Where on Earth Are We Going?

Taken from the title of Maurice Strong's monumental work, the COE's annual Where on Earth Are We Going? Robert F. Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium has occurred on the Saturday of Wesleyan's Homecoming or Family Weekend every year since 2004. Each year's symposium focuses on a critical environmental topic and has brought to Wesleyan the people who are at the forefronts of these issues.  Our speakers have featured such luminaries as:  Bill Blakemore, Lester Brown, Majora Carter, Robert Corell, Judith Curry, Kris Ebi, Joseph Fargione, Suki Hoagland, James Hansen, John Holdren, Thomas Malone, Frank McCormick, Richard Morgenstern, Patrick Osborne, A. Townsend Peterson, Steven Rockefeller, Gus Speth, Maurice Strong, Alaka Wali, Diana Wall, and Timothy Weiskel. 

October 16 & 17, 2020

Accelerating the Climate Revolution with Jacob Scherr ’70 and Amy Gomberg Kurt ’04 and Habitability and Life on Venus with Martha Gilmore and David Grinspoon

Click here to read about Habitability and Life on Mars on our coexist blog.

Click here to read all about both events on News@Wes.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Tishler Lecture Hall (150), Exley Science Center
What on Earth Are They Saying: Listening and Learning Beyond the Human

Click here to watch the seminar

Meaning and language are commonly thought to be the exclusive province of humans. But is this thinking simply our own anthropocentric conceit? Join Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment Charles Siebert in a discussion about the nature of meaning in the world, the myriad of forms in which it manifests, and the many ways in which they inform our place in the world.

Presenter: Charles Siebert is the author of three critically acclaimed memoirs, The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals, A Man After His Own Heart, and Wickerby: An Urban Pastoral, a New York Times Notable Book of 1998, as well as a novel, Angus; an e-book Rough Beasts: The Zanesville Zoo Massacre One Year Later; and a children’s book, The Secret World of Whales. A poet, journalist, essayist, and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, and numerous other publications. He presently teaches creative writing at NYU Abu Dhabi. 

Introduction: Barry Chernoff, Robert F. Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, is director of the College of the Environment and professor in the departments of Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Studies. Dr. Chernoff researches aquatic ecosystem ecology and conservation genetics of fishes. He teaches courses in science and environmental issues.

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Tishler Lecture Hall (150), Exley Science Center
What on Earth Are They Saying: Listening and Learning Beyond the Human -- A Panel Discussion

Each year, the College of the Environment gathers a small group of Wesleyan faculty members, a scholar of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and several undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The theme of this year’s COE Think Tank--Meaningful Worlds: Listening and Learning Beyond the Human--explores the nature of meaning in the world, the myriad of forms in which it manifests, and the many ways in which they inform our place in the world. Join this year’s COE Think Tank fellows for a panel discussion on the topic.

Panel members: Camille Britton ‘20; Anthony Hatch, associate professor and chair, Science in Society Program; Antonio Machado-Allison, visiting scholar, College of the Environment; Sara McCrea ‘21; Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of Environmental Studies; Charles Siebert, Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment; Courtney Weiss Smith, associate professor of English; Melissa Thornton ‘20; and Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters.

Moderator: Barry Chernoff, Robert F. Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, is director of the College of the Environment and professor in the departments of Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Studies. Dr. Chernoff researches aquatic ecosystem ecology and conservation genetics of fishes. He teaches courses in science and environmental issues.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Where on Earth Are We Going 2018 seminar speakers

Welcome by Barry Chernoff, Chair, College of the Environment

WATCH: Is Animism Good to Think With?
Assistant Professor Justine Quijada, College of the Environment, Department of Religion

WATCH: Motivating Environmentalism through Our Visceral Fears of Infections 
Professor Fred Cohan, College of the Environment, Deparment of Biology

READ: Wesleyan Holds Environmental Studies Symposium on Balancing Human Desire and Ecological Needs, Wesleyan Argus (10/2/18)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Welcome by Barry Chernoff, Chair, College of the Environment

Stories from the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the Legacy of Fukushima
Jake Price, Flimmaker and Photojournalist

A Body in Places: Making Distance Malleable
Eiko Otake, Menakka and Essel Bailey '66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar, College of the Environment

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Welcome by Barry Chernoff, Chair, College of the Environment

Wesleyan American Landscape Painting and Its Social Impact
Henry Adams, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar, College of the Environment
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Shifting Landscapes in a Dynamic World
A panel discussion with Wesleyan University Professors: Laura Grabel, Helen Poulos, Rob Rosenthal, Andy Szegedy-Maszak and Tula Telfair.
Moderated by Rachel Earnhardt ’17, Paul Franceschi ’19, and Ruby Lang ‘17.
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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Welcome by William Pinch, Chair, College of the Environment

Click here for 2015 Where on Earth Are We Going? video

A Systems Approach To Healthy Places
Shellae Versey
The challenge of creating healthy places, now and in the future, requires new ways of thinking about the complex and interconnected world in which we live. Systems thinking provides a framework for understanding the dynamics of integrating people, places and policies in ways that promote health. In highlighting emerging research, this talk offers a new lens for exploring interactions between the environment and health.

