TEA Newsletter – 14th Edition – Spring 2013

Table of Contents

I. Welcome Letter from the Steering Committee
II. Tufts Institute of the Environment Update
III. Alumni Interview: Michael Zwirn from Marine Conservation Institute
IV. An Environmental Education, No Matter Your Field
V. Where Are They Now? with the Class of 1988
VI. Highway Safety Requires More Than a Seat Belt: CAFEH Study Examines Highway Pollution
VI. Recent TIE Events and Cosponsorships
VII. Upcoming TIE Events

Welcome Back, Tufts Environmental Alumni!

I hope this message finds you all well and safe and sound, wherever in the world you may be receiving it. In regards to the events in Boston these last few weeks, suffice it to say that for me, the various communities of which I am a part – TEA included – have been a source of connection and strength, and I wish the same support for all of you.

On April 23rd, TEA welcomed Michelle DePass back to campus as our spring keynote. Speaking about her role as Assistant Administrator for the Office of International and Tribal Affairs at the US EPA, Michelle explained the links between environmentalism and democracy, the way transparency builds trust, and how public participation creates solid partnerships and successful outcomes. Michelle’s presentation was interactive; she was completely at ease in front of the audience and seemed genuinely interested in listening and sharing experiences. With almost 50 people in attendance, there was a lively Q & A after her remarks, which continued on into the networking session afterward. Overall, a very successful evening!

In June, TEA will again put on a nature walk, this year to the Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. Once the exact date has been determined, we’ll send out an announcement.

On behalf of the steering committee, I hope you enjoy this newsletter, and we’d love to see you at an event in the future.

All my best,

Libby Mahaffy (G’11) on behalf of the TEA Steering Committee

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Hello from TIE!

It’s been a busy few months at our office. Since the last newsletter we hosted three more TIE Talks and heard some very different perspectives on environmental issues from academics in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at Tufts and from the Friedman School. We would love to see all of you at our TIE Talks in the future!

The 4th Annual WSSS Symposium, “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: The Future of Water and Food Production,” was a day of discussion and panels. Many thanks to all of our speakers, and to our Keynote Speaker Roberto Lenton of the Water for Food Institute.  We also co-sponsored the Tufts Energy Conference, Environmental Career Night and Bike Week, where we showed off TIE’s bike-powered generator.

In between all that, we took time to speak with alumni such as Michael Zwirn, Director of Development for the Marine Conservation Institute. With Tufts graduation in just a few weeks, we also spoke with 3 Tufts Alumni from the class of 1988, and asked them to reflect on environmental education at Tufts – 25 years later! Finally, this issue contains some of the newest findings of the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH) study at Tufts and a look at the unique way CAFEH researchers gathered information.

Thanks for your time, and enjoy! If you would like to let us know how we can improve the newsletter, please fill out this form.

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Fundraising for Conservation: Turning Personal Involvement into Philanthropic Contributions

by Caroline Incledon

 

Michael Zwirn, Fletcher School ’01 with a degree in International Environment and Resource Policy, currently works for the Marine Conservation Institute, a nonprofit that strives to protect, maintain, and recover oceans. As Director of Development, Michael builds relations with organizations and individuals to build support and secure funding that advances the Marine Conservation Institute’s conservation projects. Michael has over 15 years of experience in international environmental protection, policy, and advocacy, and has held positions at Wild Salmon Center, Wildlife Alliance, and the Global Environment Facility. Recently, he spoke with TIE Communication Intern Caroline Incledon about his past at Tufts, his present job, and the future of the oceans.

 

What Fletcher class is a must for those interested in your work?
A core course, Elements of International Environmental Policy, was taught by Bill Moomaw, and covered foundations of international environmental and resource issues. It was a critical class that shaped an interdisciplinary approach to environmental resource issues. It covered the interplay between scientific research, policy/decision-making, and economic and social actors regarding natural resource issues. Later, I took a vital course in International Environmental Negotiations taught by Moomaw and Larry Suskind from MIT, at Harvard Law School. That helped shape my thesis on environmental issues in the Middle East.

