Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS)
The 2019–20 Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series is under way for a seventh season, promising six compelling programs from October through April. Partners include Central Community College, The Student Environmental Action Coalition at Hastings College, Creighton University’s Sustainability Program, Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, University of Nebraska at Omaha Sustainability, Metropolitan Community College, Environmental Studies department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and Nebraska Recycling Council. Each SLPS is live-streamed via Webex, so people across the state – and around the world – can watch the webcast in real time. Some partners will be hosting watch parties for some of the webcasts. Watch this space to see where you can join a watch party; alternatively, you can organize a watch party for you and your friends and colleagues. SLPS programs feature experts on sustainability, energy, and the environment and how they apply to the lives of individuals. The programs are webcast on the first Wednesday of each month during the school calendar year, from noon to 1 pm—a perfect opportunity to learn while you brown-bag lunch with your colleagues. These programs are free and open to the public.
In February, join us at:
Live Presentation – Lincoln: Nebraska Recycling Council, no watch party planned at this site
Watch Party – Lincoln: UNL East Campus, Room 209, Hardin Hall (33rd & Holdrege)
Model Composting Regulations in the United States
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Noon to 1 pm
This presentation will focus on State and local business composting permitting and the environmental and operational challenges in the United States moving forward. It will also include the United States Composting Council (USCC) Model Rules Template and information on the Seal of Testing Assurance Program. Most important, how it all applies to Nebraska! Get a sneak peek of the Compost Operations Training Course being offered in August of 2020 by the USCC Nebraska Chapter. Join the free webcast using the Webex link below, and ask questions or make comments in person or via social media using the hashtag #SLPSThursday.
About the Speaker
Frank has spent over 27 years working with residuals management and composting both in operations management as well as sales and marketing. In 1993, he started North Carolina’s first source separated organics composting facility. As past principal of Akkadia Consulting, Frank provided professional consulting services on projects of animal waste management, biosolids, coal ash residuals, composting of industrial residuals, product development and marketing. He has facilitated the turnkey start-up of award winning composting facilities, taking them from concept to feasibility to operational, overseeing permitting, equipment selection, hiring and training of personnel, as well as the development and execution of the product marketing plan. Frank also managed the Novozymes’ Nature’s GREEN-RELEAF™ composting facility from 2003-2015. In 2014, Frank was the recipient of the Hi Kellogg Award for displaying outstanding service to the US composting industry over a period of many years. He has a BS in Plant and Soil Sciences from West Virginia University.
To register for the webinar, click here. The password is SLPS.
Videos for all past SLPS programs can be viewed on our YouTube channel.
Project Drawdown: How Education Reduces GHG Emissions
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Noon to 1 pm
Crystal Chissell from Project Drawdown will review what the Project Drawdown report is and how education, specifically the education of women, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that identifies the most viable global climate solutions. Project Drawdown partners with communities, policy-makers, non-profits, business, investors, and philanthropists to identify and deploy science-based, effective climate solutions. Join the webcast using the Webex link below, and ask questions or make comments in person or via social media using the hashtag #SLPSThursday.
About the Speaker
Crystal Chissell is an operations and governance specialist, working to champion diverse and collaborative leadership for a regenerative and beautiful future on Earth. As Vice President of Operations & Engagement at Project Drawdown, Crystal draws on her deep experience and interdisciplinary background in local and state government, law, business and social equity to nourish a culture of excellence at Project Drawdown and to facilitate partnerships that move the world toward climate solutions. She also speaks publicly about Project Drawdown and serves as an expert resource for news media, interest groups and advocacy organizations. Prior to Project Drawdown, Crystal was a practicing attorney, advising the City of Baltimore and the Maryland Environmental Service. She also served as Mayor of the Town of Highland Beach, Maryland. Crystal holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, an M.S. in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco, and a B.A. in Journalism from Howard University.
RegeNErate Nebraska: Growing Nebraska Communities from the Soil Up
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Noon to 1 pm
“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of us all” — Wendell Berry
In a new era with increased extreme climatic events, Nebraska agriculture is facing serious challenges. The solution lies in the soil—through regenerative farming and ranching practices that offer us the best chance to reduce rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions and prevent water from further degradation, all while creating new economic opportunities around food production. This presentation will focus on the numerous problems with the current agriculture model and offer a glimpse of the work that is already transforming Nebraska into a regenerative ag leader. Ask questions in person or via social media using the hashtag #SLPSThursday.
About the Speaker
Graham P. Christensen was born in Omaha and grew up nearby on his family’s farm. He first opened his eyes to activism during the 1980s, when many family farmers were losing their farms. A graduate of Midland Lutheran College, Christensen joined Nebraska Farmers Union in 2007, where he helped enroll 1.2 million acres into a carbon sequestration program designed to incent farmers and ranchers for storing carbon through scientifically proven agricultural practices. Christensen also worked on agricultural and energy policy at both the state and federal level while at the Nebraska Farmers Union. Christensen is the Founder and President of GC Resolve, a Nebraska business that focuses on grassroots community development, mobilization, and education with an emphasis on environment and the creation of sustainable communities. Current projects under GC Resolve include raising awareness about Nebraska’s rising water quality issues, and educating and advocating for a change in the food production system to regenerative farming and ranching principles. He also works with the Regenerative Ag Alliance, which is helping develop the industry side and marketplace for regenerative products including the Tree Range label for regenerative poultry. Christensen owns and operates a second business, GC ReVOLT, a solar and alternative energy development company, and is now the State Secretary and a Director for the Nebraska Farmers Union. Graham is still actively involved in operating Christensen Farms, Inc. with his family.
Nebraska EV Charging Rebate Program
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Noon to 1 pm
Randy Smith from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy will talk about Nebraska’s electric vehicle charging rebate program. This webinar is intended for businesses, government entities, and organizations wishing to apply for funding through NDEE’s Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate Program to install and maintain electric vehicle chargers that will be available for use by the public. It will cover who is eligible to receive funding; the types of charging equipment, sites, costs that can be funded; and the cost-share requirements. It will also cover requirements for projects, sites, and charging equipment and the criteria that will be used to score applications. Ask questions in person or via social media using the hashtag #SLPSThursday.
About the Speaker
Randy Smith is a Program Specialist II in the Energy and Assistance Division, where he also coordinates the Clean Diesel Program and the Nebraska Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program that administers funds from the Volkswagen State Trust. He also serves as the Grants and Training Coordinator for the Air Quality Division. Randy is a graduate of Cornell University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of California Santa Cruz.
Managing Stormwater at Your Home & Business: We are all Downstream
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Join us for the April 2019 edition of the Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series! Andy Szatko from the Omaha Stormwater Program comes to MCC to discuss stormwater management. Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that moves over the land instead of seeping into the ground. The pollutants picked up along the way impact both wildlife and our water supply. Join the presentation to hear more about what stormwater is, why it is important, and what you can do at home or your business to help. Ask questions in person or via social media using the hashtag #SLPSThursday.
