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AESS 2014 Session Group A
Thursday, June 12, 2014
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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The Montreal Protocol at a Crossroads: What Needs Urgent Attention Now and How That Is Connected to Climate Change?
Discussion Symposium
This is a discussion symposium intended to provide a forum for discussion of the ideas and themes raised in the Montreal Protocol plenary.

Nancy Reichman, University of Denver

Marco Gonzalez, Montreal Protocol Secretariat, UNEP
Stephen O. Andersen, Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development
Brian J. Gareau, Boston College
Durwood Zaelke,  Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Environmental Politics and Landscape Imaginaries in the Age of the Anthropocene
The concept of the Anthropocene is widely used by scientists who argue that we live in an epoch in which humanity acts like a ‘geological force’ that is shaping the earth’s environment. Recent scholarship on the concept has shown how this characterization of unfolding environmental problems blurs the boundaries between ‘social’ and ‘natural’ processes. In this panel, we explore how ideas associated with the concept of the Anthropocene inform new-generation environmental politics that address socio-environmental transformations. The papers investigate how environmental initiatives mobilize ideas related to the Anthropocene in relation to issues such as extractivism, agricultural production, forestry, and indigenous participation in climate politics. We see how an ‘Anthropocene approach’ is at play in these areas insofar as social movements and policymakers discuss, collaborate, and struggle over issues that cut across scales (from the local to the planetary) and reimagine linkages between human and natural systems. We examine environmental projects that are animated by landscape imaginaries that mobilize understandings of humanity, place, and nature in situations of change.
The panel investigates how ideas pertaining to the science of the Anthropocene inform politics at the national and global levels, and how they pose novel opportunities and challenges both to powerful interests and social movements. Engaging with literature that underlines the political and cultural character of concepts such as ‘human,’ ‘nature,’ and ‘economy,’ we critically address how Anthropocene ideas play out in dominant environmental approaches. Similarly, we explore how the ‘Anthropocene approach’ is expressed at local levels and how local populations and social movements engage with its ideas in order to problematize ongoing environmental problems in terms of justice and rights.

David M Rojas, Cornell University

David M Rojas, Cornell University, Anthropocene Approaches to Climate Politics. The Case of Forest Carbon Markets in Brazilian Amazonia
Peter Brewitt, University of California, Santa Cruz. Same River Twice: The New West, the Old West, and Dam Removal
Noor Johnson, Brown University. Landscapes of the Anthropocene and Emerging Global Environmental Politics

Noor Johnson, Brown University
Peter Wilshusen, Bucknell University

Synthetic Chemicals and Society: Research and Perspectives on Ethics and Environmental Health, Governance, and Education (Part I)
This panel discusses the evidence of global contamination by man-made chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals, and discusses the ethical challenges inherent in continued production of materials that have long-term biological effects. The intensive use of chemicals in domestic commercial applications began after the end of World War II and continues to increase at an exponential rate. Of the 200,000 synthetic chemicals in common use, fewer than 200 have been explicitly tested for health effects. We see now the advance of systemic effects, such as endocrine disruption, obesity, autism, and decreased fertility, across broad populations. In the face of these unintended consequences of widespread chemical use, what are our responsibilities as researchers, producers, and educators to protect future generations and ecosystems?.

Patricia M DeMarco

Patricia DeMarco, DeMarco & Associates , Ethical Considerations in Health and Ecosystem Effects of Man-made Chemicals

Christine Vatovec, University of Vermont, Do no harm: Trade-offs and tensions between individual and societal level outcomes of pharmaceutical use and disposal

Sasha Adkins, Antioch New England, Health Implications of Plastic Marine Debris

Teaching in the Anthropocene (Part I)

Ken Wilkening, University of Northern British Columbia

Ken Wilkening, University of Northern British Columbia, Teaching the Anthropocene: Developing a Whole Earth Studies (Environmental Studies + Global Studies) Curriculum

Gabriel Piser, The Ohio State University, Engaged, Collaborative, and Transdisciplinary: Experimentation in Anthropocene Environmental Studies

Ashwani Vasishth, Ramapo College of New Jersey,  Systems Thinking: Using the "Wicked Problems" Meme to Teach An Ecosystem Approach to Managing Problems of the Anthropocene

Artists of the Anthropocene: Regarding Life Aquatic
This is the first of two panel sessions devoted to ecological art, or eco-art. Eco-art is a form of aesthetic activism that raises awareness of ecological change, particularly anthropogenic change, that threatens the welfare of human and non-human life.