Before working at the Marine Conservation Institute, you worked at the Wild Salmon Center and in other positions relating to fisheries and ocean conservation policy. What drew you to marine conservation?
When I moved to Oregon I found that there was a lot of interest in international salmon conservation so I worked in the marine industry and conservation industry with the Wild Salmon Center. While there, I worked on policy issues related to salmon fisheries and conservation in Russia, as well as habitat issues facing salmon such as river construction, energy development, and infrastructure. When I eventually came to the Marine Conservation Institute it was predominantly because of my background in fundraising. However, my previous experiences gave me the substantive knowledge about fisheries and international conservation. This, combined with my knowledge of US government agencies and international organizations all made me suitable for the job.

What are the Marine Conservation Institute’s top two priorities, from both an environmental and fundraising standpoint?
The main fundraising priority for us is diversifying our funding base. The environmental funding base is primarily driven by foundations that have supported land and water resource conservation since the 1960s and 70s. A lot of people like the idea of protecting the oceans, stopping overfishing, and reducing marine debris. But how many people feel that is an idea they want to be personally or philanthropically involved in? The primary conservation issue for us (and other conservation groups) is figuring out how to work with the US government to advance marine conservation goals. Even though the US government led the global conservation movement from the 1960s onward, it has been playing a backseat role recently. In the marine setting, that means there have been no new National Marine Sanctuaries created in more than 13 years due to an informal congressional moratorium, and US leadership on high seas marine issues has been stymied by refusal to join the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

You work with foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals who have different priorities and knowledge of marine conservation.  How do you bridge these gaps, and how do you convince these groups that marine conservation should be a priority?
Foundations that fund marine conservation are often very knowledgeable about the field (they have experts and advisors) so they don’t necessarily need to be educated. Many of them are setting up their own grant-making priorities or have thought through their own approaches to the problem. If your priorities and approaches overlap with theirs, you can often access their funding. This tends to happen with institutional fundraising. With individuals and corporations, fundraising depends on making a persuasive case. A person rarely has money in his or her pocketbook that they allocate to ocean conservation. Instead, that person needs to be persuaded that oceans are important and that your organization’s approach to helping the oceans is a good one.

News about oceans is generally quite negative – we hear stories of acidification, coral reef loss, overfishing to the point of ecosystem collapse, marine life species dying out, etc. How do you maintain hope?
What inspires me about oceans is that while many broad-based ocean issues continue to show terrible decline, there are pockets of real success. When places are protected against proximate threats, like near term overfishing or bottom trawling, and when they are established as strong and well-managed reserves, those places tend to recover pretty well. The problem is, there aren’t enough of those places. And, if the ocean as a whole continues to suffer from the effects you’ve mentioned, it is frightening to consider what will happen even in those well-protected areas.
There is opportunity for hope, especially when we see positive signs such as the recovery of the whale population. But we do need to deal with the global threats and that’s where international diplomacy comes into play. We have some hard work ahead of us.
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An Environmental Education, No Matter Your Field

At Tufts, the environment is a key theme in all courses and departments, as Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute has been working to expand interdisciplinary environmental education since 2008.

by Caroline Incledon 

 

On a warm summer day in 2011, a group of professors, faculty, and graduate students from Tufts University toured Waltham Fields Community Farm, learning about its community supported agriculture (CSA) program. These diverse individuals from 5 departments and 3 schools at Tufts listened as a farm employee explained how shareholders pay local farmers up front in return for fresh produce. As Professor Michael Reed of the Department of Biology said, “The field trip was marvelous.  We got to see and hear about research in the field, and a hands on regarding the farm coop.  It’s always good to get students (and faculty) into the field.” They were brought together by Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute (TELI), a week-long workshop hosted by Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) that brings together members from Tufts to enhance their understanding of environmental issues and then provide them with the tools to incorporate these themes into their academic work and everyday life. The theme of that year’s workshop was  “Environmental Literacy in the 21st Century: Reality, Perceptions & Education,” and Waltham Fields Community Farm modeled ways to foster community involvement and education around environmental issues.