About the Speaker
Andy Szatko was born and raised in Ralston, NE. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture and a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning, with a specialization in Water Resource Planning and Management. Andy has over 15 years in the landscaping industry as a landscape designer, installer, owner and manager. He currently works for the City of Omaha’s Stormwater Program managing the City’s Stormwater (MS4) Program. He is passionate about understanding, implementing, & educating the public about stormwater management & green infrastructure.
Measuring Sustainability: Using Animals as Indicators of Ecological Integrity
Thursday, March 7, 2019
How can we measure the impacts of our actions on the natural world? Animals’ interactions with the environment make them useful indicators of ecological integrity, allowing us to assess ecosystem responses to human impacts. In this presentation, we demonstrate how we can use animal studies to measure environmental sustainability. We show applications for both terrestrial and aquatic environments, using both sentinel species and animal community indexes with different sensitivities to environmental disturbance. For terrestrial environments, we provide examples of quantifying bird community and population responses to land management in a wide range of contexts. For aquatic environments, we provide examples of quantifying benthic invertebrate communities in response to human impacts in both freshwater and marine ecosystems.
Just as the canary in the coal mine alerted people to the air quality underground, animal species or population declines signal problems such as excessive exploitation, deteriorating habitat, or environmental pollution. By acting to mitigate our impacts and monitoring animals’ responses, we can assess the effectiveness of conservation efforts. For example, when severe declines of Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and other birds were linked to widespread poisoning by DDT, this pesticide was banned and rigorous efforts made to enable these and other species to recover from the brink of extinction in North America. Monitoring and responding to changes in animal communities provides us with the means to make evidence-based decisions to protect the ecosystems on which all life depends.
About the Speaker
Nico is Lead Scientist at the Crane Trust, where she conducts collaborative research on migratory bird ecology and conservation in response to land management and climate change. She has 20 years of experience studying ecological communities and populations and their responses to human impacts. To date, she has coauthored nearly 40 scientific publications on birds and other wildlife in the Americas, Africa and Madagascar, Europe and the Middle East, and the tropical Pacific. Prior to joining the Crane Trust, she held postdoctoral positions in conservation biology and avian ecology at the Smithsonian Institution and Drexel University. She earned her BA from Yale University, MS from Cornell University, and PhD from the University of Georgia.
Environmental Studies students in the art museum: A case for interdisciplinary learning
Thursday, February 7, 2019
As a campus art museum, Sheldon Museum of Art aims to connect with students and faculty through the curriculum and integrate its programming into academic life at the University of Nebraska. To do this, the museum curates its collections to generate and contextualize challenging conversations and promote intellectual exploration. By crossing disciplinary boundaries and connecting diverse schools of thought, Sheldon is drawing more and more classes from outside the traditional arts and humanities into its galleries. Carrie Morgan, curator of academic programs, will share a recent class visit – a first-year environmental studies course – to the museum’s Approaching Landscape exhibition. Through close looking exercises and inquiry-driven conversation, these students grappled with uncertainty, explored new perspectives, and gained self-awareness of their perceptions and experiences with the landscape. This “laboratory” approach to curatorial projects and individual works of art and its learning outcomes map well to the Environmental Studies program’s broad, complex approach to understanding the environment.
About the Speaker
Carrie Morgan is Sheldon Museum of Art’s curator of academic programs. In this role she manages the museum’s education department and liaises with campus partners to connect museum resources with teaching and research. Morgan also contributes to the museum’s initiatives and planning as a member of the Senior Artistic Vision Team. Prior to arriving at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in July 2016, Morgan managed the Moriarty Art and Design Library for Lesley University and provided leadership in the provision of arts related library services across campus, particularly around visual literacy. Carrie has also held the positions of Instruction and Outreach Librarian at Sonoma State University; Fine Arts and Architecture Librarian at the University of Utah; and Assistant Curator for the University of California, Berkeley’s Environmental Design Archives. She has taught college art history courses and worked on several exhibitions at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City: Spring Fashions, 1 BC (1998); Echoes of Eternity: The Egyptian Mummy and the Afterlife (2000); and Winslow Homer and the Critics: Forging a National Art in the 1870s (2001). Her recent publications include co-editing Landscape at Berkeley: The First 100 Years (2013, The UC Regents) and co-authoring “Factors Affecting the Successful Assessment of a Common Assignment for First Year Composition Information Literacy” (2014, College & Undergraduate Libraries 21(2), 193-209). Morgan holds graduate degrees in both library and information science (MLIS, San Jose State University) and art history (MA, University of Missouri-Kansas City).
The State of Electric Transport in Nebraska
Thursday, December 6, 2018
This presentation will discuss the history and mission of the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) to build and promote advanced technologies in buildings and transportation. With respect to transportation, the presentation will discuss the current state of electric vehicles in the U. S. Then, provide Nebraska-specific details regarding ongoing projects to deploy electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. The presentation will highlight the economic and environmental benefits of these projects and discuss future charging infrastructure needs in Nebraska.
About the Speakers
Anne McCollister & Dr. Moe Alahmad
Anne McCollister is the executive director of the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance, a 33-member inter-local cooperative agency. McCollister began developing the Nebraska market for electrified transportation in Nebraska in 2009 prior to the availability of electric vehicles in the state. She co-founded the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) formally in 2014 with nine municipalities, writing the first top-rated Nebraska Environmental Trust grant for electric vehicles and ChargePoint charging stations. Since 2014, NCEA has invested over $8M in utility scale solar and EV infrastructure projects with the financial partnership of the Trust.
Moe Alahmad is an Associate Professor with the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, University of Nebraska—Lincoln. His research interests include electrified transportation, renewable energy systems, and remote energy monitoring. He is currently investigating the economic and environmental impact of battery electric vehicles, and charging infrastructure modeling and planning for electrified transportation.
The Power of Networks! Link and Leverage: How Higher Ed is Supporting Sustainable Community Growth
Thursday, November 1, 2018
In 2014, the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC) through their sustainability taskforce, brought together community leaders in the Chicago southland region with a simple goal in mind: to link and leverage resources in the region to make the Chicago southland the greenest and most resilient region. Since the first meeting in May 2014, the link and leverage effort has engaged representatives from over 40 municipalities throughout the Cook, Will and Kankakee Counties. This work has strengthened the southland region and created opportunities for the SMHEC region communities that might not have otherwise been realized.
This presentation will address the following:
• What SMHEC is and how did the Sustainability Taskforce begin;
• What the Sustainability Taskforce has achieved for its member institutions;
• How they engaged community leaders to participate in our link and leverage efforts;
• Results of the effort, specifically examples of benefits to non-profits, businesses, municipalities and higher education
through new link and leverage partnerships; and,
• How SMHEC is moving forward with its link and leverage efforts.
