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Skidmore College
Environmental Studies and Sciences


A Lecture by Gustavo Esteva 

Gustavo Esteva is an author, a local and international “grassroots activist and de-professionalized intellectual”, and a founder of the Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca, Mexico. He is also a former corporate executive, a former guerrilla, a former high-ranking official in the government of President Echeverría, and an advisor with the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas for the negotiations with the government.

This lecture, "From Cuba to the Zapatistas: Social Change and Revolution at the End of an Era" is about social change in Cuba. Cuba was, for many years, the beacon on the hill for Latin Americans--a source of inspiration, a promise, a radical hope. In spite of its impressive achievements, Cuba also became a source of frustration and disappointment. New winds of social and political transformation are currently blowing in the subcontinent and all over the world. It may be a symptom of the turbulence at the end an era and the beginning of a crisis. This social change brings us to ask, “Is there still room for socialism?” And how do we capture the new semantic of change, with terms like autonomy, conviviality and radical democracy?

A Lecture by John Cronin

The Environmental Studies Program, in collaboration with the Tang Museum and the "Lives of the Hudson" hosted Brains vs. Brawn: The Future Hudson, a lecture by John Cronin.

The lecture was followed by the Environmental Studies Annual Welcome Reception and a viewing of the "Lives of the Hudson" exhibition.  ES faculty, students, and community members were present to talk about local organizations, research opportunities, internships, and campus greening opportunities.

Virtual Graduate School Information Session 

This half-hour Skype session with Bard Center for Environmental Policy is an interactive, informal and informative approach to learning about the process of graduate school applications.  The Center offers graduate study and practical training in preparation for environmental careers at the local, national, and international levels and offers the following programs: Master of science (M.S.) in environmental policy; master of science and doctor of jurisprudence (M.S./J.D.) with Pace Law School, a dual master's program (M.S./M.A.T.) with the Bard Master of Arts in Teaching Program, a master's International with the Peace Corps, and a Professional Certificate in environmental policy.

GE PCB Dredging Field Trip

This field trip is a unique opportunity to visit the active PCB dredging project taking place on the Hudson River just a half hour up the road in Fort Edwards, NY.  This guided tour of the facility is likely to be the last time to see the active dredging until 2011.  This is one of the largest and most complex environmental clean up programs in the country.  

Tang Museum Dunkerley Dialogues

A Dunkerley Dialogue at the Tang featured Robert Boyle, founder of Riverkeeper, the Hudson Fisherman’s Association, and the Water Keeper Alliance, and Tom Lewis, co-organizer of the exhibition and Professor of English, Skidmore College.

A second Dunkerley Dialogue, "Investigating the Hudson," featured artists Bob Braine and Leslie Reed, Judy Halstead, Professor of Chemistry at Skidmore College and Karen Kellogg, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program at Skidmore College.

Celebrating Choice in Food, Agriculture, and the Environment
A Lecture by Dr. Paul Waldau

This lecture explores how knowledge of our local world and its human and nonhuman inhabitants are integrally related to food choices, features of modern agriculture, and environmental education. Dr. Waldau suggests that knowledge of all these factors--animals, food, agriculture and economy--are essential to making good choices and understanding humans' ethical political and ecological futures.

Visit from Environmental Studies Alum Seth Shonkoff

Skidmore grad Seth Shonkoff visited to talk about his experiences as an Environmental Studies major at Skidmore as well as his experiences since graduation in 2003.  Seth has been involved with many incredible experiences since graduating, including teaching environmental education in Costa Rica and water quality monitoring and watershed analysis. His current research on health and climate change is very interdisciplinary, bridging the social, health and natural sciences. His talk gives a sense of what life during and after Skidmore is like. 

Skidmore Unplugged

From October 24th-November 14th, Skidmore residents competed residence hall against residence hall to try and reduce their energy consumption by the greatest percentage.  Each residence hall was individually metered so students could see how much electricity each residence hall used.  McClellan was the winner of the competition.