Generating environmental discussion among an interdisciplinary group of professors and students is not new for Tufts. TELI began in 1990 under then-Dean of Environmental Programs Tony Cortese, and took on its current form in 2008 with funding from TIE. Over the years, the workshops have been enormously successful. Professors are able to network with colleagues interested in environmental issues, and are supported in incorporating environmental issues into their courses. As one 2008 TELI participant noted, “A big benefit of the group was that it was a mixed group from Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry; the whole spectrum of educators added to the value.” This value is evident in participants’ classrooms and research after attending TELI — 58% of TELI participants have gone on to collaborate with each other on grant proposals and through interdisciplinary teaching. Similar success has been found in integrating sustainability into course syllabi. Of the more recent TELI workshops, 80% of participants had plans to incorporate what they had learned into courses they taught. Each participant commits to changing one course, but in the past, participants have altered up to four, meaning Tufts students are increasingly exposed to environmental themes in all areas of academia.

Unsurprisingly, similar programs have emerged at other universities as a result of TELI’s success and the increasing public awareness surrounding sustainability and the need for environmental education. UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability offers $1,200 grants to professors who agree to integrate sustainability into their courses.[1] Since 2009, University of Maryland’s Chesapeake Project has offered a  2-day workshop geared towards faculty members on integrating sustainability into the curriculum.[2] At the University of Pennsylvania, the Green Campus Partnership pairs faculty members with selected students for eight weeks who provide assistance with integrating sustainability into all aspects of a course. Universities are also looking off-campus for sustainability collaborations and ideas, as evidenced by an April 2011 conference at Luther College that was attended by St. Olaf, Macalester, and Carleton College administrators and faculty. The goal of this event was to educate participants on new developments in sustainability education and share best practices on teaching sustainability.[3] Many  of these schools are achieving results similar to those that TIE has seen over the years. The “Piedmont Project” at Emory University began educating faculty on integrating sustainability into the curriculum as early as 2001, and has determined that 60% of their participants felt their new knowledge of sustainability was leading them in interesting new academic directions. By 2008,  79% of Emory departments had at least one course related to sustainability.[4]

The trend of increasing sustainability workshops and faculty education regarding environmental issues is likely to continue, as climate change issues in education become more pressing and universities see the many tangible benefits of implementing such programs. Since its creation in 1990, the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute has continued to see interdisciplinary environmental successes, such as increased environmental course offerings, and high student demand for these courses. Tufts’ former president Lawrence Bacow and current President Anthony Monaco have regularly attended the TELI workshops, and participation continues to expand. Even with such success, TELI continues to innovate. Through a grant from USAID, the 2013 Institute will include faculty from Africa and Southeast Asia, where the need for educational development is strong. The theme of this year’s TELI is “One Health,” and will focus on the intersection of environmental, human, and animal health.  Specifically, Africa has been the hub of climate change impact, and increasing education and understanding of climate change in the region could unlock incredible potential. This change reflects TIE’s engagement on a global scale, and its commitment to broad thinking and large-scale impact.

Undoubtedly TELI will continue to develop as a leader in interdisciplinary environmental education. The workshop has already facilitated the collaboration of faculty and the introduction of environmental themes and awareness into the curriculum and across campus. TELI’s greatest success might be its demonstration of not just the importance, but also the benefit, environmental awareness has on a range of departments. As one 2012 participant noted on the last day of the workshop, “including environmental issues in our teaching could enable us both to impart needed content while honing  the discipline-specific skills our students need.”[5]

[1] http://www.environment.ucla.edu/news/article.asp?parentid=16158
[2] http://www.sustainability.umd.edu/content/curriculum/chesapeake_project.php

[5] http://sites.tufts.edu/teli2012/

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Where Are They Now? with the Class of 1988

With Tufts graduation approaching, TIE got in touch with Tufts graduates from the Class of 1988. Rachel Fleishman, John Rumpler, and Dorian Young spoke with us about how their times at Tufts developed the environmental passions and careers they still have – 25 years later.