About the Speaker
Stephenie Presseller has over 20 years of experience in environmental education program development, management and implementation; sustainability-related engagement, education and outreach; developing and organizing networks; and, professional development training and facilitation for a multiple audiences. Stephenie is Sustainability Manager for Moraine Valley Community College located in a suburb of Chicago, Palos Hills, Illinois. Since she joined the college in 2009, she has led the college to a leadership position in sustainability among colleges and universities and among community college peers. She has also served as the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium, Sustainability Taskforce Chair for the past 3 years. SMHEC Sustainability Taskforce organizes 11 higher education institutions to support one another in furthering sustainability goals. Recently, the Taskforce has taken its lessons learned on sharing resources to the communities each institution serves to make the Chicago Southland a greener and more resilient region. Stephenie is a graduate of Santa Fe Community College (AA), Hodges University (BS Interdisciplinary Studies) and American Public University (MPA: Environmental Policy and Organizational Development).
Mainstreaming Sustainability: How to Connect Dots and Create Impact
Thursday, October 4, 2018
The world is changing – if you are interested in sustainability, you know this. Sustainability is a cross-cutting issue that requires smart strategies and the consideration of multifaceted and multidimensional audiences. Whether a macro- or micro-level sustainability project, the way in which you research, plan, implement, track, and communicate is critical.
Carson+Co Global — a social enterprise business specializing in program management and marketing in the sustainability sector — prioritizes work that creates a positive impact on communities, the environment, and our global climate. This presentation will share real-world experience in implementing projects — from citywide education campaigns, community engagement activities, audience and market research, international climate resilience communications, and more.
About the Speaker
Jamie Carson founded Carson+Co Global in Washington, DC, in 2011. The business headquarters were relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2015. Carson leads CCG’s vision, strategy, management team, and business operations and development. CCG is a federally-certified Woman Owned Small Business and a social enterprise business with a mission to “advance impact in the environmental sector”. Carson leads the team in implementing this vision into business operations, client work, and company initiatives. CCG founded the environmental community engagement organization, Envirorun, in 2012 in Washington, DC, and CCG now manages the national nonprofit with chapters in DC, Lincoln, and Eugene, Oregon. Additionally, Carson leads two other CCG startup projects including an environmental sector decision-making tool, as well as a socioeconomic environmental magazine, a local collaboration with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Organizing for a Sustainable Future
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Do you want to work with others for a sustainable environment? Do you wonder how to identify and develop new leaders for your group or sustainability organization? Do you know what it takes to change laws and policies at the local, state and national level?
Community organizing offers time-tested disciplines and practices which can help you develop the power to act together on issues you care about. Organizing is rooted in developing working relationships with a wide variety of people and groups so that you have a stronger voice together than each of you has separately. In this workshop you will learn about the Cycle of Organizing, The Iron Rule of Organizing, and ways that Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) and other local groups are organizing to shape sustainable energy policy.
About the Speaker
Joe Higgs is the Executive Director of Institute for Public Leadership and organizer for Omaha Together One Community (OTOC). Joe has worked as an organizer for nearly 30 years in Texas and more recently in Nebraska with several different coalitions of congregations and community organizations. Joe worked with OTOC and Sierra Club leaders as they pushed the OPPD Board to adopt a long-term plan to increase energy from sustainable sources. Rep. Don Bacon joined the bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus at the request of OTOC which is educating legislators about promising strategies like Carbon Fee and Dividend to address climate change. Locally, OTOC leaders are working to shape the City of Omaha 10-year garbage contract to minimize the impact that it will have on our environment.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
How can you be a sustainable leader without sustaining your own health and energy? Personal health and sustainability of our mind, body, and spirit are integral to being a sustainability leader. This presentation isn’t about recycling, energy efficiency, and biking to work—though all important. It is about sustaining yourself and personally thriving while pursuing your passion to create a more just, vibrant and sustainable world.
Biomimicry—a practice of discovering and listening to nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies—provides a framework to learn how to thrive in the midst of dynamic change and have a positive impact in our world. How does nature maintain energy in the face of constant change? How does nature adapt to conditions outside of its control? How does nature invest in strategies with the highest impact given an organism or ecosystem’s various needs? These are a few questions nature’s wisdom can answer in our quest for sustainable leadership.
This workshop will introduce biomimicry and teach a few of nature’s secrets to truly being a sustainable leader—for oneself and for the world.
About the Speaker
Daniel Lawse is the Chief Century Thinker and co-owner of Verdis Group, a sustainability consulting firm based in Omaha. He has undergone his own journey of finding personal sustainability while being a sustainability leader. He has journeyed through varying degrees of community engagement and burnout to a dynamic ebb and flow of personal, family and community thriving.
Under Daniel’s leadership, Verdis earned the Greater Omaha Chamber’s 2015 Small Business of the Year award and is working with some of Nebraska’s largest employers, including the Omaha Public Schools, The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, and Methodist Health Systems.
He is a husband and father of two daughters and one son, an active commuter, meditator and graduate from Creighton University. He thrives in the wilderness, where he has completed two vision quests. He serves on a handful of community boards and committees, including as the Board Chair for Omaha’s bus system, Metro Transit. He earned a Ten Outstanding Young Omahans award in 2010 and was recognized as an Aspen Institute Environment Scholar in 2012.
Solar Solutions for Communities
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Solar is the fastest growing renewable energy source and is becoming more cost effective. Jeff Berggren will be giving a presentation on the benefits of community and individual solar. Berggren will give examples of communities throughout Nebraska that have built community solar arrays and how they have benefited from them. Jeff has been very active in supporting solar. As a member of Nebraskans for Solar he has met with governors, testified before the Natural Resource Committee, and helped many utilities adapt their processes to accept solar more easily.
About the Speaker
Jeff has worked in the renewable energy field since 2007 when he founded Husker Wind Power. With his construction and agricultural background, Jeff has managed multi-million-dollar energy efficiency projects for counties, school districts, and municipalities across Nebraska while working as Project Manager for a large-scale Energy Service Organization.
Jeff currently manages GenPro Energy Solutions projects in Nebraska from Grand Island, Nebraska. Jeff oversees the turn-key development of projects from design through construction and commissioning. Community projects to date include Lexington, Gothenburg, Aurora, Central City, and Fremont.
Jeff holds an Bachelor of Arts from Hastings College, and an MBA from Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Oregon with concentrations in Renewable Energy and Sustainability. Jeff is a Nebraska native and a lifelong Husker fan.
The Role and Need for Sustainability Planning in Small and Mid-size Cities: Exploring Challenges, Solutions, and the Role of Leadership and Activism
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Local governments today must lead the vanguard of sustainability and climate change policy. Small and mid-size cities are uniquely positioned to explore, promote and exemplify policies supporting sustainable urban-rural interconnections and interdependencies, such as regional food systems and integrated planning, while mitigating the effects of climate change. Both nationally and globally, there has been a persistence of an unsustainable model of urbanization, with such negative consequences as growing inequalities, heightened risks from the effects of climate change and related disasters, growing socio-cultural divides and more.
