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.

Global Climate and Remote Sensing

This talk will provide an introduction to global climate as well as factors that impact it including the global water, carbon, and energy system. Cutting edge technology will be presented showcasing our abilities to remotely measure current conditions and predict future conditions.

Leland Pierce
Associate Research Scientist
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, University of Michigan


The video of the meeting appears below:

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:

Organizational Sustainability

Organizational Sustainability from https://missionsharingknowledge.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/organizational-values.jpg

Over the centuries, humans have endeavored to find the most appropriate system of organization to meet the challenges of the day. These challenges have included finding food, ensuring security, and increasing productivity. Modern organizations range from the light-hearted such as a local bowling league to the formal such as a corporation or university. As civilization has developed, so too have our organizations in terms of their complexity as well as their breadth of focus. Modern organizations may include a sizable bureaucracy and significant levels of red tape. Organizational sustainabilitywill be presented with a focus on mitigating restrictions to getting things done.

During this community discussion, we watched three TED talks and discussed each with an emphasis on applications to each community member. 

Talk 1: Yves Morieux – As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify (source)

Talk 2: Leerom Segal & Jay Goldman – How Technology Eats Bureaucracy (source)

Talk 3: Simon Sinek – Start With Why (Edited)

The full talk is available to watch 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:

Global Climate and Ice

Our final seminar of the Fall 2016 term will focus on global climate change and the impact on arctic ice. We will show excerpts from the film Chasing Ice as well as Ted talks on the same topic to provide a variety of viewpoints on the changing arctic climate and the impact on the Earth as a whole.


About Chasing Ice:

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.



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:

The North Campus Grove

University’s sustainability guide for this space: Sustainability Summary. For more information about this project, please visit this webpage.


The four-acre lawn at the center of North Campus has been renovated this past summer, transforming it from a space people pass through into one where they linger and connect. It includes:

  • New walkways and a large, paved plaza next to the central tower,
  • “Hills” around the plaza that create a natural amphitheater,
  • More than 180 additional trees in a rolling landscape,
  • Rain gardens that capture storm water runoff

… and even a volleyball court.

Among other things, our speakers will share the latest news on the Grove, its intended uses, and the process of reserving space.

A video of the presentation appears below:

Our speakers include:

Nick Smith: Director of Center for Campus Involvement and University Unions Associate Director: My professional journey took me to Ann Arbor from Philadelphia. Throughout my career, I have gained experience in a variety of areas in student life, including new student orientation, study abroad, multicultural affairs, and service learning. My heart, though, has remained with the community building that occurs with students and staff through campus programs and student organizations. I enjoy the meaning making, partnerships, and learning that occur with these experiences, particularly within the unions at the University of Michigan. I give back to the profession by being a volunteer with the Association of College Unions International.
Kristie Filipchuk: Center for Campus Involvement Student Advisor: I over see a variety of areas. I work with Student Organizations to help facilitate training and risk management education. LeaderShape Institute is something I work with as Program Coordinator here on campus. I also manage the Grove Space on North Campus, which includes working with student groups to help them have successful events outdoors.
Ann Zalucki: Associate VP of Facilities and Operations: Ann manages the outdoor events program for the U-M campus, the liquor licenses for the university’s licensed facilities and all special event alcohol licenses, notices to occupy City of Ann Arbor sidewalks in front of U-M properties, and is the associate director of the University Film Office.

Water Treatment in Ann Arbor


This presentation will discuss issues related to water treatment at the intake for the City of Ann Arbor. The filtering and chemical treatments that are used will be detailed, along with historical issues, and a view for the future. A comparison will be provided between the City of Ann Arbor the water treatment process in the City of Flint, and the recent issues there, as well as an assessment of whether such a thing could happen here in Ann Arbor. Also included will be issues related to the 1,4-Dioxane plume slowly making its way across Ann Arbor and its current and projected effects.

 Brian Steglitz
Manager, Water Treatment Services
The City of Ann Arbor


The video of the meeting is below