An Ellis Oval homecoming scene looks almost exactly the same 30 years ago as it does today.
Tom Hart. “Crowd at a football game, homecoming.” 1983. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA. http://hdl.handle.net/10427/707 (March 25th, 2013).

 

Rachel Fleishman (International Relations and History)

 

What are you currently doing professionally in the environmental field and how did your Tufts background help you to get there?
My environmental career grew from the discovery of international relations and nuclear diplomacy at Tufts during the height of the Cold War.  Coming of age intellectually under the influence of a few stellar professors, I was determined to help put an end to the existential threat of nuclear annihilation. After getting a graduate degree in public policy / national security studies, I scored a spot on an arms control delegation going to Geneva to negotiate with the Soviets.  Then the Soviet Union fell apart.  I landed in the office of the new Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security with the task of tracking the development of another impending existential threat: environmental degradation. Today, it’s evident that business has a critical role to play to halt environmental degradation.  I direct the Climate Change Business Forum in Hong Kong, a non-profit leadership and learning platform for corporations operating in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

In your opinion, how has Tufts’ environmental focus changed since you were a student?
A lot! And honestly, I haven’t been able to keep up. But the high-adrenaline, real-time/real-world interdisciplinary learning pioneered by Sherman Teichman at EPIIC has been complemented by the many cross-functional learning opportunities that Tufts has created in environment and health, environment + science/society, environment + diplomacy, etc. I’m proud to be associated with such a fantastic university!

John Rumpler (History and Philosophy)

 

What are you currently doing professionally in the environmental field and how did your Tufts background help you to get there?
I am senior attorney at Environment America, a federation of state-based, citizen supported environmental advocacy groups. In that role, I coordinate the organization’s work on clean water, and my primary focus recently has been working to stop the dirty drilling practice known as fracking. When I was at Tufts, we had a large and vibrant chapter of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) on campus. Through MASSPIRG, I had the opportunity to work on some of the biggest environmental campaigns of the day and take on incredible leadership opportunities. After graduation, I went on to work for the PIRGs in various roles for several years. My experience with MASSPIRG at Tufts was the defining moment in my career path to become an environmental advocate. 

In your opinion, how has Tufts’ environmental focus changed since you were a student?
Back in the era of environmental disasters such as A Civil Action (Woburn, MA) and Love Canal (Niagara, NY), the focus of student activism at Tufts was part of a powerful new citizens’ movement to confront the thousands of toxic chemicals that threaten our health every day. Now, of course, global warming is a central concern of environmental activists at Tufts, and the Office of Sustainability has institutionalized environmental change on campus. And while I do believe there is much more we can and should do at Tufts to become a true leader on the environment, I think Tufts aspires to embody the adage “think globally, act locally.”

Dorian Young Esq. (History and English)


What are you currently doing professionally in the environmental field and how did your Tufts background help you to get there?

As an attorney, I handle all manner of environmental law and other regulatory and federal appellate matters for corporate clients within the wonderfully green state of Oregon, as well as nationally.  Also, as a law professor, I have instructed law students on the finer points of current and emerging national and international environmental legal issues and developments—among other core legal subjects. Tufts University was, and is, an open-minded, enlightened, and challenging environment with a superb faculty.  As a student, I was always encouraged to think for myself and to stay well-informed. It was within this crucible that my existing awareness of, and fight for, a cleaner environment was refined and enhanced.  Fostering a cleaner environment is increasingly viewed as (1) a human right and responsibility, (2) a responsibility shared by all nations, and (3) the ethical, moral, and fair legacy to pass on to future generations.