W. Cecil Steward, founder, President and CEO of the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, will address the roles and opportunities for small and mid-size cities in this era of enormous flux. This program will delve into how Nebraska’s towns are uniquely suited to explore, promote and exemplify policies supporting urban-rural synergies and the necessity for sound natural resource conservation management. He will talk about contemporary growth management and resilience issues with regard to:
• Ecosystems Conflicts
• Climate Change
• Food Security and Distribution
• In and Out Migration
Our enormously relevant small to medium-sized cities, as well as the rural areas that are significant sources for this growth, have inherently excellent resources for critical, essential partnerships. Steward will address the importance of leadership with conservation values and how to foster that. He will also explain the importance of metrics in planning and executing sustainable development, whether the issue is creating a more vibrant city core or addressing food deserts, using Sustainometrics®.
About the Speaker
W. Cecil Steward
W. Cecil Steward, FAIA, DPACSA, is founder, President and CEO of the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities. A world expert on sustainable development and sustainable design, he is Dean Emeritus and Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Planning at the University of Nebraska College of Architecture in Lincoln. Steward, a past president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), has served on the boards of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the AIA and on the charter board of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium. He served on the boards of directors of the Asia/Pacific Center for Architecture, the national Design Futures Council, and the steering committee of the United Nations Center for Human Settlements Best Practices Network and its international Dubai Award for Best Practices in Sustainable Development, among others. Steward is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Downtown Lincoln Association, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission, and the Lincoln Children’s Museum Board of Directors. He started the Nebraska Center for Sustainable Construction, which operates Nebraska EcoStores, a recycled building materials store in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has been a member of the Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission where he assisted in the writing of the first design guidelines for urban protection of the Nebraska Capitol building. His initiatives in Nebraska’s two largest cities established the Green Omaha Coalition and Lincoln Green by Design, aimed at fostering sustainability policies and practices in city government. During the Obama Administration, Steward served on the national Peer Review Committee for design reviews of selected General Services Administration projects, including buildings within the U.S. Capitol complex, and as a member of the Pennsylvania Avenue Design Charrette Team in Washington, D.C. At the international level he served as a member of the National Committee on U.S./China Relations, and the UNESCO-sponsored design charrette team for the international Memorial to West African Slave Trade, Dakar, Senegal. Since 1984, he has served as a consultant to the Peoples Republic of China in establishing accreditation and licensing for architects. He is involved in several more groups working to promote sustainable development in urban areas throughout the world.
A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Our landscapes push aside wildlife and in turn diminish our genetically-programmed love for wildness. How can we get ourselves back into balance through gardens, to speak life’s language and learn from other species? Dr. Benjamin Vogt addresses why we need a new garden ethic, and why we urgently need wildness in our daily lives. He argues that modern living -sequestered in buildings surrounded by monocultures of lawn and concrete- harm our physical and mental health. He examines psychological issues related to climate change and mass extinction as a way to understand human response to global crises. With a focus on native species gardening, Vogt advocates for thinking deeply and honestly about our built landscapes in order to create a compassionate activism.
About the Speaker
Benjamin Vogt has a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His writing and photography have appeared in over 60 publications from journals and magazines to anthologies. Benjamin writes a native plant gardening column at Houzz.com and speaks nationally on sustainable and wildlife landscapes. He owns Monarch Gardens LLC, a prairie garden design firm, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Attracting Pollinators: Gardens
for Bees and Butterflies
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Pollinators are behind one in every three bites of food we eat, and their
populations could use a boost. Learn about insect pollinators, how to attract
them to your yard and how to sustain them year after year through
conscientious gardening practices.
About the Speaker
Rachel Anderson works in Lincoln, Nebraska as the Community Landscape
Specialist of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Rachel holds
a Master of Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University and a
Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln. She is passionate about how ecological garden design can connect
people to the outdoors while protecting our wildlife, water and soil.
Green Practices, Policies and Attitudes in Information Technology Past and Present
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Green Information technology (IT) can help reduce your personal and business energy, supplies, waste and overall lifecycle costs. This presentation will discuss what green IT is, the overall lifecycle IT costs, how to better manage energy in today’s networked work place, and how to develop policies for electronic use through innovative energy reductions. Join us in discovering how Green IT innovations can help improve your sustainability triple bottom line through strategic analysis of company policies focused on green IT initiatives.
About the Speaker
Daniel Gompert is an Information Technology and Systems Instructor at Central Community College – Hastings. Daniel has been involved in the Information Technology(IT) Industry as an Instructor and Consultant for the past 25 years. Daniel has been a member of the Environmental Sustainability Across the Curriculum Committee at Central Community College as well as being involved in the development of the E-Badge Award Program and other sustainability initiatives. In addition, Daniel has developed and taught courses in Green Technology, Wind Energy Fundamentals, Wind Turbines and Solar Energy. Currently, Daniel is involved in developing sustainability awareness in students at Central Community College in various career fields. Daniel has earned Associate of Science degrees from Central Community College in Computers and Automation and Electronics Technology. He also has a B.S. in Business Information Systems from Bellevue University of Omaha. Daniel is currently a certified Cisco Networking Academy Instructor, VMware Academy Instructor and EMC Academy Instructor.
Energy Efficiency in Transportation: Reducing the Impacts of Our Mobility
Thursday, March 2, 2017
The way we move about our communities has huge impacts on our environment. Automotive emissions are a major contributor to greenhouse gases and to local air quality issues such as ozone. Energy efficiency provides an interesting lens through which we can explore a number of key questions about our transportation systems. What can we do to encourage more efficiency in our transportation systems? What are the impacts of trends such as higher efficiency vehicles and alternatives fuels? What can we expect from future technologies such as autonomous and connected vehicles? All these factors converge to paint a picture about reshaping our investments in transportation infrastructure to support a more sustainable future for our communities.
About the Speaker
Michael Helgerson is Transportation & Data Manager at the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA)– the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Omaha-Council Bluffs region. In this role, Michael leads the transportation planning process for the three-county MPO region that includes Douglas, Sarpy and the urbanized portion of Pottawattamie Counties. Michael is currently leading the development of MAPA’s 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan, an effort that is tying the Heartland 2050 Regional Vision to the region’s transportation planning process. In addition to these roles at MAPA, Michael has served as the Regional Active Transportation Coordinator for the City of Omaha, advising on the development of the Complete Streets Design Manual and the incorporation of recommendations from MAPA’s Regional Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Community & Regional Planning from Iowa State University in Ames, IA, and his Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Manufacturing and Selecting Net Positive Materials
Thursday, February 2, 2017
What if products improved your quality of life and helped ecosystems thrive? That is the vision of The Living Product Challenge, a new program created to synthesize complex manufacturing data into a unified tool for responsible material creation and selection. Living Products build soil, create habitat, nourish the human spirit and provide inspiration for personal, political and economic change. Current manufacturing methods are creating immense human and environmental impact. Our modern industrial economy is built on a network of global supply chains that consume vast natural resources while generating greenhouse gases and toxic emissions that are dramatically transforming our world. Join this webinar to explore how a few visionary companies are transforming this paradigm through the Living Product Challenge.