The Artist in the City: Civic Engagement & Social Change through the Creative Process, by Allison Orr
Using a distinct form of ethnographic choreography, Austin, Texas-based choreographer Allison Orr builds her dances out of the stories and experiences that emerge over her year-long residencies with municipal departments. Over the past fifteen years, Orr has collaborated with city employees across Austin, from sanitation workers to power linemen, firefighters to parks and recreation employees. Orr will discuss her process, show clips of past work, and explore how arts-based civic engagement can uncover that which is essential to the life of an urban community while challenging conventions of art and art-making at the intersections of race and class.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Welcome by Barry Chernoff, Director, College of the Environment

Click here for 2014 Where on Earth Are We Going? video

Energy Efficiency: The Best Climate Change Solution That May Never Be, by David Cohan
David Cohan is the Building Energy Codes Program Manager for the US Department of Energy. He has worked in energy efficiency for over 20 years in a variety of capacities including evaluation, program design and, for the past ten years, the development and implementation of building energy codes, which mandate minimum efficiency levels for all new buildings constructed in the United States. David is particularly focused on ways to increase compliance with the codes so that the potential energy savings are actually realized. David has worked at the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance since 2000 and is currently on special assignment to US DOE where he was brought in to reinvigorate their energy codes program. He holds an MS in Energy Management and Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Literature from the University of California, San Diego.

Making Art in the Anthropocene: Envisioning The Interventions of The Human Age, by Joseph Smolinski
Joseph Smolinski is Menakka and Essel Bailey '66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment and Lecturer in the Department of Art and Design at the University of New Haven.
His work has been shown both nationally and internationally in group exhibition venues that include Diverse Works in Houston, TX; MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; the McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown, OH; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; The Cleveland Institute of Art; and the Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT. Solo exhibition venues include Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA; Seton Gallery at the University of New Haven, CT; Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT; and ArtSpace in New Haven, CT. His work has been discussed in Art in America, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and Art Papers, among other publications. In 2012, he was awarded an artist fellowship from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts and an artist resource trust grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Saturday, November 3, 2013

Kinship with Nature in this Time of Loss: Can Animism Help Revitalise the Commons?
Dr. Deborah Bird Rose is the author the acclaimed Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction, published by University of Virginia Press (2011), the recently re-released ethnography Dingo Makes Us Human (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Country of the Heart: An Indigenous Australian Homeland (Aboriginal Studies Press 2009), Reports from a Wild Country: Ethics for Decolonisation (UNSW Press, 2004) and Nourishing Terrains (Australian Heritage Commission, 1996).  She has worked with Aboriginal people in their claims to land and in other decolonising contexts, and in both scholarly and practical arenas her work is focused on the entanglements of human and nonhuman lives and cultures.
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Re-imagining the Commons: Natural Resource Management or Biocultural Generation?
Dr. Frédérique Apffel-Marglin is Menakka and Essel Bailey '66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment and Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology at Smith College. She founded and directs the Sachamama Center for Biocultural Regeneration in the Peruvian High Amazon in 2009 where she works with indigenous communities. She is the author of Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World (Oxford U. Pr. New York, 2011); Rhythms of Life: Enacting the World with the Goddesses of Orissa (Oxford U. Pr. India, 2008), three more single authored books and eight edited volumes many of them critiques of the dominant onto-epistemology.
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Environmental Justice and Health Activism: Redefining Environment(s) and Crossing Borders, by Dr. Julie Sze
Dr. Julie Sze is an associate professor of American Studies at UC Davis. She also is the founding director of the Environmental Justice Project for UC Davis' John Muir Institute of the Environment. Sze's book. Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, won the 2008 John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, awarded annually to the best published book in American Studies. Her current research focuses on environmental inequality in the Central Valley Region of California and on eco-city development in China.
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Climate Collapse vs. Climate Justice: What's What, Who's Who, and What You Can Do, 
by Dr. Michael Dorsey
Dr. Michael Dorsey is visiting professor of Environmental Studies in the College of Environment. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (BS and PhD), Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (MFS) and Johns Hopkins University (MA). His research examines the interplay of climate change policy, finance, and social justice concerns. He is a co-founding board member of Islands First-a multilateral negotiating capacity building organization for small island developing states facing disproportinate threats from unfolding climate change.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Energy Revolution Will Not Be Tweetable:  The Energy Puzzle in More Than 140 Characters, 
by Lisa Margonelli
Gas at $3.50 a gallon is expensive, but its environmental, economic, political, and moral price is much higher. Journalist Lisa Margonelli gives a provocative tour of the true cost of gasoline--as bad for the citizens of the Middle East as it is for Americans-- and then explains we can change by looking at energy as a system and finding opportunities for mini revolutions in technology, policy, and behavior.

