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Past GESS Speakers

Each year the Department of Geography & the Environment, the Environmental Studies Program and International Studies Program partner to bring noteworthy speakers and scholars to Richmond to present lectures related to our global environment. This is a list of speakers who have participated in the Global Environment Speaker Series in the past.


Sept. 17
Alex Marten
Economist, National Center for Environmental Economics, US Environmental Protection Agency
"Non-Market Valuation and Uncertainty in the Analysis of Environmental Policy"

Oct. 22
Mary Kuhn
Assistant Professor, English and Program in Environmental Thought & Practice, University of Virginia
"Plant Feeling in the Anthropocene"

Oct. 24
Dana Luciano
Associate Professor of English and Women's & Gender Studies, Rutgers University
"Melville's Anthropocenes"
Co-sponsored with the English Department Lecture Series

Nov. 7  (Cancelled)
Nancy Tuana
Dupont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
"Racial Climates"
Co-Sponsored with the English Department Lecture Series and the WGSS Program

Feb. 5
Vivian Leung
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Richmond
"The largest dam removal in the world: The Elwha River Restoration project, wood debris, deltas, and habitat"

Feb. 13
Kai Bosworth
Assistant Professor of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University
"'This land is our land': Private property, settler colonialism, and the affective territories of populism in pipeline opposition movements"
Co-Sponsored with the English Department Lecture Series and the WGSS Program

Feb. 18 (Cancelled)
Samantha Bova
L'Oreal For Women in Science Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University
"Putting climate change in context: reconstructing the history of Earth's climate with seafloor sediments”

Feb. 27
Greg Jaczko
Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) commissioner and chairman
"Nuclear Power: Climate Savior or Foe?"

April 10  (Cancelled)
Neel Ahuja
Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Cruz
"From Insurgency to Adaptation: Bangladesh and the Figure of the Climate Refugee"
Co-Sponsored with the English Department Lecture Series


Sept. 26
Reed Perkins
Sam & Carolyn McMahon Professor, Environmental Science, Queens University of Charlotte
"When Islands Sink: The Story of Climate Change and Micronesia"

Oct. 2
Patrick Bond
Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand Wits School of Governance
Mary Finley-Brook
Associate Professor, Geography and the Environment, University of Richmond
"Environmental Justice and Contested Pipelines: Panel Discussion Comparing Related Issues in Virginia and Durban, South Africa”

Oct. 24
Christopher von Rueden
Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond
"Effects of market integration on social structure and land use among the Tsimane' of Bolivia"

Nov. 13
James Vonesh
Associate Professor, Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University
"South African summits to sea: a watershed perspective on the society, biodiversity, & freshwater resources"

Jan. 23
Russell Fielding
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Sewanee: The University of the South
"The Wake of the Whale: Human and Environmental Implications of Whaling in the Caribbean and North Atlantic"

Feb. 27
Ann Phillips
United States Navy (Ret), Special Assistant to the Governor of Virginia for Coastal Adaptation and Protection
"Coastal Adaptation and Protection in Virginia"

Mar. 20
Samson Hagos
Earth Systems Analysis & Modeling Earth Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
"South Asian monsoon rainfall in climate models: a link between inter-model spread and the representations of tropical convection"


Sept. 13
David Salisbury
Associate Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Richmond
Assassinations in the Amazon: Mapping Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene

Sept. 20
Francois Gutu Kia Zini
Associate Professor, Development Economics, Universite Pedagogique Nationale, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Space, Vegetation and Community: The Case of Kinshasa

Oct. 4
Dorothy L. Hodgson
Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Graduate School-New Brunswick and Professor Anthropology, Rutgers University
Busting Myths about China's Overseas Development Program in Africa with New Data

Nov. 8
George Pangburn
Senior Executive, US Nuclear Regulartory Commission - Retired
Siting of Controversial Facilities

Nov. 29
Abigail Abrash Walsh
Professor, Environmental Studies, Antioch University, Founder of ActionWorks
Change Leadership for a Changing Climate

Jan. 31
Stephen Nash
Visiting Senior Reserach Scholar, Journalism Department, University of Richmond
Grand Canyon for Sale: Public Lands vs Private Interests

Feb. 7
Stuart Marks
Animal Ecologist and Cultural Anthropologist
Culture, History, and Politics: the Conservation Dilemma in southern Africa

Mar. 28
Jessica Hellmann
Director, Intstitute on the Environment, Russell M & Elizabeth M. Bennett Professor, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, University of Minnesota
The past, present, and future of climate change adaptation, in biodiversity and people too

Apr. 19
Gary Machlis
Former Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service and Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Clemson University
The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water


Sept. 29
Garth Meyers
Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies, Trinity College
Urban Environments in Africa: Sustainable Development and Grassroots Socio-Environmental Justice

Nancy Tuana
Founding Director of The Rock Ethics Institute, Penn State University
The Ethics of Climate Change: Broadening the Scope of the Dialogue

Jan. 25
Malcolm Hill
Clarence E. Denoon Professor of Science, Biology Department, University of Richmond
Heart break on coral reefs in the Florida Keys: When the water got too warm and the sponges got sick

Feb. 21
Meredith Niles
Assistant Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences, University of Vermont
Achieving Food Security in a Changing Climate

Feb. 22
Anthony Flaccavento
Author and Founder of Appalachian Sustainable Development
Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change

Mar. 16
Tiffany Holmes
Artist and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Sustainability and Art gallery talk


Sept. 23
Don Belt
Writer and Editor, National Geographic
Water Stories and a Walk Out of Eden