About the Speaker
Dr. Gregory Norris
Dr. Gregory Norris is an internationally acclaimed Life Cycle Analysis expert. In addition to serving as the Institute’s Chief Scientist, Gregory is the co-director of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise within the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has taught Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) at HSPH since the late 1990s. Gregory is also the founder of New Earth, a non-profit institute developing technologies that enable people across the globe to drive sustainable development “from the bottom up.” Its projects include Earthster, an open source platform for product-level sustainability assessment, Handprinter, which helps people take actions at home and work that more than compensate for their environmental and social “footprints,” and the Social Hot Spots Database, a transparent data source on supply chain impacts and opportunities for improving human rights, working conditions, community and other social impacts.
The Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on Nebraska’s Poor: The Legal Implications
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Climate change impacts are and will disproportionately affect low-income Nebraskans. As more frequent high temperature extremes drive energy demands, and far more intense rain and snow events increase local flooding, these Nebraskans feel it first. Not only will they be asked to shoulder higher costs for basic needs, such as energy and water, further stressing their limited incomes, but they largely live in poor rental housing located far too often in flood plains with little to no insurance. Fewer hard frosts and longer growing seasons mean more insects and disease; higher temperatures mean more heat stress and health problems. All these impacts are shouldered by low-income families and the elderly without the resources to adapt.
In 2016 Legal Aid of Nebraska conducted a “Fresh Look” at poverty-related issues across the state, to help us identify and prioritize our legal work with low-income clients. They engaged community members and organizations on the legal, social, and economic challenges facing low-income Nebraskans. These challenges include lack of affordable housing, high utility costs, limited jobs and income, poor health care access, and high debt. It is well understood that families in this position worry little about climate change; they worry about feeding their children, and keeping a roof over their heads. Concern over a future colored by the impacts of climate change is real, but pales in comparison to daily challenges.
Public officials today must step in and prioritize efforts to lower the impacts of climate change on low-income Nebraskans, given their special vulnerability and lack of social, economic, and political power. Low-income Nebraskans must directly benefit from all efforts to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change, including with such basic needs as energy, water, transportation, and protecting their homes from floods. Whether on ethical, economic, or political reasons, the needs of these Nebraskans must be a critical component of all municipal and state initiatives to address climate change, and their rights and interests must be enforced and protected.
This “Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series- Social/Environmental Justice Presentation” will focus on this climate change challenge, how today’s concept of “environmental justice” must include this long term commitment to low-income Nebraskans, and what Nebraskans can do to support this effort.
About the Speaker
Milo Mumgaard is the Executive Director of Legal Aid of Nebraska, the statewide provider of free civil legal aid to low-income Nebraskans, with eight offices across the state. Legal Aid’s role is to help these Nebraskans get up and out of poverty and achieve stability through the power of the law. In 2017, Legal Aid will focus on enforcing laws and protecting rights in housing, debt, income, and family security. Prior to assuming this position in 2015, Mumgaard served as General Counsel and Senior Policy Aide for Sustainability with Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler. Mumgaard provided legal and policy counsel on, among other things, energy efficiency programs assisting over 3,000 homeowners, new solar and wind renewable energy installations and policy, energy upgrades in municipal operations, neighborhood-based educational campaigns, new bike lanes and public transportation options, expanded local food initiatives, and multiple other efforts to lower carbon emissions and address impacts of climate change in the City of Lincoln. Mumgaard participated in numerous state and regional initiatives to identify impacts of climate change on municipal operations, and drafted many commentaries and articles on the role of today’s modern city in responding to climate change. Mumgaard has a BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a JD from New York University.
Healing Industrial Amnesia: How Art Can Help Us Remediate Our Environmental Memory Disorder
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Artist Leila Nadir will discuss EdibleEcologies, her new series of social sculptures that work collaboratively with local communities (human, microbial, and ecological) to revive endangered food practices and remediate a cultural memory disorder that she calls “industrial amnesia.” EdibleEcologies begins with the belief that art can help people navigate the contemporary food crisis, which we see as a crisis of memory and imagination caused by the industrialization of food. The question at the heart of EdibleEcologies is: how to generate embodied memory of food practices where cultural memory loss can be near total? Rather than prescribe some dietary guidelines, which would be an empirical approach devoid of cultural engagement, Nadir’s art/theory collaborator works with social practices to bring the intense complexity of contemporary food politics and public health into the realm of psychic unsettling, affective perception, and visceral, poetic visibility. EdibleEcologies works in an uncharted space between utility and imagination, between past and future, between memory and the remix.
Leila Nadir is an acclaimed Afghan-American artist and writer investigating evolutions of food, ecology, media, and memory. She is currently Lecturer in Environmental Humanities and Sustainability at the University of Rochester and former Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Wellesley College. She earned her PhD in English from Columbia University. Her creative practice involves the production of participatory, public situations and social sculptures that facilitate recovery from a cultural memory disorder that she and her collaborator call “industrial amnesia.” Through open-ended, experimental collaborations with the public, their projects bring endangered food and environmental practices into poetic visibility, feeling-perception, and the simple acts of everyday life and have taken form as architectural interventions and urban wilderness tours, net art and public performances, scholarly articles and poetic essays. Her research has earned awards and support from Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Center for Land Use Interpretation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, K2 Family Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, and numerous academic fellowships. Her artworks are in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Walker Art Center, Rhizome.org, Turbulence.org of New Radio and Performing Arts, and Cornell University Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art.
Stories from the Field: Using Social Science to Build Sustainable and Resilient Communities
Thursday, October 6, 2016
The scientific consensus demonstrates that climate change in the 21st century is essentially a human problem. Humans and their actions are causing climate change. At the same time, people are also feeling the consequences of climate change through various impacts on things they value and through the responses they are making to address climate change. The 2015 Nebraska Rural Poll showed that most Nebraskans believe the state should develop a plan for adapting to climate change to reduce its impact on different sectors like agriculture, rural communities and natural resources. Wilhite et al (2014) report on “Understanding and Assessing Climate Change Implications for Nebraska” concludes that, “there are actions that need to be implemented to avoid or reduce the deleterious effects of climate change for Nebraska”. There is a growing call for actions or plans to better prepare for an uncertain future. People are confused on what to do and how they can help. Where do we start? What are these actions? A lot of concerned citizens feel overwhelmed and confused on what actions to take to be better stewards of the planet. How do we lower our impact on the planet while also adapting to the changing climate? Dr. Shrestha’s presentations will include some of these actionable items based on his expertise as a social science researcher, teacher and practitioner. Join us for this stimulating program!
