Category: Climate (page 3 of 16)

The Silver Lining for Climate in Politically Uncertain Times

Content based on the 150th Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn given to professors, staff, and students at Tufts University. Every week during the academic year, the Lunch & Learn lecture series features speakers from government, industry, academia and non-profit organizations to give presentations on environmental topics. This is a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge beyond the curriculum, meet other faculty and students and network with the speakers.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are welcome to attend this lecture series, which is co-sponsored by the Tufts Institute of the Environment and the Tisch College of Civic Life.


Climate Strategy During the Trump Years
Kenneth Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

The presidency of Donald Trump poses significant uncertainty about the extent to which the United States will continue to make progress on addressing climate change. Ken Kimmell will explore how the incoming administration might rollback policies that have been put in place to address climate change, and make it more difficult for future administrations to address the issue. He will also discuss the progress that is being made in states and regions of the country and the improving economics of clean energy. He will highlight the strategies that the Union of Concerned Scientists and others are likely to employ to limit the damage to our climate objectives and build upon the progress that is being made.

Like many of us, Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—a leading science-based nonprofit that combines the knowledge and influence of the scientific community with the passion of concerned citizens to build a healthy planet and a safer world—see the “dark cloud” surrounding the new political climate; however, Mr. Kimmell is hopeful that its “silver lining” will come in the form of positive change from the people.

In his talk at Alumnae Lounge this March, Ken discussed the darkness in terms of threatened democracy and a “very confused citizenry.” The new administration has been riddled by what Mr. Kimmell refers to as a “factless presidency,” upheld by “alternative facts” and dominated by the belief that climate change is a hoax. Meanwhile, Congress is increasingly captive to special interests that wish to deregulate industries and thwart protection of the environment and human health. And, every day an increasing amount of fake news is published in the media, leading the public to lose trust in the institutions of media, government, and academia to try to “separate fact from fiction.”

At the same time, climate change continues to be a reality faced by many. The Paris Agreement, a global agreement between 197 signatory countries to address and reduce climate change, makes ambitious goals for the U.S. Kimmell explains that this agreement has not been ratified through the Senate and with the new administration’s determination to repeal and prevent climate policy, it will be a great challenge to meet the goals set by the Paris agreement. The administration’s “scorched earth” tactics to dismantle comprehensive climate policy create a long lasting impact on the viability of climate policy. These tactics work hand-in-hand with the government’s “censorship of science” to created what Mr. Kimmell refers to as “Climate Denial 3.0,” in which people do not argue whether or not climate change exists, but instead feel that this determination and proceeding action cannot be made before further “debate and dialogue.” There is a real possibility more funding will be granted to the fringe theories in this “continuing debate,” creating propaganda that sows doubt instead of producing policy upheld by over 20 years of federally-collected data on climate change.

While it may seem a bleak future for the climate movement, Kimmell sees a silver lining in “opportunities to resist, build power, broaden the environmental movement, and revitalize it.” He observes that with “lightning speed, resistance is forming.” People are ready and organizing to mobilize, protect, and expose injustice in changes to federal policy. He also sees the court room as a safety net built into our government, as its decisions and actions are based in factual evidence for actions taken. While the federal government is lagging behind in climate leadership, many cities and states are taking initiative to create climate strategies and goals for increased reliance on renewable energy, clean energy job creation, carbon pricing, cap and trade, zoning codes for smart growth, diversion of food waste, and investment in public transport.

With all this to contend with, what can we do as residents, citizens, students, and academics? Kimmell advises us to lead by example within our institutions, mentioning as an example UCS’s recent divestment from fossil fuels. Another way to make change is to join local movements of resistance and get more civically engaged, contacting your members of Congress and local representatives. There are also national opportunities to stand up in resistance, including the March for Science—focusing on how science and academia can publish, communicate, and engage to reach the groups who need their help—and the People’s Climate March—working to acknowledge the issues of climate, justice, and jobs—both of which are coming up at the end of April.

We have the power to make our voices heard on climate change—a universal issue that “reaches across all people, animals, and landscapes,” and impacts disproportionately the health and security of low-income communities and communities of color. It is important that the environmental movement work with environmental justice communities to elevate the priority of climate change and resist deliberate inaction and oppression collectively.

