Mission Blue

This special movie event presents legendary oceanographer and TED prize winner, Dr. Sylvia Earle, who is on a mission to save our oceans. Mission Blue is part action-adventure, part expose of an Eco-disaster. More than 100 scientists, philanthropists, and activists gather in the Galapagos Islands to help fulfill Dr. Earle’s lifelong wish: build a global network of marine protected areas, like underwater national parks, to protect the natural systems that keep humans alive. As the expedition ends, the Deepwater Horizon oil well explodes. With oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Sylvia and an environmental dream team race around the world trying to defend her “Hope Spots”.

More info about the film is available here.

Dr. Earle has a website devoted to these issues.

Educational resources from National Geographic.

Sustainable Spirits: The Ann Arbor Distilling Company

The Ann Arbor Distilling Company opened in December 2015 in Downtown Ann Arbor. Phil Attee has been involved since the beginning in a number of “back of the house” and “front of the house” positions. Phil will talk about the company’s dedication to sustainability including in the design of its state of the art distilling facility as well as in each of the spirits and cocktails that are produced.

Phil Attee
Brand Ambassador
The Ann Arbor Distilling Company


The video of the meeting appears below:

The Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program

The Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) is a multi-year effort designed to measure and track the culture of sustainability on the University of Michigan’s (U-M) Ann Arbor campus. It is intended to inform U-M officials and others responsible for day-to-day operations of the University including its academic programs. Student and Faculty/Staff questionnaires were first administered in the fall of 2012, and again in the fall of 2013, 2014 and 2015. More than 5,400 faculty, students and staff participated in the most recent version of the survey. Findings based on the first 4 years of SCIP indicate that U-M has made progress with waste prevention among students and faculty, in promoting sustainable food, and engaging the campus community through efforts just as the Planet Blue Ambassadors program. Additional results indicate that more efforts are needed to promote sustainable transportation options, energy conservation efforts, and promoting ways to expand involvement in U-M sustainability activities. This session will provide an overview of key changes between 2012 (Year 1) and 2015 (Year 4) along with an opportunity to discuss key findings and implications for campus sustainability efforts.

John Callewaert, Ph.D.
Director, Emerging Opportunities Program, Graham Sustainability Institute
Lecturer, College of Literature, Science & Arts, University of Michigan
Associate Editor, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

As Emerging Opportunities Program Director at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, John is responsible for overseeing a wide range of activities which support translational knowledge efforts involving subject matter experts, decision-makers, and key stakeholders. John serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, as an advisory council member with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and as an advisory board member for The Integrated Assessment Society.


The video of the meeting appears below:

How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate

Though the scientific community largely agrees that climate change is underway, debates about this issue remain fiercely polarized. These conversations have become a rhetorical contest, one where opposing sides try to achieve victory through playing on fear, distrust, and intolerance. At its heart, this split no longer concerns carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, or climate modeling; rather, it is the product of contrasting, deeply entrenched worldviews. This presentation examines what causes people to reject or accept the scientific consensus on climate change. Synthesizing evidence from sociology, psychology, and political science, Andrew J. Hoffman lays bare the opposing cultural lenses through which science is interpreted. He then extracts lessons from major cultural shifts in the past to engender a better understanding of the problem and motivate the public to take action. How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate makes a powerful case for a more scientifically literate public, a more socially engaged scientific community, and a more thoughtful mode of public discourse.

Andrew (Andy) Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, a position that holds joint appointments at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources & Environment. Andy also serves as Education Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute. In his research, Andy uses organizational, network and strategic analyses to assess the implications of environmental issues for business, and has published over a dozen books and over ninety articles and book chapters on the topic. Prior to academics, Andy worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 1), Metcalf & Eddy Environmental Consultants, T&T Construction & Design, and the Amoco Corporation.

Prof. Hoffman’s website: http://www.andrewhoffman.net/

Book Flyer

Book Website

Video recordings of this talk appear below. A podcast can be downloaded here.

A Tale of Two Farms

Sustainable Agriculture in Detroit and at the UM Campus Farm

Alex Bryan will talk about his 4-acre urban farm, Food Field, in Detroit, and Jeremy Moghtader will talk about the Campus Farm at UM.