In your opinion, how has Tufts’ environmental focus changed since you were a student?

Tufts as a community of thoughtful, proactive intellectuals was, and remains, in the forefront of American universities committed to a well-protected and thriving environment.  Tufts students, professors, and alumni throughout the world act as catalysts to improve the state of the environment through work on such things as cutting edge “green technologies,” vigorous and constant local and federal oversight and policy debates, refining and adapting out-dated methodologies, regulatory reform and enforcement, international treaties, and myriad other forms of concrete action.  While I claim no expertise on all current Tufts events/developments, my sense is that Tufts will continue to produce environmentally conscious and responsible individuals who are fully alert and aware of their intrinsic and profound duty to deliver a cleaner environment to future generations.

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Highway Safety Requires More Than a Seat Belt: CAFEH Study Examines Highway Pollution

An inside look at the cross-school and community collaboration that made this study possible, and key takeaways as an initial portion of the project nears completion. 

by Caroline Incledon

By the end of this academic year, the initial portion of the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH) study, headed by Tufts’ Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine Doug Brugge, will reach completion. Since its start in 2008 with a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health, the study has compiled one of the most comprehensive data sets available on highway air quality and associated cardiovascular health risks. What is not immediately evident from this impressive dataset, however, are the many participants — across Tufts schools, departments, and the surrounding community — that have made these results possible.

Community Collaboration

The project has been collaborative from the beginning. It was conceptualized by a community organization, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership  (STEP), that approached Brugge about potentially researching the health effects of local pollution from highway traffic in Somerville. Immediately interested, Brugge suggested expanding the project to include monitoring pollution along the I-93 corridor in Somerville,  Dorchester, and Chinatown. Other community partners quickly signed  on, and members of the Chinese Progressives Association, the Committee for Boston Public Housing, and the Chinatown Resident Association helped draft the final proposal. These groups are still involved today as leaders on the project’s Steering Committee.

Community partnerships remained crucial in the next phase of the process, which required a “very ambitious” collection of data, according to Brugge. Aside from monitoring air quality throughout the three study areas, the researchers also wanted to collect interviews and medical information such as blood samples from local citizens. As Ellin Reisner of STEP noted, “I think all of (the community partners) played a major role in making the recruitment aspect of participation more successful. We know our communities and we were able to facilitate the recruitment in a way that people working in an academic setting don’t understand.”

The field team that gathered anecdotal and medical information from local residents was also drawn from the community. Brugge noted that they “made an effort to recruit field team members who represented the diversity of the community.” Finding and placing recruiters “who were culturally congruent with the populations they were trying to recruit and matching recruiters with the people they were most likely to be successful with” led to a very effective recruitment.

Recruiters worked in six different languages using this targeted approach to gather information from about 700 people, obtaining blood samples from around 450 of these participants.

On the highway monitoring side, data collection was equally intensive. Using a specially-built van with sensors for ultra-fine particles, teams of drivers went out on air monitoring excursions lasting 5 to 6 hours on more than 100 days in the surrounding neighborhoods. Air monitors were placed at six locations that measured continuously, and a small number of monitors were also placed inside homes.

Although it “was a challenging effort to collect all of this data,” Brugge mentions, it was made easier because “we operated as a community-based participatory research project, in that the community members and our partner organizations were full members of the steering committee and co-investigators in the study.”

An Interdisciplinary, Cross-School Component

The academic team tackling data analysis was also highly collaborative, including a number of researchers, consultants and a large student contribution from schools such as Tufts, Boston University, Harvard, and Brown. With undergraduate, masters level, PhD, and postdoctoral involvement at all levels (students handled some of the data gathering, management, cleaning, and almost all of the analysis), Brugge remarked that “over the course of this project I have gained an incredible respect for the work that the students do.”

