mitigation- International Best Practices and Experiences
Energy efficiency (EE) is considered the "First Fuel for global climate change mitigation. Though one of the most cost-effective options with multiple co-benefits, including enhancement of energy security and mitigation of GHG emissions, EE market transformation in developing countries remains a major development challenge due to many barriers. Dr. Sarkar will share global-level analyses, implementation solutions and best practices from various countries that have been successful in scaling up EE technologies and measures through regulatory policies, innovative financing mechanisms, institutional approaches and market strategies. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/ViiMcVizLykGTs9M8

photo of Adam Bechle

Thursday, February 11
Adam Bechle
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute

Adapting to a Changing Great Lakes Coast
Great Lakes water levels have been well above average for several years, with some lakes setting all-time record highs. These high water conditions, in combination with coastal storms, have caused flooding and erosion throughout the region. Under a changing climate, lake levels may reach even higher highs as well as lower lows. This talk will discuss the current high water conditions on the Great Lakes and the actions communities are taking to adapt to a changing coast. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/KpM3B6YHJhTYAmCF9

photo of Tasso Azevedo

Thursday, February 18
Tasso Azevedo
General Coordinator, MapBiomas

Three decades of land use transformation in Brazil and the Amazon
In the last 35 years, Brazil — home of the richest biodiversity and largest reservoir of fresh water — witnessed immense transformation. Come to see how MapBiomas, a multi-institutional initiative working with cloud based machine learning applied to remote sensing, managed to unveil all the changes through the years. From Amazon to Cerrados, from Pantanal to the Atlantic Rainforest, from Pampa to Caatinga, passing thought forests, grasslands, agriculture, pasture, mangroves, mining and water bodies, MapBiomas is reshaping our understanding of the occupation dynamics of the territory. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/meBNtLvML4DtoGkN8

photo of Zhou Zhang

Thursday, February 25
Zhou Zhang
Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, UW-Madison

Alfalfa Yield Prediction Using UAV-Based Hyperspectral Imagery and Ensemble Learning
Alfalfa is a valuable and intensively produced forage crop in the United States, and timely estimation of its yield can inform management decisions. However, traditional yield assessment approaches are laborious and time-consuming. Recently, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have gained attention due to their efficient data acquisition. In addition, compared with other imaging modalities, hyperspectral data can offer higher spectral fidelity for constructing narrow-band vegetation indices for yield modeling. In this study, we performed an in-season alfalfa yield prediction using UAV-based hyperspectral images. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/GRZCVMiYb5AuiZCWA

photo of Donald I. Siegel

Thursday, March 4
Donald I. Siegel
Emeritus Professor Earth Sciences (Syracuse University); Partner, Independent Environmental Scientists, Inc. (Manlius, NY)

The Conflict Between "Feel Good Facts" and the Scientific and Social Limitations of Sustainable Energy
Global scientific, economic, and political constraints preclude building out sufficient renewable solar, tidal, wind and hydroelectric renewable energy to reverse projected climate disruption in the near future. Humanity will therefore necessarily need to adapt to enhanced drought, flooding and associated harms by using combinations of new technology, protective infrastructure, and relaxing environmental restrictions on extracting and moving critical earth resources, such as water and rare elements. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/P2yYnSUBSRprPNPs5

collage of environmental photos

Thursday, March 11
Nelson Institute Sustainable Success Lecture Series

The Future of Plastic

photo of John Roemer

Thursday, March 18
John Roemer
Professor, Yale University

A theory of cooperation: John Nash versus Immanuel Kant
Nash equilibrium is the standard concept for equilibrium in non-cooperative games, in which decision makers follow a behavioral ethos of "going it alone." Nash equilibrium also produces social pathologies such as the free-rider problem and the tragedy of the commons. Prof. Roemer will introduce the idea of Kantian equilibrium, in which agents explicitly cooperate instead of going it alone. This mathematical cousin of Nash optimization produces very different outcomes, where free-rider problems and tragedies of the commons evaporate. Clearly, an important question is whether Kantian optimization describes a real phenomenon or is merely a figment of a utopian imagination. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/B9AR6mjRgvsud4wu6

photo of Adrian Treves

Thursday, March 25
Adrian Treves
Professor, Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW–Madison

Wolf policy and its effects on illegal killing, human tolerance, and recovery
Reporting new evidence from Wisconsin’s wolves, red wolves and Mexican gray wolves, Dr. Treves presents the state of the science on endangered wolf policy. Four lines of evidence show that ‘blood does not buy goodwill’. Legalizing wolf-killing does not raise tolerance for wolves, does not reduce poaching, and slows population growth more than expected from legal mortality. The best available science shows that cryptic poaching and concealment of evidence increases instead. Therefore, lethal management of predators should be reformed. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/HWGjhinVjGpoCDxB9

photo of Zuzana Burivalova

Thursday, April 1
Zuzana Burivalova
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies-SAGE and Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison

Soundscapes as a tool to monitor tropical forest biodiversity in the Anthropocene
Prof. Burivalova will describe how we can use soundscapes, which are all the sounds that could be heard at one place, to help us meet the challenges of protecting biodiversity in today’s and future tropical forests. The recording and analysis of soundscapes enables the monitoring of biodiversity at broad temporal, spatial, and taxonomic scales, as will be demonstrated by examples from Southeast Asia’s rainforests. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/oMbJzG9zoAEQr39n7

photo of Grace Bulltail

Thursday, April 8
Grace Bulltail
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies-SAGE, UW-Madison

Land use, land tenure, and resource management on tribal lands
Dr. Bulltail’s research interests center on the interactions of land use and natural resource management in tribal communities, promoting capacity-building and equity. Her research framework stresses that effective sovereignty is tied to overall resource management. Additionally, Grace will share her experiences as an advocate for Native American and Indigenous students as a STEM educator at the tribal college and university levels. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/SCMdG2FMy1xxQP318

photo of Philomena Kebec

Thursday, April 15
Philomena Kebec
Policy Analyst, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC)

The Regulation of Treaty Harvested Foods as an Exercise of Tribal Food Sovereignty
Tribal Nations are increasingly focused on issues of food sovereignty, investing in gardening and farming while continuing to harvest a variety of wild foods on reservation and within their off-reservation ceded territories. While tribes have historically engaged in the sharing of treaty-harvested foods through informal networks, they are increasingly interested in providing for increased access to these highly-nutritious foods through formal avenues. During this lecture we will explore the exercise of tribal sovereignty through the development of food regulation for treaty-harvested foods. Registration Link: https://forms.gle/5KvYaTPweYi6j9SZ7

collage of environmental photos

Thursday, April 22
Nelson Institute Earth Day Programming

Equity and Justice in the Food-Energy-Water Nexus
Registration Link Coming Soon

photo of Jahi Chappell

Thursday, April 29
Jahi Chappell
Executive Director, Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network; Durham, NC

Can we have agroecology without food justice and food sovereignty? The answer is: No.
It is increasingly accepted that radical changes to our food and agriculture systems are necessary. Mainstream state and corporate actors nevertheless often attempt to paint recommendations for all but the mildest of adjustments as "political” and thus, somehow, presumptively invalid. Yet malnutrition and sustainability are unavoidably political. Agroecology is a field that, in some cases, acknowledges this inevitability, and encourages deliberation and debate, particularly through the lenses of food justice and food sovereignty. This presentation explores these dynamics, and considers them practically in the contexts of municipal anti-hunger policy in Brazil, and small-scale Black farmers in the US South. RSVP Link: https://forms.gle/k7eXu26WDEmiuw6M8