Alex Bryan
UMSFP Manager, The University of Michigan
Alex is a graduate from University of Michigan, and has served on several nonprofit boards including Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) and the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). His most recent work was with the Greater Lansing Food Bank, where he was the Director of Agricultural Programs. In his role with the Food Bank, Alex was responsible for resources and support for over 130 gardens and 800 gardeners, as well as community development, business development and leadership training. Previous experience also includes co-owning an urban farm in Detroit, being a volunteer coordinator, serving as a member of Americorps, and working in a Tapas restaurant focusing on fresh and seasonal foods.
Jeremy Moghtader
Campus Farm Manager, The University of Michigan
Jeremy received his M.S. in Resource Ecology and Management from U-M’s School of Natural Resources and Environment in 2004 and his B.S. in Economics also from U-M. He recently served as the Director of Programs at the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm where he worked in varying capacities since 2004. Jeremy has also provided leadership over the past decade in a number of non-profit food systems including, the Food System Partnership (FSEP), The Agrarian Adventure, Tilian Farm Development Center, the SEEDS Residency Farm (Traverse City), and Slow Food Huron Valley.


The video of the meeting appears below:

The UM Sustainable Food Program


Allie Weber and Haley Kerner
Sustainable Food Program, The University of Michigan
The UM Sustainable Food Program fosters collaborative leadership that empowers students to create a sustainable food system at the University of Michigan while becoming change agents for a vibrant planet.
Anna Fowler and Michael VanderZwagg
Food Industry Student Association, The University of Michigan
FISA, the Food Industry Student Association, is U of M’s first and only food industry career oriented organization. Together with the help of it’s rapidly growing list of corporate partners, FISA aims to educate students about the career opportunities the food industry has available to students.
Michael Tang
Maize & Blue Cupboard, The University of Michigan
With the rising cost of tuition and the inconvenience of local grocery stores, Maize & Blue Cupboard fights against all levels of student food insecurity on campus through monthly distributions in the Trotter Multicultural Center.


We encountered a technical anomaly while recording this seminar. Unfortunately, the introduction and first 15 minutes of the talk were not captured. We apologize to our presenters. The video of the remainder of the talk appears below:

Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate


Weather is normally abnormal with wild fluctuations from week to week. But with destruction of the Arctic sea ice and warmer ocean temperatures how might the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events change in the future? This talk presents an overview of what is predicted for the future of hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, drought and flooding and illustrates how teaching these topics at the University of Michigan led to the development of a new educational technology that is now used by millions of students worldwide.

Perry Samson
Professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, The University of Michigan
Perry Samson

Other web resources on Extreme Weather:


The video of the meeting appears below:

Wind Power

We have two presentations related to Wind Power: one discusses large-scale wind turbines, and the other a student project to bring small-scale wind power to everyone:

University of Michigan Professor John Everett of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept discusses the erection of utility scale wind turbine generators. Topics such as site layout, foundation design and implementation, collection line design and implementation, and turbine erection will be covered. Pictures and information in this presentation will be taken from real projects deployed by One Energy in and around Findlay Ohio.

John Everett
Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Michigan
John Everett



Presenting the small-scale viewpoint are University of Michigan engineering students from the BLUElab project team named Woven Wind. This is a multidisciplinary BLUElab project team that builds small scale wind turbines and works to advance a culture of sustainability, particularly with students in the southeast Michigan community. Recent projects include a permanent small-scale turbine installation at A2STEAM elementary school and a partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum that culminated in a portable, interactive and visual wind turbine. They will be discussing their education work and detail the project’s technical progress, challenges, and current goals.

Elise Shanholtz
Sophomore in Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Michigan
Elise Schanholtz
Gabrielle Vuylsteke
Senior in Depts. of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, The University of Michigan
Gabrielle Vuylsteke
Raghav Muralidharan
Junior in Dept. of Civil Engineering, The University of Michigan
Raghav Muralidharan


The video of the meeting appears below:

Solar Powering My House

(Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love Ohm’s law)

In this talk Prof. Forrest will speak about the worldwide need for inexpensive renewable energy, its current status and the real economics, cutting through popular urban myths or misleading political arguments. Then he will discuss how he actually forgot about all this “noise” and got down to the business of powering his own house in Vermont (an area not known for sunshine and sandy beaches). He had no choice: his house is deep in the National Forest without access to the electricity grid. He will show how he and his family came to terms with only the sun as their power source. It turns out to be quiet, cheap, reliable (even during Hurricane Irene that tore through the state in 2011), and renewable, starting every morning around 8 am.

Stephen Forrest
Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Physics, and Materials Science & Engineering, The University of Michigan
Stephen Forrest


The video of the meeting appears below:



Sustainable Development, Land Use and Environmental Planning

This presentation will discuss Prof. Norton’s research in the areas of sustainable development, land use and environmental planning, and coastal area management. His most recent research has focused especially on the challenges of managing shorelands along the Laurentian Great Lakes.

Richard Norton
Professor and Chair, Urban & Regional Planning Program Professor Program in the Environment, The University of Michigan
Richard Norton


The video of the meeting appears below the Youtube video shown at the start of the session. If you would like to download a podcast version of the seminar, please click here.