More than thirty undergraduates and graduate students from Tufts have been involved in the project since it started, and many have completed senior or masters theses during their involvement. Four student papers have been accepted or are in print, and one is currently under review. The range of work that students have done “has all helped the project,” Brugge notes, and “benefited the students, too – “they’ve gotten publications, graduate degrees, undergraduate theses, recommendations, faculty positions after finishing their PhD, accepted into medical school – all kinds of things.”

One such student is Allison Patton, PhD candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering, who creates representations of the ultrafine particle results that are then put into exposure models. She works with another PhD student who does health analyses, Kevin Lane (a graduate of Tufts Urban Environmental Policy Planning Masters program and a current student at Boston University), and the two keep in touch frequently to refine both their methods. So far, she’s helped the study to successfully build a Somerville model that can predict ultrafine particle pollution at any hour of the day, which is being used to begin comparing health outcomes to ultrafine particle concentrations. Allison feels “the project has been able to be so ambitious and effective because we have such an interdisciplinary team.”

The Results

As the current air monitoring phase of the project nears its end, it is clear that the interdisciplinary and community-based team has amassed  “one of the densest near highway monitoring data sets that there is,” according to Brugge. This data contains telling information about  ultrafine particulates, specifically how they change with geospatial and temporal variations (over space and time). So far, it’s clear that distance from traffic is a key component, that all major roadways contribute to the problem, and that weather — wind speed, wind direction, and temperature — are substantial factors in when and where the particles are found in higher concentration.

The study is also looking into the relationship between pollution and long-term health effects. Their data has already “added to the existing knowledge that can eventually lead to better protection of human health,” says Patton. While there is only a singular published health finding so far,  Brugge says that the team is seeing associations between proximity to traffic and exposure to ultrafine particles and markers of cardiovascular risk. Here, the blood samples and interview data that the team worked so hard to collect can provide valuable information. Graduate students are developing statistical models to measure these associations and control for other factors that contribute to cardiovascular risk, such as stress level and diet.

With a new grant from the Kresge Foundation, CAFEH is moving in a policy and practice direction as some aspects of their research draw to a close. The Kresge grant will go towards looking into changes that could be implemented around highways in Somerville and Chinatown in an effort to protect people who are spending time near them. After years of research, Brugge and Patton already have some ideas on what can be done to mitigate air pollution effects. Patton says her group is “testing HEPA filters to see if they effectively remove a large fraction of the particles and whether this improves cardiovascular health. People can also decrease their exposure to traffic-related pollution by exercising farther from busy roads and at times other than the morning rush hour.”

From the community perspective, this next stage of research is especially exciting. Ms. Reisner said she’s always been interested in how the study could affect decision making about where to build sensitive use areas such as housing or parks, and how to reduce pollution on both a local and national scale. Already, she has been able to use preliminary CAFEH findings at local assemblies, like a recent meeting in city hall regarding new housing development on the McGrath highway, where she recommended the construction of ventilation systems into housing plans. “We have also,” she stated, “been trying to raise awareness among the legislative delegation in Somerville about having people living next to highways and what the effects are.” So far, the community appears receptive.

Whatever data or policies emerge, the study has already successfully shifted the discussion of highway design as a way of benefiting communities, rather than people in cars. By focusing in on the damaging concentrations of ultrafine particles, their deleterious health effects, and increasing knowledge around effective ways to combat pollution, the study has broadened dialogue and understanding. While Reisner acknowledged, “there is still a lot of work to do to bring this to the attention of people,” the CAFEH study has proven that the data on this topic is rich, and illustrated how a project that includes the local community and an interdisciplinary group of academics may have the best success in researching it.

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Recent TIE Events and Cosponsorships

TIE Talk February with Professor Mary Shultz 2/6/13: TIE  hosted Dr. Mary Shultz, Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Tufts, who discussed her work improving the cleanliness of water using nonlinear laser spectroscopy. By applying this chemical technique to the reactions and interactions on the surface of the photocatalyst Ti02, she has begun to enhance the efficiency of environmentally friendly TiO2, with the goal of generating a viable material for cleaning water. Professor Shultz discussed the difficulties in and chemical solutions for cleaning contaminated water, and discussed the importance of doing so for furthering global health. 