Dr. Prabhakar Shrestha is UNL’s first full time employee dedicated to sustainability affairs. Hired soon after his graduation with a PhD in Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Sciences in the School of Natural Resources at UNL, Dr. Shrestha has been instrumental in setting up UNL’s first Office of Sustainability and leading efforts to lower UNL’s carbon footprint. Since his tenure UNL: has gained “Silver” rating in its sustainability affairs from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; has made it to the Princeton Review’s “Guide to 353 Green Colleges”; and Sierra Magazine’s list of Top Cool Schools 2016. Under his leadership, UNL has seen remarkable progress in its sustainability operations, planning, academics and engagement.
Water: Connecting Everything to Everything Else
April 7, 2016
Water is the key to improving global health, ensuring social welfare and social stability, and promoting economic development and environmental sustainability. Water is essential to life, yet on a worldwide scale, more than one billion people lack access to an adequate water supply both from a quantity and quality standpoint; more than twice as many lack basic sanitation. In Nebraska, fresh water has been critical to our heritage. This talk will examine water from a variety of contexts emphasizing the importance of connections to everything we do. Dr. Dave Gosselin of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will touch on many aspects of what it means to be water literate—Do you know your water footprint? How does the ocean impact our water supply? How is human demand impacting our water systems? What are the connections between energy, water, health and food supply?
Dave Gosselin is the Director of Environmental Studies and a Professor of Earth Science in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research focuses on Earth, environmental, and interdisciplinary education, workforce issues, sustainability education, ground water quality and quantity issues and the application of geochemistry to understanding water systems. His water-related research has focused on using chemistry and basic principles of water flow to understand both basic and applied scientific problems. Examples include assessing: local Connecting and state-wide groundwater quality; the physical and chemical variations of groundwater resources; the behavior of trace elements and natural occurring isotopes in groundwater; the potential impact of environmental change on Sand Hills environments; groundwater management strategies, and water quality variations in public water supplies. In October 1999, he was recognized by the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science with their Catalyst Award for leadership, dedication and service to science education. In 2014, he received the Omtvedt Award for Innovation in Teaching at UNL. In his capacity as the Director of the Environmental Studies program, he currently serves on the executive committee of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, a program of the National Council for Science and the Environment. He has authored or co-authored over 125 publications that include refereed journal articles, non-refereed abstracts, and contract reports.
Personal & Community Health: Nebraska Communities Taking Action for Increased Walking & Biking
March 3, 2016
Presenting live from across Nebraska, a panel by Amy Houser, Andy Wessel, Becky Sullivan, Jessica Davies, moderated by Jeremy Grandstaff. Walkable and bikeable communities present a variety of solutions and provide a wide range of benefits. With a recent call to action from the United States Surgeon General and rising health issues across the nation, both urban and rural Nebraska communities and local health departments are looking for successful strategies to increase walking and biking for overall community health. Hear from and interact live with local Nebraska public health leaders in Grand Island, Hastings, Omaha and Sidney as they tell their stories about a transformative process that they have used to engage local communities in taking action for increased walking and biking. From expanding trail signage and bike path development to walking clubs and worksite strategies, these stories are for modeling and inspiration. Local experts will share some best practices and case studies for anyone interested in increased walking and biking for personal, community or environmental health.
Amy Houser, Central District Health Department
Andy Wessel, Douglas County Health Department
Becky Sullivan, Mary Lanning Healthcare
Jessica Davies, Panhandle Public Health District
Live Presentation Facilitator
Jeremy Grandstaff, Nebraska Walkable Communities Project Architect for Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health
Growing Food, Minds & Community Through Aquaponics
February 4, 2016
The impact of aquaponics on communities through educational programming will be detailed by Greg Fripp, founder and Executive Director of Whispering Roots, at the February Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series. The Whispering Roots Aquaponics Program uses agriculture to teach S.T.E.M. principles and introduce nutrition education to students in grades K–12 and to members of the community. Students are engaged in the entire system, from construction and assembly through the crop growing process. By having an active role in every aspect of the project, students learn complex academic issues while taking responsibility for all food production. The students conduct scientific investigations, learn horticulture techniques, apply classroom lessons to “real world” situations and literally enjoy the fruits of their labor. Members of the community learn how to grow healthy food while incorporating next generation techniques into sustainable traditional growing methods. This approach focuses on growing food, minds and communities. Aquaponics is a means of producing food that combines the farming of aquatic animals and the science of hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. This system has potential to bring nutritional resources to communities that are food insecure—both urban and rural. Heralded for its efficiency—significantly less water is used than in traditional farming, and the system is self-supporting—aquaponics not only puts food on the table, it also provides an unrivaled learning environment for the students and the community.
Greg Fripp is the founder and Executive Director of Whispering Roots, Inc. Whispering Roots is an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to bringing healthy food, S.T.E.M. education and economic development to underserved communities by using aquaculture, aquaponics and hydroponics.
Results of Nebraska’s Recycling Study
December 3, 2015
Recent findings of a statewide recycling study will be shared by Mark DeKraai, Senior Research Director at University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. The Study highlights regional gaps in recycling access across Nebraska, compares Nebraska’s recycling and diversion rates to surrounding states, and provides recommendations to improve recycling and waste diversion in Nebraska. Carrie Hakenkamp with WasteCap Nebraska will discuss ways in which diversion can be improved using zero waste concepts and will discuss the economic viability of recycling.
Dr. DeKraai, J.D., Ph.D. received a law degree and doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to joining the University of Nebraska, Dr. DeKraai dedicated 18 years to administering mental health and substance abuse services for the state of Nebraska. He has been with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center for 13 years. Currently he directs projects related to natural resources, public health and behavioral health evaluation. Dr. DeKraai has extensive experience with qualitative and quantitative research methodology and analysis. He is a Courtesy Research Associate Professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Psychology, a faculty affiliate with the UNL Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families, and Schools, and a Research Participant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
Carrie Hakenkamp Hakenkamp has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been involved in recycling and environmental issues for nearly 15 years. She has been the Director of WasteCap Nebraska since 1998. In that time, WasteCap has performed over 100 waste assessments for businesses, hosted over 30 workshops and educational tours, and written 12 publications for business recycling. Hakenkamp completed an intensive, 9-month Executive Director Leadership Training program offered through the Institute for Conservation Leadership in 2007 and earned certificates in Project Management, Leadership, and Management from the Nebraska Business Development Center in 2009.
Sustainability: A Business Imperative
November 5, 2015
William Blackburn is a global sustainability expert with hands-on experience building sustainability programs within major companies. He will discuss the recent consensus on the scope and practical meaning of sustainability that has emerged from large, global multi-stakeholder forums and from corporate usage – it is considerably more than just recycling, climate change and energy conservation. He will also share his proven approach for infusing sustainability into the essence of company operations – a process he calls a “sustainability operating system” (SOS). The SOS will include tips on selecting and marketing “green products.”