The session will present three artists’ critical response to emerging crises in our oceans, lakes and streams. The panelists have devoted their research and practice to water and its ecosystems. Water’s flora and fauna provide an emotional focus for the crisis as their well-being is symbolic of the health of our waters. Some of the most tragic images of the BP disaster in Louisiana were of oil-soaked birds struggling in the surf.

Fish and amphibian populations are sensitive to chemical pollution of their habitats, and are seen by some to be coalminer’s canaries of environmental change. Panelist Brandon Ballangée’s images of deformed frog specimens document the intimate tragedies of environmental change. At different scale Aviva Rahmani has studied fish populations and developed coastal ecological zones as prospective models for artistic environmental intervention. Fellow panelist Elizabeth Damon’s work contrasts the role played by water in traditional Asian cultures with the threat presented by regional ecological change.

The panelists are graduates of the University of Plymouth (UK) doctoral program and research center, the Planetary Collegium. The Planetary Collegium aims to produce new knowledge in the context of the arts, through trans-disciplinary inquiry and critical discourse, with special reference to advances in science, technology and cultural transformation. In 2011 the Planetary Collegium was awarded the World Universities Forum Award for Best Practices in Higher Education.

Peter Anders, Planetary Collegium

Brandon Ballengée, Witness to Change: Form and Deformation in Amphibian Populations

Aviva Rahmani, Ghost Nets and Fish Story

Elizabeth Damon, Keepers of the Waters, Collaborations Between Art, Science and Citizens

Predators and Prey

Rafi Youatt, New School for Social Research

Rafi Youatt, New School for Social Research,  Against the Anthropocene?: Wolves of Isle Royale and the New Environmental Moment 

Hannah Jaicks, CUNY Graduate Center, Conflicts and Coexistence: Rethinking Humans' Placements and Connections with Predators Across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Mary Frances Duggan, Antioch University, Anthropopic Mosquito: Old Disease and New Technology

Integrating Multifunctional Landscape Design into Agricultural Policy
Land is undoubtedly one of world’s most valuable natural resources. Increasing pressure to bring more land into production—some of it ecologically sensitive—has led modern society to raise concerns over the world’s capacity to effectively balance a variety of land needs and uses. Bioenergy incentives and the “food v. fuel” debate in particular have exposed the urgent need for coordinated policies that prioritize land uses both for human use and the ecosystem values upon which humans depend. The massive challenge for future policymakers will be to coordinate land use policies into a coherent strategy. In developed countries such as the U.S. and Europe, one place to begin would be with bioenergy and agricultural subsidy programs, which contain sustainability provisions to varying degrees and have triggered broader discussions about landscape-level sustainability planning. These policy debates inform greatly policy design in emerging economies such as Brazil, which hosts an enormous land base potential for energy, food, and ecosystem services. Our panel critiques current efforts in the European Union, U.S., and Brazil to reform agricultural and bioenergy policies in a way that considers multifunctional landscape design, and identifies model policy architecture for the future as bioenergy and agriculture teeter on the precipice of potentially ushering in a new paradigm in policy approaches.

Jody M Endres, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rayane Aguiar, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Past and Present Efforts to Green the Common Agricultural Policy: Successes, Failures, and Future Potential for Multifunction Landscape Design

Matthew D. Potts, University of California at Berkeley, Best Practices for Sugarcane Production: A Landscape Perspective

Loka Ashwood, The University of Wisconsin, For the public good: weaving a multifunctional landscape in the cornbelt

The Anthropocene I

Bertrand G. Guillaume, University of Technology, Troyes (France)

Bertrand G. Guillaume, University of Technology, Troyes (France), Thinking the Anthropocene Today: A View from the Philosophy of Technology 

Kate O'Neill, University of California at Berkeley, The Mis-Anthropocene? Uses and Abuses of a Meta-Frame

Andreas Kotsakis, Oxford Brookes University, The Anthropocene and International Environmental Law: A Challenge from European Non-Centred Ecological Thought

Lenore Malen, I Am the Animal (invited artist) 


Storytelling in the Anthropocene: Picturing People and the Planet (discussion symposium)
In today’s increasingly polarized and celebrity-driven media marketplace there is little room for thoughtful discussion of complex issues such as anthropogenic impacts on the planet. The majority of news about the environment is narrowly defined or follows well-worn paths. But reporters, filmmakers, and photographers who have ventured beyond their traditional beats have returned with stories that not only document the scale of the problems we face, but also showcase innovative solutions through compelling human stories.

