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Convocations

Below, you can find a sampling of Carleton Convocation speakers who discuss issues relating to environment and sustainability.

  • Reunion 2017, Global Warming Presentation Still Image_Rob Paarlberg, '67
    Created 17 June 2017; Published 28 June 2017
    '67 Issues of Our Times: Global Warming
  • Nancy Hughes, founder and president of StoveTeam International
    Created 14 April 2017; Published 14 April 2017
    Convocation: Nancy Hughes

    Founder of StoveTeam International, Nancy Hughes helps Latin American entrepreneurs establish factories for safe and fuel-efficient cookstoves.

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Kelsey Timmerman
    Created 20 February 2015; Published 23 February 2015
    Convocation: Kelsey Timmerman

    Kelsey Timmerman, an investigative journalist who has trekked the planet, puts a human face on the global economy in his presentation titled "Where Am I Wearing? Where Am I Eating?"

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Robert Paarlberg ’67
    Created 17 October 2014; Published 21 October 2014
    Convocation: Robert Paarlberg ’67

    Robert Paarlberg ’67, a researcher on food and agricultural policy, with a focus on farming technologies and poverty in the developing world, discusses "The Political Fight over Food and Farming: Who is Winning?" 

  • Emily Hunter
    Created 24 February 2012; Published 20 February 2012
    Convocation: Emily Hunter

    Emily Hunter is an environmental advocacy journalist who reports from the frontlines of environmental issues and activist movements. Hunter’s 2011 book, The Next Eco-Warriors: 22 Young Women and Men Who Are Saving the Planet, is an insider’s look at the new wave of environmental activism, focusing on the stories of today's youth eco-activists. She makes absolutely clear that youth are out there in force, trying every creative tactic they can think of to safeguard the planet on which they will live out their lives.

    Hunter is no stranger to the activist world. She was literally born into the environmental movement, as her parents Robert and Bobbi Hunter were the co-founders of Greenpeace. She has sailed around the world on activist ships with Sea Shepherd helping to save animals and fighting against climate change with 350.org. Today, her change making is with eco-journalism, informing and offering critical debate on the battle to save the planet. Hunter has hosted and co-produced three TV-documentaries, ranging from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Toronto G20 protests; she was one of the characters on the hit Animal Planet show Whale Wars; and she has done eco-reporting from protest frontlines at climate summits. Hunter reflects on the history and evolution of the environmental movement as a backdrop for examining where it is today and the emergence of a new generation of change-makers. The title of her presentation was "Revolutionizing the Revolution."

  • "High priest of the pasture," Joel Salatin
    Created 17 February 2012; Published 20 February 2012
    Convocation: Joel Salatin

    Joel Salatin is a self-described "environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer," or as the New York Times calls him, "the high priest of the pasture." Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm, arguably the nation's most famous farm since it was profiled in Michael Pollan's bestseller, The Omnivore's Dilemma and two subsequent documentaries, Food, Inc., and Fresh. Differing from today's industrial commodity-based machine-driven farms, Polyface is a local, pasture-based, relationally oriented farm. Salatin's innovative farming system—where the animals live according to their "ness," the earth is used for symbiosis, and happiness and health is key—has gained attention from around the country. Recognition for his ecological and local-based farming advocacy includes an honorary doctorate, the Heinz Award, and many leadership awards. Salatin has also authored seven books on alternative farming and sustainability issues.

    While most Americans seem to think our techno-glitzy, disconnected, celebrity-worshipping culture will be the first to sail off into a Star Trek future unencumbered by ecological umbilicals, Salatin bets that the future will instead incorporate more tried-and-true realities from the past. Ours is the first culture with no chores for children, cheap energy, heavy mechanization, computers, supermarkets, TV dinners and unpronounceable food. Although he doesn't believe that we will return to horses and buggies, washboards, and hoop skirts, Salatin believes we will go back in order to go forward, using technology to re-establish historical normalcy. That normalcy will include edible landscapes, domestic larders, pastured livestock, solar driven carbon cycling for fertility, and a visceral relationship with life’s fundamentals: food, energy, water, air, soil, fabric, shelter. We may as well get started enthusiastically than be dragged reluctantly into this more normal existence. The title of Salatin's presentation was "Folks, This Ain't Normal."