Presenter: Lisa Margonelli directs the Energy Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank in Washington DC. She is the publisher of The Energy Trap and blogs frequently at The Atlantic. Her book Oil On the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank, follows the oil supply chain from the gas station to oil fields around the world.

The Future of Nuclear Power Following the Fukushima Disaster, by Paul Gunter
The nuclear catastrophe is still widening around Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic power plant. The ongoing nuclear accident has created significant radioactive and political fallout in the midst of what industry had been touting as a “nuclear renaissance” of new reactor development. What are the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident? How is it affecting energy policy here in the United States and globally?

Presenter: Paul Gunter is a lead spokespeople in nuclear reactor hazards and security concerns. He acts as the regulatory watchdog over the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry. He is a 2008 recipient of the Jane Bagley Lehman Award from the Tides Foundation for environmental activism for his work on the nuclear power and climate change issue. He was a cofounder of the antinuclear Clamshell Alliance in 1976 to oppose the construction of the Seabrook (NH) nuclear power plant through non-violent direct action that launched the U.S. antinuclear movement. An environmental activist and energy policy analyst, he has been an ardent critic of atomic power development for more than 30 years.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Official Opening of the College of the Environment

Hunger in America: History, Politics, Context, and Consequences
by Dr. Katherine Alaimo, Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University
Dr. Alaimo studies the connections between social and economic environments and policies, and food security, community development and health. The organizing principles behind her work are that people are more likely to be healthy and practice healthy behaviors within supportive family and community environments, and that policies, particularly food and economic policies, can play a large role in cultivating those healthy environments. 

The Effects of Climate Change on Hunger
by Jonathan Dumont, Head of Television Communications, The United Nations World Food Programme
The number of storms, floods and drought that devastate crops, homes and lives has quadrupled in the last 30 years. In just the past few months floods have left 10 million people in need of food in Pakistan, bad harvests have left millions starving in the Sahel and drought threatens to raise the price of bread- possibly leading to food riots. Few organizations struggle with climate change as much as The World Food Programme. As the UN’s frontline emergency relief agency, WFP is the defacto canary in the coal mine as it responds to the effects that extreme weather has on nearly a billion people who live on the edge…one sixth of the world’s population who go to sleep hungry every night. As head of television communications for WFP, Jonathan Dumont frequently travels to that edge..trying to give a voice to those who have none.

Saturday, November 7, 2009 

Click here to watch 2009 Where on Earth Are We Going? video

Global Environmental Change and Freshwater Resources: Hope for the Best or Change to Prepare for the Worst?
Patrick L. Osborne, PhD
Executive Director, Harris World Ecology Center, University of Missouri-St. Louise Brown

Water in a Changing Climate – The Role of the National Forests in the Water Infrastructure
Frank H. McCormick, PhD
Program Manager, Air, Water and Aquatic Environments, Rocky Mountain Research Station

The 17th Annual Dwight Greene Symposium – Green the Ghetto and How Much It Won’t Cost Us
Majora Carter ‘88
President and CEO, The Majora Carter Group & Founder, Sustainable South Bronx and River Heroes

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Measuring and Modeling Climate Change
Johan Varekamp
Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science and Chairmen of the Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University

Implications of Changing Climates for Biodiversity: Considering Sea-Level Rise, Climate Change and Secondary Interactions
A. Townsend Peterson
University Distinguished Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Curator, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, University of Kansas

Biofuels: Threats and Opportunities
Joe Fargione
Regional Science Director, Nature Conservancy Central US Region

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Climate Policy: A Progress Report
Gary Yohe
Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, Wesleyan University
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The Many Psychologies of Global Warming Given The Hard Realities We Face
William Blakemore ’65
former Wesleyan Trustee and Television Correspondent for ABC News
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The Role of the Carbon Cycle in Global Warming
Dr. Richard A. Houghton, Deputy Director and Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts
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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Welcome by Douglas Bennet, President of Wesleyan University

Sally Smyth '07, Wesleyan University
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Failed and Failing States: A Growing Threat to Social Stability and Economic Progress
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute
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Healthy People 2100: Climate Change and Human Health
Kristie Ebi, ESS, LLC
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Global Climate Change and Hurricanes
Judith Curry, Georgia Institute of Technology
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Apocalypse Now or Brave New World? Two Scenarios for Social and Cultural Responses to Global Warming?
Alaka Wali, The Field Museum of Natural History

Concluding Remarks
John Hall, The Jonah Center for Earth and Art
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