About the Speaker
William R. Blackburn is president of William Blackburn Consulting, Ltd., focusing on sustainability; environment, health and safety management; and emergency and crisis response. The firm is a social enterprise with all revenues beyond taxes and other expenses going to The Green Hollow Center, a nature preserve and sustainability learning center in the Loess Hills of Southwest Iowa. He has served companies like Novartis, United Stationers Supply, ConEd, Continental, Covanta Energy, General Dynamics, Genentech, Hospira, Southwire, Medtronic, SPX, Integrated DNA Technologies and Follett Corporation, as well as a number of business associations, major universities, and nonprofits. Bill is a frequent lecturer around the world. He has over 40 years’ experience in environmental law and management. Until 2003 he was vice president and chief counsel, Corporate Environment, Health and Safety and the sustainability leader at Baxter International Inc., a $14 billion global manufacturer of health-care products based in Deerfield, Illinois. At Baxter, he led efforts in pioneering innovative environmental management standards; EHS performance measures and goals; public reporting on corporate EHS and sustainability; environmental cost and income statements; and emergency response programs. Under his leadership, the Baxter EHS program received over 300 external awards. The company is in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and has regularly been recognized at the Davos World Economic Forum as among the top 100 most sustainable large companies in the world. Bill’s book, The Sustainability Handbook—The Complete Management Guide to Achieving Social, Economic, and Environmental Responsibility, was published by the Environmental Law Institute and Earthscan in 2007, (2nd edition in 2015), and is used for course work at Harvard and other universities. It is also available in Mandarin Chinese. Bill is former chair of Chief EHS Officers Council I of The Conference Board, a business association, and the former senior research fellow at the organization’s Center for Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability. From 2007-09, he was co-chair of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee of the American Bar Association, which was selected the top-rated committee among 40 in its section. At the ABA, he led the development of a model sustainability policy and implementation guide for law firms. Bill is a member of the Sustainability Leadership Council of Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business in Chicago. In addition, he is a founding member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a coalition of non-profits, investors, academics, companies, and others promoting public reporting by organizations on sustainability performance.
Living Buildings: Socially Just, Culturally Rich & Ecologically Restorative
October 1, 2015
The Living Building Challenge is the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. To be certified under the challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net positive energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy. In this presentation, participants will gain a basic understanding of the Living Building Challenge—a philosophy, advocacy tool and certification program that addresses development of the built environment at all scales. This presentation is for anyone engaged with the built environment as a designer, builder, owner, developer, manager, or occupant. So it is for everyone. It will challenge all of us to think deeply about place and how we can work together to create communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. The program will be streamed live from the Living Future Institute in Seattle via Webex (link below).
Kathleen Smith, a LEED Fellow in the inaugural class and nationally recognized expert in sustainable design, is the Technical Director of the International Living Future Institute. She is an architect by training with over 25 years of experience in sustainable design, construction and education. Kathleen has worked on dozens of high performance buildings in the commercial, residential, healthcare, and institutional sectors. She has also worked with various institutions to develop policies, programs, and trainings to establish, measure, and document sustainability goals and performance. She is also the co-author of two books: Rebuilding Community in America and The Northwest Green Home Primer.
Brad Liljequist, Net Zero Energy Buildings and Living Community Challenge Technical Director, International Living Future Institute
As director of the Institute’s Net Zero Energy and Living Community programs, Brad is at the forefront of a global transformation toward a carbon-free future. He directed development of the Petal and Net Zero Energy Certified zHome, the first multifamily zero net energy community in the United States, as well as Issaquah Fire Station 72, the world’s most energy efficient fire station and recipient of the international 2012 ASHRAE Technology award. Brad has nearly three decades of experience catalyzing change in the fields of planning, environmental policy, urban design, construction management and sustainable building. He was educated at Georgetown University, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Washington Evans School.
Conservation and the Quest for Quality Nebraska Places
June 4, 2015
What do construction waste, global population migration, food processing and distribution, the Ogallala Aquifer, Omaha and O’Neill, climate change, and economic development have to do with one another? A new video by the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities shows how interconnected and interdependent all of these factors are, and how addressing the nexus of global and local changes and pressures on our critical resources will ensure a strong and healthy future for our citizens. W. Cecil Steward, founder and President of the Joslyn Institute, will show an excerpt from the video and talk about how these imperatives might be addressed. Nebraska Nexus: Resources, Conservation, Development and Change explores five critical resources—food, water, energy, land and materials, and how we must consider both conservation and development of those resources to respond effectively to global pressures and to ensure they remain sustainable for future generations and the high standard of living we now enjoy. The culmination of four years of highly interactive workshops and conferences with civic leaders, ranchers, farmers, elected and appointed officials, students and concerned citizens across Nebraska, the video was produced with the support of Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Environmental Trust, with the administrative support of Nebraska Academy of Sciences.
Learn to Thrive: Lessons from Nature
May 7, 2015
What would our world look like if we rediscovered the lessons of nature? What if the places we live and work engaged our senses in a healthy way and celebrated culture with nature, encouraging human delight? How can a leaf inspire a solar cell? Or organizations learn from a tree or a coral reef? Biomimicry is an innovation method that seeks new ways of living sustainably—from new products and processes to policies—by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. Janine Benyus, the founder of written works on biomimicry, “introduces an era based not on what we can extract from organisms and their ecosystems, but on what we can learn from them.” Instead of technology working separately from nature, imagine a world where technology is in relationship with nature. Biophilic design articulates the relationships between nature, human biology and the design of the built environment so we experience the natural environment more in our daily world. Academics, researchers and others have codified valuable design research for improving health and well-being in our built environment into patterns of biophilic design, patterns ‘that nurture the innate human attraction to natural systems and processes’ (Janine Benyus). Come learn how to bring nature back into our buildings, neighborhoods and lives. Presenters will be Lily Livingston, architect and Sustainable Design Project Manager for HDR’s Sustainable Design Services team with over 20 years of experience, and Daniel J. Lawse, co-owner and Chief Century Thinker at Verdis Group, a sustainability consulting firm in Omaha.
Sustainable Farming and Foods in Nebraska
April 2, 2015
From water conservation to knowing where your food comes from, principles of sustainability are becoming more and more of the narrative in our daily lives. Sustainable agriculture and sustainable foods grow hand-in-hand and are at the forefront of the sustainability movement. This talk will look at sustainable agriculture and foods in Nebraska over the last 40 years. What programs and progress has been made, what is happening today and how you can be a part of changing the landscape of food and farming in Nebraska and the Midwest. William Powers is the executive director for the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. Along with his wife Crystal and sons Aiden and Liam, they have a small diversified farm in the saline wetlands of Saunders County near Ceresco, Nebraska, that features Guernsey dairy cows and heritage breed poultry. Darby Springs Farm is grass-based and focused on sustainable agriculture and holistic management principles. Powers currently serves as president of Slow Food Nebraska and on the board of directors for the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center and the National Young Farmers Coalition, where he is a past president. He also serves on the Slow Food USA Policy Task Force.