  • Dave Meslin
    Created 13 January 2012; Published 26 January 2012
    Convocation: Dave Meslin

    Dave Meslin, journalist and grassroots activist, calls himself a "community choreographer." Meslin's activism started with guerilla-style street antics. Painting bike lanes directly onto the street, altering billboards, and hanging pictures of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton over "Post no Bills" signs were all part of his repertoire. In 1998, he organized the first "Reclaim the Streets" demonstration in Toronto. Seeing hundreds of people dancing in the street without a permit was motivation enough to continue organizing. Watching the police shut down the party and arrest many of the celebrants was a motivation to explore new ways to organize.

    Chosen as one of the Top Ten Activists of the year by NOW Magazine in 2000, Meslin went on to form the Toronto Public Space Committee, successfully rallying a growing group of volunteers to wage war against the commercialization of public space. During the next five years, the Committee became one of the most effective unfunded non-profits in Toronto. In 2006, Meslin coordinated a project called "Who Runs This Town?", a campaign aimed at injecting some fun and creativity into the 2006 municipal elections in Toronto, including "City Idol," an attempt to get alienated citizens to explore and share their political ideas by competing for a spot on City Council in front of a live audience. Meslin believes passionately in getting involved in civic affairs, and demonstrates what can be accomplished through advocacy with dedication, imagination, and hard work. He seeks to build a culture of political engagement in our communities by offering an antidote to apathy. The title of his presentation was "Under the Surface: The Unlimited Potential of Community Organizing."

  • Annie Leonard
    Created 13 May 2011; Published 17 May 2011
    Convocation: Annie Leonard

    A proponent of sustainability and critic of excessive consumerism, Annie Leonard is most known for her animated film “The Story of Stuff” about the life-cycle of material goods. This hit 20-minute webfilm takes viewers on a provocative and eye-opening tour of the often hidden costs of our consumer driven culture. “The Story of Stuff” has generated over 10 million views in more than 200 countries and territories since its launch, making it one of the most successful environmental-themed viral films of all time. The film has also won numerous awards, and in 2008 Leonard was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment. Leonard has spent nearly two decades investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues, traveling to over 40 countries to visit the factories where our stuff is made and the dumps where it ends up. As she explores how our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health, she offers a vision for change and a sense of hope that we can find a more sustainable way to meet our material needs. The title of her presentation was "The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health—And How We Can Make It Better."

  • Meg Lowman, a tropical rainforest canopy biologist and professor at New College of Florida,
    Created 22 April 2011; Published 29 April 2011
    Convocation: Margaret Lowman

    Climbing trees for a living is the job of Meg Lowman, who for 30 years has designed new methods for exploration of the rain forest canopy and solved mysteries in the treetops of the world’s forests, with special attention on the links between insect pests and ecosystem health. Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology, designing methods and protocols for research in the rain forest canopy using a variety of techniques, including rope walkways and hot air balloons. She relentlessly works to “map” the canopy for biodiversity and to champion forest conservation around the world. Her international network and passion for science have led her into leadership roles where she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges. Lowman serves as Director of the Nature Research Center and is also Research Professor of Natural Sciences at North Carolina State University where she focuses on initiatives involving science communication to the public. The title of her presentation was "Life in the Treetops: Conservation of the World's Rain Forests."

  • Dennis Meadows, Class of 1964
    Created 1 April 2011; Published 5 April 2011
    Convocation: Dennis Meadows '64

    Dennis Meadows ’64, a scientist who has spent decades studying the Earth’s capacity to endure human population growth and extractive economies, believes it is too late to stop climate change. Meadows and colleagues from the Club of Rome, a think tank focused on global challenges, produced a report in 1972 called "The Limits of Growth." Their research concluded humans and their economies would outstrip the earth's resources if growth wasn't limited. They updated the report in 2004 and found that on a planet-wide scale, humans had not made much progress on saving the Earth's resources. Consequently, he suggests ways communities and nations can begin adjusting to climate change, peak oil, less water and other realities. The title of his presentation was "Preparing for Life with MUCH Less Energy."