 

Spring into Meatless Mondays

Eco Reps Meatless Monday Title Photo

Sometimes, it can feel like there isn’t much to be done as an individual seeking to combat the state of our environment, particularly as courses gear up and overwhelm students with reading, problem sets, papers, exams, and stress. If you are feeling a little lost or can’t find your place in the environmental movement, or you just want to talk to really cool, interesting, and motivated Jumbos, be sure to stop by Carm and Dewick between 5pm and 7pm on Monday nights. That’s right, this semester Eco-Reps are back at it again with the Meatless Mondays.

If you’ve ever walked into the dining hall around this time before, you have probably noticed a table of eager Eco-Reps asking you if you’ll eat meatless tonight. This semester, be sure to say hello and talk to them about any of your environmental interests, comments, questions, or concerns. Eco-Reps are a wonderful resource to us students on campus. They are here to help and support us through our semester in a more sustainable way. Each week, they will be talking to us about different environmental themes, including topics in sustainable agriculture. Take this opportunity to learn more about ways that you can make a difference in your daily choices!

 

Meet Your Eco Reps CTA

Stepping Back and Listening for the Silence

Stepping Back and Listening to the Silence Title Photo

Content based on an Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn Talk given to professors, staff, and students at Tufts University. Every week during the academic year, the ENVS Lunch & Learn lecture series features speakers from government, industry, academia and non-profit organizations to give presentations on environmental topics. This is a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge beyond the curriculum, meet other faculty and students and network with the speakers. This lecture series is co-sponsored by the Tufts Institute of the Environment and the Tisch College of Civic Life.


Listening for Justice: Place-based Humanities Education and Research
Emma Schneider, Department of English, Tufts University
Watch video

How are listening and literature part of promoting environmental justice? How can the imaginative space created by stories promote more equitable and sustainable ways of paying attention to each other and the environment? This presentation discusses how contemporary environmental justice writers ask their readers to listen beyond the powerful narratives that enable exploitative practices. We will think about the role of the humanities in environmental studies and education, particularly in terms of developing a sense of place and community grounded in justice and deep listening.

Do you ever stop to think about whose voices you do not hear? Or what narratives you are not exposed to in the media? How do you decipher “meaningful sound” from background noise?

These are some of the questions Emma Schneider, Ph.D candidate in the Department of English, asks us—a room full of academics in positions of privilege and power—to grapple with in her Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn Talk—Listening for Justice: Place-based Humanities Education and Research.

Environmental justice as defined by the EPA, “is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” This is to say that environmental degradation (pollution and resource abuse) and climate change disproportionately burden people of color and low-income communities. This movement aims to bring awareness to and address this economic and legal systematic oppression.

Schneider explains that when it comes to the environment and more specifically environmental and climate justice, we do not lack information or data; our missing link is conversation—a listening gap. She reminds us to listen to the web of different voices in our communities and their stories, because they can help us to re-envision and re-form our world.

As individuals with decision-making powers and privilege, our first response to a perceived lack of outcry at a decision or change is to assume that no one takes issue with it. What if we questioned the silence? Within our legal system, we tend to think of objection or speaking out as the responsibility of those who are affected by policy and decision making. Schneider explains that we tune out “meaningful sound” to calm our own fears and ignore the ways we may be benefiting while others suffer. It can be scary to listen to stories of violence and harm. However, it is pivotal to the survival of communities that people demonstrate courage and listen for these changes from within and outside of their communities. In fact, this important community knowledge can come from those who have experienced transitions to environmental degradation and can recall how the landscape of their community once were.

We are called to create space for those who have something to say, but aren’t being heard. In closing her presentation, Emma asks us “where are the places [in which] connections can be made or bridges can be formed in listening to the things that make us uncomfortable?”

Medford Conversations CTALunch and Learn CTA

Intern, MassDEP (Various Locations)

The Department of Environmental Protection is the state agency responsible for ensuring clean air and water, the safe management of toxics and hazards, the recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources. In an effort to assist MassDEP with its succession planning, MassDEP continues to recruit individuals who are interested in working and utilizing their skills in the environmental field. MassDEP is providing opportunities to undergraduate students, graduate students, law school students, and other individuals who are seeking experience in the environmental field.

Application Deadline: November 25th
Apply Online

Conference Scholarship, BuildingEnergy (Boston, MA)

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is now accepting scholarship applications for students to attend the BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show on March 8th, 2017. Current voc/tech, college, and graduate students passionate about renewable energy, sustainable building, and high-performance design are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. We are calling upon members of our extended community to help us spread the word to qualified students.
Application Deadline: November 30, 2016
Apply Online
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