Investigating the Hudson
A Film Screening

As part of its ongoing Lives of the Hudson exhibition, the Tang Museum presented "Investigating the Hudson," a rare opportunity to view selected films by experimental filmmaker Peter Hutton. Hutton's luminous and meditative films of cities, rivers, and landscapes have been hailed by Cahiers du cinéma as "a sort of primitive documentary, which celebrates the beauty of the world without forgetting to observe people, the conditions they live and work under."  Hutton's Study of a River (1994-96), Time and Tide(1998-2000), and Two Rivers (2001-02) were shown.  

Focus Skidmore 2010!

Focus Skidmore is an event series that is part of a nationwide discussion surrounding climate change and climate change action. Our goal this year is to highlight both international efforts, particularly with regard to the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference that was held in Copenhagen, as well as the global impacts and ethical concerns of climate change.  Please click here to learn more about the UN Climate Change Conference. 

Focus Skidmore: "Climate Change, Human Rights and Forced Migration" 

This presentation by filmmaker Jennifer Readfearn included early screenings of segments from her documentary, "Sun Come Up."  This character-driven documentary following the relocation of some of the world’s first climate refugees, the Carteret Islanders – a community living on a remote island chain 50 miles off the coast ofPapua New Guinea. The islanders are among the first to organize a community-wide evacuation as a result of climate change.  Skidmore will host an advanced screening of this film followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jennifer Redfearn. This event is co-sponsored by Environmental Studies, The Office of Student Diversity Programs, The Office of Intercultural Studies, Sustainable Skidmore, and the Environmental Action Club. 

Peter C. Mancall

Peter C. Mancall, Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute participated in two events.  Professor Mancall gave a lecture titled "Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson."  The following day Professor Mancall joined Professor Tom Lewis, Skidmore College Department of English, in a walk-through of the Lives of the Hudson exhibit.  Professor Mancall is the author of many critically acclaimed books and scholarly articles.  His newest book, Fatal Journey, traces the last voyage of Henry Hudson and has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education as well as on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; this book is the subject of his Monday evening lecture. 

Panel Discussion: "Picturing the Hudson" 

Greg Pfitzer, The Douglas Family Chair in American Culture, History and Literary and Interdisciplinary Studies; artist Alan Michelson; and columnist Fred LeBrun participated in a panel discussion about the Lives of the Hudson exhibit. 

The Big Green Scream! 

The Big Green Scream featured the Skidmore College men's and women's basketball teams as they defeated Vassar in a Liberty League doubleheader at the Sports and Recreation Center.  The theme of the event was going green, with a variety of contests, including eco-trivia, and giveaways, such as reusable bags, throughout both games.

Focus Skidmore: Lucy Van Hook: Debriefing Copenhagen from the Ground

Lucy Van Hook, an independent carbon consultant, is currently managing the Carbon Quantification Project at The Maine Housing Authority, and has been since its inception in January 2008. Lucy has studied the ecology of climate change since 2000. She is part of a technical team that is developing a weatherization methodology to measure, monitor and sell the carbon emissions avoided from weatherizing single family and multi-family dwellings.  The larger scope of the Carbon Project includes the development of a Project Document that will allow Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) to quantify and sell carbon emission reductions from solar thermal installations and energy efficiency measures in the housing projects they sponsor. Lucy oversees the participation of the state HFAs that have joined the Program during the development stage, and will continue to do so as other interested agencies join the Program.  Lucy is a Maine certified energy auditor, and received her BA in Biology and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College.  

Through her work, she attended the Copenhagen Climate Change conference and offers the Skidmore community a look inside the conference from the perspective of a young person working in the climate change field.

Environmentalism and Religion

Erica Fuller and Rick Chrisman host a Religious and Spiritual Life Dialogue about Environmentalism and Religion.

UN Ambassador's Club Teleconference

The Ambassador's Club at the United Nations, started by Ambassador Kamal from Pakistan, is "a "virtual" program of interactive out-reach, linking a voluntary association of Ambassadors and senior International Civil Servants at the United Nations with students and executives in the United States".  Join Ambassador Kamal and two of his UN colleagues for a robust discussion about the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and any relevant policy implications.  Please click hereto learn more about The Ambassador's Club at the United Nations.  This is event was co-sponsored or supported by the Environmental Studies Program, Sustainable Skidmore, the Environmental Action Club and International Affairs.