  • Robert Bullard
    Created 22 October 2010; Published 1 November 2010
    Convocation: Robert Bullard

    Father of the environmental justice movement and human rights activist, Robert Bullard leads the fight to protect disempowered communities. He is the author of a multitude of books that address issues of sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. Many of his books have become standard texts in the environmental justice field.

    Currently serving as the Ware Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, Bullard is also one of the planners of the First and Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, and has also served on the U.S. EPA National Environment Justice Advisory Council where he chaired the Health and Research Subcommittee. The title of his presentation was "Environmental Justice for All."

  • Richard Moss, Carleton Class of 1977
    Created 30 April 2010; Published 24 May 2010
    Convocation: Richard Moss '77

    Richard Moss (Carleton Class of 1977) works at the intersection of climate science and policy as Senior Scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland. He directed the U.S. government's climate research program from 2000-2006 (spanning the Clinton and Bush administrations) and led preparation of a number of reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 1993-1998. He also led climate change programs at the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations Foundation. Moss remains active in the IPCC and attended the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2007, when IPCC shared the award with Al Gore. He is also active in the climate research committees of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. An English literature major at Carleton, Moss received his Ph.D. in public policy from Princeton before delving into climate change research. Moss’ experiences demonstrate the value of a liberal arts education and Carleton's distribution requirements! The title of his presentation was "What Do We Need to Know to Act on Climate Change?"

  • Created 14 September 2009; Published 15 September 2009
    Opening Convocation: Gary Nabhan

    Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD, is an Arab-American writer, lecturer, food and farming advocate, rural lifeways folklorist, and conservationist who has been called the "father of the local food movement." His Opening Convocation address was titled "Renewing America's Food Traditions."

    Gary Nabhan has authored more than twenty books on natural and cultural history, conservation, and sustainable agriculture. In addition, he has lectured at universities in Mexico, Lebanon, Peru, Oman, Guatemala, and Italy, including Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo. For his literary work and his grassroots conservation and community-based ethnobiology projects, Nabhan has been honored with the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing, a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship in Conservation and Environment, and a Quivira Coalition award for excellence in science that contributes to “the radical center.”

    Dr. Nabhan recently accepted a tenured professorship as a Research Social Scientist based at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona, his alma mater.

  • Created 24 April 2009; Published 5 May 2009
    Convocation: Robert Oden III

    Robert Oden III is a Senior Commercialisation Manager at EcoSecurities, one of the world's leading companies in the business of originating, developing and trading carbon credits. The last 10 years has seen EcoSecurities involved in the development of many of the global carbon market’s most important milestones, including developing the world’s first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project to be registered under the Kyoto Protocol, and the first to be issued with carbon credits. Today, the company is working on over 400 projects in 36 countries using 18 different technologies, with the potential to generate more than 142 million carbon credits. A 1993 graduate of Harvard University and the son of Carleton president Robert Oden Jr., Oden's presentation was titled "The Business (?) of Saving the Planet (??)."

  • Created 27 February 2009; Published 5 March 2009
    Convocation: Kent Wommack

    Kent Wommack has worked since 1982 for The Nature Conservancy, and is often credited with changing the scale of conservation projects in this country by leading some of the Conservancy's largest, most complex and innovative projects. The world's leading conservation organization, the Conservancy works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Since its founding in 1951, they have protected more than 117 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide, and they operate more than 100 marine conservation projects in all 50 states and more than 30 countries. The success of the Conservancy is due to their science-based approach, aided by their more than 700 staff scientists. They pursue non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges, partnering with indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, and other non-profits. The title of his presentation was "Conservation as if Nature and People Both Mattered".

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