The billions of people in developing countries who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods clearly understand the holistic connections between humans and their environment. But the relationship between population dynamics, environmental challenges, and human rights is poorly understood by the public and policymakers in developed countries. Visual media—film, video, and photography-- have proven especially powerful for conveying people’s lived experience. 

Using excerpts from their news stories, photos, and documentaries, the discussants will show us what inspired them to tackle the challenge of documenting population-environment connections, and will describe the impact of their work on audiences around the world. Based on their experience, they will offer a set of lessons learned and concrete steps for environmental scientists, NGOs, and policymakers who want to communicate more clearly and effectively about both the serious threats facing the planet and the people--especially women--who can mitigate them.

The New York Times' Andrew Revkin will moderate a discussion symposium featuring independent producer Sam Eaton on the public radio series "Food for 9 Billion"; the Wilson Center's Sean Peoples on "Healthy People, Healthy Environment" series of documentaries on Tanzania, Nepal, and Ethiopia; and George Washington University’s Imani M. Cheers on her multimedia reporting on women, health, and agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa.

Andrew Revkin, Pace University

Sean Peoples, Woodrow Wilson Center
Sam Eaton, Independent Producer
Solana Pyne, GlobalPost

Environmental policy

Graham Bullock, Davidson College

Graham Bullock, Davidson College, The Meaning of  Embedded Values in Environmental Certifications and Ratings 

Milena Wazeck, University of East Anglia, How to (not) quantify an environmental problem: Disagreements about the extent of lake acidification in eastern North America in the 1980s

Paul-Henry Blanchet, University of Central Florida, Influence of Neonicotinoid Policies on Ecological Modernization

Teaching Care and Hope
Molly Jensen, Southwestern University

Molly Jensen, Southwestern University, Cultivating a Sense of Place in a Religious Studies Course:   Teaching for Ecological Care 

Elizabeth Meacham, Ursuline College, Teaching Ecomindfulness: place-based mindfulness practices in an undergraduate environmental philosophy class

Mark Hathaway, University of Toronto, Activating Hope in the Midst of Crisis: Insights from Ecopsychology and "The Work that Reconnects"

Thomas R. Hudspeth, UVM Environmental Program, Videos Tell Sustainability Stories to Work toward  Hopeful, Local, Place-based Sustainable Futures

Watershed Management  I

Kenneth Shockley, University at Buffalo – SUNY

Kenneth Shockley, University at Buffalo – SUNY, Brandon Rudroff, University at Buffalo – SUNY, Rethinking the value of stakeholder participation in generating context sensitive baselines for groundwater restoration

Kimberly Horndeski, The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources, Deciding How to Decide: An Evaluation of Cultural Typologies on the Decision Rule Making Process in Watershed Organizations

Alexander Heeren, School of Environment and Natural Resources- The Ohio State University, Coupled Human and Natural Systems in Ohio's Maumee Watershed

TOXIC RELEASE! An opportunity to play a unique eco-educational game sponsored by EPA's Toxics Release Inventory University Challenge. (Discussion Symposium)
This session will provide participants the opportunity to play Toxic Release! An Eco-educational Simulation. Toxic Release! was created by students at SUNY Plattsburgh as part of EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) University Challenge.

The compounding elements of toxic releases make teaching and learning about them difficult. For example, toxic releases have multifarious source/sink dynamics, high-stakes risk profiles, complex timelines and passionate stakeholders with conflicting concerns and objectives. Furthermore, the environmental and health-related impacts of hazardous releases are difficult to pin down, and challenging for scientists to communicate to constituents. As a result, the management of toxic releases and associated processes of risk reduction and policy development are difficult to explore in conventional classroom settings. 

Toxic Release! overcomes many of the barriers to effective teaching and learning about toxic releases through a participatory, computer-based environmental management and policy development simulation. In other words, a game. The purpose of this game is to use TRI data to make the invisible dynamics associated with toxic releases more tangible. The game allows participants to assume the roles of industry professionals, community members concerned with environmental and human health, and government regulators. Stakeholders then use computer models founded upon data from the TRI, role play and environmental problem-solving frameworks to manage a toxic release scenario. The simulation pushes participants to think creatively while collaborating to explore the science, risk, management and policy development processes related to toxic releases. The scenarios included in the game mirror real-world cases, as documented by the TRI program and National Public Radio’s Poisoned Places series.
Our conference session will give participants the opportunity to play Toxic Release! The session will be lively, fun, informative and unique, and will showcase an innovative product from the TRI University Challenge.

Curt Gervich, SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Earth & Environmental Science