Living the Liberal Arts in Environmental Studies 

ES faculty, staff, students, and alumni meet for a panel discussion about life during and after the Environmental Studies major at Skidmore College.  Alumni Becky DiSciacca '05, Lauren Mandel '05, John Schott '04, Kate Sherman '06, Adam Streiffer '03, and Laura Wittman '05 return to Skidmore to discuss their experiences after graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies. 

The Beehive Collective: The True Cost of Coal

The Beehive Collective presents "The True Cost of Coal," in which the nonprofit, volunteer driven, political arts organization explores social and environmental justice issues surrounding coal mining and production in the U.S. View here: The banner presentation is followed by contra and square dancing, featuring Paul Rosenberg (founder of the Saratoga Dance Flurry) and friends. The True Cost of Coal graphic, about 80% complete, is based on extensive research and ongoing feedback with affected communities in the Appalachian coalfields and environmental justice activists. 'It's extremely important that the story we tell is guided by folks on the ground,' an anonymous worker bee says. Like in a folk tale, all human characters are played by animals and plants, directly linking us to the natural world. The Beehive will be presenting a giant banner reproduction of the graphic to explore the true cost of 'cheap' mountaintop-removal coal mining, starting from its devastating local impacts to the larger context of systems that both demand coal-fired electricity and suffer the results. The bees interweave anecdotes and statistics that expose dubious 'clean coal' rhetoric and connect the dots between American empire, climate change, and resource extraction. They encourage audiences to help interpret the images. 'People learn through visuals and dialogue. You can only absorb so much from the standardized, one-way, "talking head at the podium" setup.' 


Students compete in a recycling tournament.  South Quad won the competition against North Quad, and Northwoods won the competition against Scribner Village.  This event promoted the recycling of glass, metal, and plastic.  Recyclemania is part of a nationwide recycling competition between colleges and universities, and its goal is to increase Skidmore's recycling rate. 

How to Cool the Planet: A Lecture by Jeff Goodell 

The Environmental Studies Program and the Environmental Action Club invite environmental journalist Jeff Goodell to return to Skidmore to speak about his newest book, "How to Cool the Planet:Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate," published in April 2010.  Goodell spoke about the controversial topic of geoengineering to counter the effects of climate change.  In his book, Goodell investigates the viability of geoengineering: ambitious, mostly unproven strategies to “deliberately engineer the earth's climate to counteract global warming.” Despite his promise to avoid the “wacky ideas proposed by wannabe geoengineers,” Goodell still must ask the question: “at what point does the urgent and heroic goal of fixing the planet become just another excuse to make a quick buck?”  In a genre dominated by doomsday scenarios, Goodell's treatment is refreshingly lighthearted, but two questions haunt him: “what kind of person dreams of engineering the entire planet? And can we trust him?” He warns, “[T]echnology has taken us farther away from nature, not drawn us closer to it,” and his provocative account achieves a fine balance between the inventor's enthusiasm and the scientist's skepticism. 

Exploring our Changing Poles: A Lecture by Dr. Robin Bell 

Union College’s Distinguished Science and Engineering Lecture Series featured Dr. Robin Bell, Senior Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.  Dr. Bell has over 23 years of experience in the study of polar environments.  She is the principle Investigator of NSF-funded and NASA-funded projects in Antarctica and Greenland.  She has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, including 5 in Nature and 1 in Nature Geoscience.  She served an 8-year term as Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Polar Research Board, including 6 years as chair during the planning of the International Polar Year.  In addition to her work in polar regions, Dr. Bell has mapped the entire Hudson River from Staten Island to Troy.  She has also recently completed a NSF supported $5 million, 5-year program to enhance diversity in science and engineering.  This event was sponsored by the Skidmore-Union ADVANCE Network Project and the Union College Department of Geology. 

Earth Day! 

The Environmental Action Club sponsored an Earth Day Celebration along with Lively Lucy's and WSPN, who hosted a music festival from noon until 10:00pm in honor of Earth Day.  EAC served lunch and hosted many activities along with other clubs, including plant potting, tie-dying, and selling biodegradable (but reusable!) mugs as a fundraiser for relief in Haiti.