Date: February 21, 2012

A Lecture Lover’s Laud: Sustainability Talks at Tufts

Do you know that heavy cattle grazing can rejuvenate grassland and reverse desertification? I didn’t either – until I attended a presentation at the Fletcher School called “Reversing Global Warming and Desertification with Livestock? Counter Intuitive Thinking: A Futurist’s Inquiry.”

The talk given by the President of Planet-TECH Associates, Seth Itzkan, opened my eyes to the revolutionary new idea of Holistic Management, which has already been implemented in farms around the globe to astonishing success. The system, developed at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe, allows for (and may actually require) four times more cattle on a normal amount of grazing acreage than traditional ranching methods and quickly replenishes the soil fertility and water table to boot. All that’s required to transition to this system is additional manpower to rotate livestock in a pre-determined pattern.*

My point in sharing these fascinating “planned grazing” factoids is that I may never have encountered these ideas had I not gone out on a limb to visit Fletcher that day.  Everyone, including freshmen like me, can take advantage of speakers brought in by different organizations to the Tufts community, as events are generally open to the public. Many of these lectures focus on sustainability and discuss reforming current systems to pave the way for a better future. With such important and timely content, the talks tend to be eye-opening and in some cases groundbreaking, as Mr. Itzkan’s presentation was for me.  Who knows what a similar lecture could be for you? It could be anything from a fun supply of “brain candy” to the opportunity of a lifetime.

Regardless of what you do – whether you teach, study or work at Tufts – you won’t know what you are missing until you step out of the box and look around. There’s no shortage of chances to broaden your horizons. The Office of Sustainability promotes many events related to sustainability on our blog and website.

Check out some of the programs here at Tufts that sponsor ongoing lecture series:

The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP)

CEIRP’s Focus: International environment and resource issues
Upcoming Talk: Sustainable Development Diplomacy & Governance Program –  “International Resource Politics and Minerals: How does the Resource Nexus come in?” (Mar 1, 7pm)

Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE)

GDAE’s Focus: Integration of economics, policy, science and technology
Upcoming Talk: Brown-Bag Lunch Series – “The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture” (Mar 5, 12:30pm)

Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE)

TIE’s focus: Environmental education, research, outreach, and service
Upcoming Talk: TIE Talk – Mary Davis, Tufts UEP Professor, on her research in economics and public health (Mar 7, 4:30pm)

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI – US)

SEI’s focus: Changes in sustainable development by bridging science and policy
Past Talk: “The Social Cost of Carbon” (Sept 29, 2011)

Environmental Studies Program (ENVS)

ENVS’s focus: Training in social and natural sciences, engineering, and humanities
Upcoming Talk: Lunch and Learn – “Groundfishing in New England: Have the Managers Finally Gotten it Right?” (Mar 1, 12pm)

Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS)

WSSS’s focus: Interdisciplinary management of water related problems
Upcoming Talk: “Water in a New Era” (Mar 27, 3pm)

Each of them has its own specialties and flavor, so pick a lecture from each and see what fits your fancy!

*Want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of Allan Savory’s Holistic Management? Visit to expand your world.

March 14: BYL Cooking Class with Farm Share Produce

When: Wed, March 14 from 6:00-7:30 pm

Balance Your Life’s (BYL) cooking classes are back this semester! Their first one will take place on Wed, March 14, from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, featuring that week’s CSA farm share produce from Enterprise Farms! This will be a great opportunity to learn more about the Tufts farm share and how to tackle those fresh weekly goodies. Classes are free but have limited space.
Please sign up by emailing
IMPORTANT: Before you sign up, please make sure that you’re committed to coming. We put a lot of effort into these classes and appreciate your collaboration!

Apr 1 deadline – Recharge! Retreat 2012

Did you hear about last year’s ReCharge! Retreat? Wish you could have been there? Well you’re in luck! Applications for 2012’s ReCharge! Retreat are now open. Application deadline is April 1st, 2012.

This summer’s ReCharge! Retreat is scheduled for August 12-18, 2012. If you’re not familiar with ReCharge!, check out this video from the 2011 retreat made by Focus the Nation Roots Fellows The Perennials Project for a glimpse of the action.

Focus the Nation selects twenty students, five from each Quadrant, who show passion, dedication, and drive to accelerate the transition to clean energy. The one week retreat includes a balance of intellectual rigor, collaborative practices, reflection and physical activity as it applies to building our clean energy future. APPLY TODAY for your chance to be a part of this life changing opportunity!

Applicant Criteria and Selection Process
College students between the ages of 18-28 who have a passion for clean energy are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be available to participate in the entire retreat. The cost of participation is covered by Focus the Nation.

Focus the Nation has designed the ReCharge! Retreat to not only enhance and explore the deeper-set of skills needed for Clean Energy Leadership but also to provide a supportive framework through the Forum-to-Action (F2A) program to implement what you learn at the retreat in your own community when you return to your campus in the fall.

To be considered as a Delegate for the 2012 ReCharge! Retreat, students will have either participated in the F2A program in the past or will make a commitment to serve as a Focus Coordinator, team member or peer mentor in the 2012-2013 F2A program cycle.

Two letters of reference are required as a part of your ReCharge! Application. At the end of the online application there is a space to upload these documents.

an Academic Letter of Reference (from a professor, academic advisor, former teacher etc)
a Community Letter of Reference (from a member of an organization, neighbor, faith-based institution, volunteer coordinator etc.)
In addition to describing why you should be chosen as a 2012 ReCharge! Delegate, each letter must indicate the name, relationship and contact information of the person writing the recommendation.

Please contact us with any questions about the application criteria and/or selction process.

Applications Due: April 1, 2012
Focus the Nation is seeking a diversity of participants with equal representation of all four quadrants

  • 5 Technicians
  • 5 Innovators
  • 5 Politicos
  • 5 Storytellers

The participants selected will also represent economic and ethnic diversity and come from both 4-year and 2-year campuses in rural and urban environments.

All applications will be reviewed by our ReCharge! selection panel and decisions will be made on the basis of

  • meeting our diversity requirements
  • assessment of applicant’s leadership skills
  • passion for clean energy
  • positive personal and/or professional references.

2012 ReCharge! Delegates Selected: April 20, 2012