Sustainability Advocacy: Leverage Your Emotions, Avoid Burnout, and Influence for Good
March 5, 2015
Adam Hammes will share how his experience of life, work, and family shifted profoundly as he learned to connect with people less-passionate about environmental sustainability, communicating his beliefs in ways that moved others to action. His story is profoundly unique, spanning his rural, conservative upbringing… to time spent as an environmental educator… a community organizer and non-profit founder… an award-winning corporate sustainability professional… an adjunct university business professor… a successful sustainability consultant… and director of a state sustainable business association. Join us to learn from Adam about emotional stages and myths of advocacy, stages of influence, and other topics that can help you be a sustainability leader. Raised on a farm in southeast Iowa, Adam holds a BA in Human Services from the University of Northern Iowa and a MBA with a focus on social and environmental performance from Maharishi University of Management. He has launched dozens of community initiatives, including: a Sustainable Spring Break, a Transforming Business speaker series, the annual Hope for the Hungry local foods conference, a local ZipCar car-sharing program, Solidarity Microfinance for women in poverty, and more. Adam led Kum & Go to become the only convenience-store certified in the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Volume Program and organized a new committee to create the first Energy Star category for convenience stores. He has taught as an adjunct business faculty member for William Penn University – College for Working Adults and the University of Iowa – Tippie College of Business. Adam holds professional certifications, including: LEED AP (BD+C), Energy Star Portfolio Manager, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Manager Certificate, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 4.0 Bridge Training, and more. Today, he is an author, speaker, and consultant who helps companies define sustainability and identify their relevant issues, meaningful metrics, actionable data reporting, and project priorities. He led the creation of the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum and directs its state-wide efforts. In his free time, he works on large community initiatives, like “A Garden for Every School,” and enjoys traveling and being outdoors.
The Alaska Bellwether: Perception, Response and Adaptation in a Time of Climate Change
February 5, 2015
Global climate change is causing rapid ecosystem change in Alaska. How local communities respond to this challenge now and in the future will have great bearing on whether these communities can continue to thrive in an era of climate change. Join us for a presentation by Alaska expert Jim Powell as he unpacks the tangle of on-the-ground ecosystem conditions, local perceptions of the issue, and climate change mitigation strategies and adaptation plans being developed. Together we will consider the implications of a changing planet and the significance of the Alaska experience as related to our unique conditions in Nebraska.
Jim Powell is Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), where he teaches natural resource policy, sustainability, and public administration. His research includes community and institutional response to climate change in Alaska, including Alaska Native observations and adaptation to total environmental changes. Before his position with UAS, Jim spent 28 years in environmental management, focusing on water quality issues and wetlands management. Among other appointments, Jim served Alaska state government as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation and Assistant Director for the Division of Environmental Quality. His public service includes nine years on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly with 3 years as Deputy Mayor. The deepened understanding of municipal decision-making and local environmental systems he gained during his years on the Assembly inspired his passion to improve city-level planning through sustainability assessment, monitoring and adaptation. Today, Jim balances his teaching with serving on several state and local nonprofit boards. He also lectures and consults on sustainability planning and is a board member of the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities.
Jim has a PhD in Natural Resources and Sustainability Science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a Master in Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Eisenhower College at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Ecological Society of America’s Rapid Response Team and for 14 years he has been on the board of the Arctic Winter Games, which sponsors a yearly international competition for youth involving culture and sports among Arctic Nations.
Sustainable Rebuilding Post-Disaster: The Story of Greensburg, Kansas
December 4, 2014
To conclude the Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series for this calendar year, we are excited to welcome Mayor Bob Dixson of Greensburg, Kansas. Mayor Dixson will talk about the rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas after a tornado leveled the community in 2007. From sustainable buildings to municipal infrastructure, the City of Greensburg considered costs, the environment, and the impact on its residents as they rebuilt strategically for the future. Mayor Dixson will discuss Greensburg’s story, renewable energy, the heritage of sustainability in the Heartland, and how he believes we can make the world a better place for future generations. We hope you join us on our journey to learn more about environmental sustainability.
Green Matters—How You Can Make a Difference
November 2, 2014
Presenting live from the United Kingdom, we are excited to welcome Julia Hailes as our November Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series speaker. Julia has authored and co-authored nine books, including the best-selling The Green Consumer Guide. As a writer, consultant, green entrepreneur and speaker, Julia will bring unique content and learning to our monthly series. From information on greening your home, sustainable food consumption, to electronic waste, Julia will share stories of her travels and research. Hear what sparked her interest in environmental sustainability and inspired her career in environmental communications. We hope you join us to learn from Julia, in our journey in building and educating for a sustainable future!
Julia has authored and co-authored nine books, including the very successful, The Green Consumer Guide. She is a consultant, a writer, a speaker, and a green entrepreneur. In 2002, Julia co-founded an African charity, Haller (http://www.haller.org.uk/), which is launching a new app on sustainable farming in Kenya, this November. In 1987, she co-founded SustainAbility (http://www.sustainability.com/), an environmental consultancy focused on providing sustainable solutions to businesses. Julia was the recipient of the UN Global 500 Award in 1992 for outstanding environmental achievement; and in 1999 received an MBE, which is an award presented by the Queen for serving as an outstanding example and for service to one’s country.
Renewable & Clean Fuel Technologies
October 2, 2014
Fueled transportation is an everyday need for most Americans. There are exciting technologies that allow us to get around without the fossil fuels that destroy our air quality and climate. Three leading experts will present diverse options for fueling and powering personal and commercial vehicles, and answer your questions – about technology, what currently exists, and what the future will hold. The speakers will cover biofuels, including biodiesel, corn ethanol, and advanced biofuels from next-generation sources such as cellulosic biomass and algae. They will also cover electric vehicles and discuss which technologies and fuels currently offer the best potential for a sustainable future. Our presentation panel will describe the benefits and limitations of each, and how these technologies are shaping the future of transportation. We hope you join us to learn and grow in our understanding of sustainable transportation.
Panelists for this program:
Jim Stark, Green Plains Renewable Energy
Scott Williams, PhD, Omaha Biofuels Co-op
Bill Moore, EV World
Moderated by Chris Swanson, Metropolitan Community College
Wind and Renewable Energy: Nebraska’s Growth Opportunity
September 4, 2014
Dan McGuire, co-chair of the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference, will talk about wind energy and its growth potential. With a Nebraska farm background and a degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska– Lincoln, he has spent his career leading agricultural organizations and developing and advocating for state and national renewable energy policy and programs for the benefit of rural America. As a Nebraska leader in developing wind energy programs, outreach and public education projects, McGuire discusses his experience and presents information on a variety of wind energy topics, ranging from economic impacts and environmental benefits to career development and educational programs from K-12 to college.