TIE Talk March with Professor Sean Cash 3/13/13: In his talk titled, “Who Values Clean Water More: the Rich or the Poor,” Cash (a Professor in Friedman’s Agriculture, Food, and Environment Program) discussed his original research in Queretaro, a town in Mexico with inadequate water supply services. Professor Cash found that residents from informal settlements are willing to pay a considerable proportion of their income for reliable water service.

TIE Talk April (and Tea Tasting!) with Dr. Selena Ahmed 4/3/13: Ethnobotanist and NIH TEACRS post-doctoral Fellow at Tufts University Selena Ahmed discussed how climate change is changing the taste of our favorite plant foods and beverages by using tea as a case study. Dr. Ahmed discussed her field surveys in the Yunan Province of China, and her greenhouse experiments and laboratory analyses of phytochemicals in
tea in Colin Orians’ biology lab, where she is exploring the implications of climate effects on food plants for livelihoods and wellbeing.

WSSS Symposium 4/5/13: This year’s 4th annual student-organized Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS) Interdisciplinary Water Symposium focused on the nexus of water and food security in “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: The Future of Water and Food Production.” Topics of discussion included climate change, water availability, water rights and the economics of water allocation, water pollution, public health, natural resource management, and collaboration. Panelists shared a variety of perspectives from their work in both developed and developing nations, and offered many valuable insights on maximizing the efficiency of water consumption in agricultural production. They addressed the interconnected roles of economic policy, institutional innovation, and technological development in facilitating necessary changes, and keynote speaker Roberto Lenton stressed the need to think across multiple scales — from the level of each farm up to that of our nations — in order to solve the numerous and diverse issues we face.

Professor Sean Cash discusses his research with a graduate student. Professor Mary Shultz explains the potential uses of titanium dioxide.


Tufts Energy Conference 3/2-3/13: TIE helped co-sponsor the annual Tufts Energy Conference (TEC), a dynamic forum for cross-border and cross-sector discussions on pressing energy issues. This year’s conference, titled “Powering Global Energy Security” featured a keynote address by Governor Bill Richardson and six panels addressing energy efficiency in China, energy security and the Department of Defense, biofuels, shale gas, innovation, and the Arctic. It was great to hear from and work with a mix of Tufts undergraduates and graduate students from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, the Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning program, and the School of Arts, Sciences & Engineering.

Environmental Career Night 2/25/12: Tufts Environmental Alumni (TEA) invited alumni and students to attend an Environmental Career Panel and Networking Night. The evening event was sponsored by Tufts Environmental Alumni, the Tufts University Alumni Association, and Tufts Career Services.

Bike Week! 3/25-3/30: TIE and the Office of Sustainability held “Bike Week.” Tufts Police were on hand to helps students register their bikes, and Tufts Bikes pitched in to answer any questions about Tufts’ bike share program. TIE’s BiciGen, a bike-powered generator, was placed in Anderson Hall. Students used the bike to generate electricity to power Christmas lights!

Upcoming events

TIE Talk May with Rebecca Pearl-Martinez and Kim Foltz 5/1: In this talk, titled “The Human Face of Climate Change: Case Studies in Agriculture and Water,” Pearl-Martinez and Foltz (joint teachers of the Experimental College class Rising Tide: Climate Change, Vulnerability and Adaptation), will discuss how recent events due to climate change such as Hurricane Sandy and the Midwest/Plains drought are beginning to put the human face of climate change in the spotlight. 

Spring Walk with TEA: Explore the Breakheart Reservation near Saugus in June with other Tufts Environmental Alumni! The date has not been finalized yet, but we will post it on our website when we figure it out!

What’s next? An updated list of TIE’s events is available here. For all environmental events on campus, visit the Environmental Events Calendar hosted by the Environmental Studies Department.

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