Oct. 21
Gary Machlis
Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service and Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Clemson University
Desolation Row: Sustainability for the Oft-forgotten

Nov. 11
Shawn Carter
Acting Chief, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
Making Climate Change Research More Relevant to Natural Resource Management

Jan. 21
Elizabeth Ransom
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Richmond
Exploring the Relevance of Sustainable Beef Production in Southern Africa

Jan. 29
Wayne Weiseman
Founder and Director of The Permaculture Project LLC
Integrated Forest Gardening: An Evening with Wayne Weiseman

Feb. 5
Kevin Bales
Co-Founder, Free the Slaves
Blood and Earth - Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World

Mar. 16
Kim Q. Hall 
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Appalachian State University
Rethinking the Land Ethic, Cripping Environmentalism

Leonid Polyak
Research Scientist, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University
The End of White Silence: Climate Change in the Arctic


Oct. 20
Matt Coolidge
Founder and Director, Center for Land Use Interpretation

Nov. 3
Greg Garman
Director, VCU Center for Environmental Studies
400 Years of Chesapeake Bay Fish and Fisheries: A Study in Environmental Change

Nov. 17
J. Baird Callicott
University Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy, University of North Texas, Philosophy of Conservation
Thinking Like a Planet: The Land Ethic and the Earth Ethic

Jan. 21
Joel Dunn
Executive Director, Chesapeake Conservancy
Conserving the landscapes and special places that sustain the Chesapeake

Feb. 4
Elizabeth Kolbert
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Mar. 24
Tim Hamilton
Assistant Professor of Economics, Robins School of Business
Valuation of Environmental Goods in U.S. Policy


Sep. 18
Ikal Angelei
Envionmental Justice Advocate
Partnering with Communities for Sustainable Economic Justice: An East African Case Study

Sep. 30
Vikram Rao
Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium
Strategies for Displacing Oil

Oct. 23
Jennifer Simpson
Sr. Public Health Advisor, Scientific Technologies Corporation
The public health impact of surgical interventions in Sierra Leone and Guatemala

Nov. 12
Jeffrey Kerby
PhD Candidate, The Polar Center, Pennsylvania State University
Melting Sea Ice Has Surprising Consequences for Wildlife

Jan. 22
Andrea Chavez Michaelsen
Consultant, Co-Director, UR-UNU HED/USAID project
Landscape Dynamics inthe Southwestern Amazon: Linking Patterns and Pixels

Feb. 19
Amy Treonis

Associate Professor of Biology, 
University of Richmond
Reflections on Food, Agriculture, and the Environment from a semester spent in Nepal

Mar. 18
Frank Biasi
Director of Digital Development at National Geographic Maps
A 'Living Atlas' to explore and sustain the James River Watershed

Apr. 2
Gerald McCarthy
Former Executive Director, Virginia Environmental Endowment       
How Philanthropy Can Leverage Positive Change in Environmental Quality


Sep. 12
Mr. Scott Wallace
Speaking for Those Who Cannot Speak for Themselves: How to Protect the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes

Oct. 25
Dr. Martin Medina
Centro de Investigacion Cientifica de Yucatan, UCIA
Synoptic View of Past Climates in the Yucatan Peninsula: Climate and the Fate of Ancient Maya Kingdoms

Nov. 14
Dr. Nina Dudnik
Seeding Labs
Yes, scientists can change the world

Mar. 28
Dr. Alexander Dehgan
U.S. Agency for International Development
Catalyzing Global Action to Address Wicked Environmental and Development Challenges

Apr. 17
Dr. Doug Tallamy

University of Delaware
Richard Louv
Children and Nature Network
Bringing Nature Home: Native Plants in our Garden

Apr. 20
John Luther Adams



Sept. 13
Dr. Andy Bunn

Western Washington University
The Arctic Carbon Bomb? Global Change in the Northern High Latitudes

Oct. 3
Ms. Brenda Baletti

University of North Carolina
Saving the Amazon? Sustainable Soy and the New Logic of Conservation

Nov. 3
Dr. Andrew Elmore

University of Maryland
Groundwater, desert ecosytems, and the global dust cycle

Jan. 19
Dr. Peter Leimgruber
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
From Pixels to Elephants: Applications of Spatial Analysis Technology for Species Conservation

Feb. 2
Dr. David Campbell

Grinnell College
The Specter of Empire: Is La Selva Maya a feral forest garden?

Mar. 15
Dr. Antoinette Winkler Prins

Michigan State University
Amazonian Dark Earths: Implications for the Region?

Mar. 20
Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld '96

The African People and Wildlife Fund
A 21st Century Approach to African Wildlife Conservation: Helping Africa's People Engage in the Conservation Arena

Mar. 29
Dr. David Haskell
Sewanee: The University of the South
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature


Sept. 13
Dr. Tim Carruthers
University of Maryland  
Local and global declines of seagrass: Is there a glimmer of hope for this essential ecosystem?

Nov. 10
Dr. Darrel Moellendorf
San Diego State University
A Right to Sustainable Development

Feb. 22
Ms. Mimi Kessler
Arizona State University
Moving Targets: Community-Based Research to Conserve Migratory Populations of Great Bustard in Mongolia

Mar. 16
Dr. Nick Haddad
North Carolina State University
Landscape Corridors for Biodiversity in a Changing World

Mar. 31
Dr. Josephine Axt
Army Corps of Engineers
The Corps Does What? Justifying Federal Investment in Ecosystem Restoration

Apr. 4
Ms. Laila El-Haddad
Author and journalist
Telling the Story of Gaza