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)

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