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2019
Tuesday, January 29th
4:00 PM

Plastics, Degradability, and the Environment

Peter Strom, Rutgers University

Harmful environmental effects of plastics have long been condemned by activists, and some of these problems are well documented. However, in seeking to substitute other materials or make changes in the properties of the plastics themselves, it is important that the policies implemented do not worsen existing or create new environmental problems. This seminar will discuss some of the general concerns associated with this issue, such as the environmental impacts of using other materials instead of plastics, and then focus on degradable plastics. What is degradability, when might it be valuable, and will these products in fact degrade? Results of a study on biodegradable plastics under anaerobic conditions (such as in most sludge digestion and landfills) will be presented.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuesday, February 5th
4:00 AM

Global Sustainability that Respects Cultural Diversity & Individual Health Needs

Meriterese Racanelli, Goya Foods

The USA Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health have classified excessive sodium consumption, high blood pressure and diabetes as national health epidemics across various ethnic cultures. The United Nations and other countries classify these as Global Epidemics. Interestingly,some ways to help fix this national and global health crisis can be found in the balance of sustainable environmentally-friendly agriculture, green technologies, and cultural competencies. Learn how sustainability studies, research, and jobs can still respect an individual’s ethnic heritage, culture, and nutritional health needs, while improving the community health at large... from local to global. Sustainability can help us fight climate change, reduce pollution, secure food and water supplies... and yes ...reduce national health epidemics like high blood pressure and diabetes.

4:00 AM - 5:00 AM

Tuesday, February 19th
4:00 PM

State Environmental Public Policies and the Interaction with Wholesale Electric Markets

Cynthia L. M. Holland, NJBPU

Several States, including New Jersey, pursued utility restructuring in the late 1990s, transitioning to competitive markets. Recognizing that those markets may not achieve the states’ environmental policy goals, many of these states have enacted legislation that offer incentives to clean or renewable energy sources. This seminar will discuss the jurisdictional tensions that have developed as a result of the integration of state environmental policies into the wholesale market.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuesday, February 26th
4:00 PM

How Climate Change is Driving Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Innovation

Faith Taylor, Montclair State University

Climate Change continues to create ongoing challenges to companies, our communities and planet. Key stakeholders from employees to Investors request that we are all held accountable. Learn how companies have responded and the innovation that is driving change and hope for a better world. Be humbled, educated and inspired to make a difference.

4:00 PM - 5:00 AM

Tuesday, March 5th
4:00 AM

The Boring Millions? Vegetation, Atmospheric CO2 , and Climate Revolutions of the Late Miocene

Pratigya Polissar, Columbia University

During the late Miocene (11-5 Ma), global ice volume and deep ocean temperatures appear to be relatively unchanging. These “boring millions” suggest stasis of the climate system with the expectation of only moderate global changes in climate, CO2 and vegetation. However, during this time tropical ecosystems underwent profound changes and surface ocean temperatures declined dramatically. When did these changes occur, what drove them, and what role if any did atmospheric carbon dioxide levels play? I will address these questions through new observations of the onset, pace and geographic extent of vegetation transformations and hydrologic changes reconstructed from molecular biomarkers. I will then examine the role that atmospheric CO2 levels and other factors may have played in these transformations.

4:00 AM - 5:00 AM

Tuesday, March 19th
4:00 PM

Gowanus Canal: A Superfund Case Study

Walter Mugdan, Environmental Protection Agency

The Gowanus Canal is a 1.8-mile long industrial waterway in the borough of Brooklyn, New York. The Canal is bounded by several communities, including Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The Canal empties into New York Harbor. The Gowanus Canal was built in the mid-1800s and was used as a major industrial transportation route. Manufactured gas plants (MGP), paper mills, tanneries and chemical plants operated along the Canal and discharged wastes into it. In addition, contamination flows into the Canal from overflows from sewer systems that carry sanitary waste from homes and rainwater from storm drains and industrial pollutants. As a result, the Gowanus Canal has become one of the nation's most seriously contaminated water bodies.

On December 27, 2012, the EPA released a Proposed Plan describing its proposed remedy for the site. The Proposed Plan recommended removing all of the contaminated sediment that has accumulated as a result of industrial and sewer discharges from the bottom of the canal by dredging. The dredged areas would then be capped. EPA also recommended controls to prevent CSOs and other land-based sources of contamination from compromising the cleanup. This program provides an overview of the work on the canal and its implications for the future of the surrounding communities.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM