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SUNY Canton Lecture SeriesSustainability Lecture Series

The Sustainability Speaker Series was designed to accelerate awareness of environmental, economic and social concerns through presentations, and interactive demonstrations. Stimulating cross-collegiate discussions, and inspiring smart and effective action among our campus communities is the primary goal of such a collaborative program.
Additionally, the series features several “Round Table” discussions consisting of interested students, faculty, and staff.  Each college will host one of the round tables, with the culminating panel discussion comprised of student representatives from the participating colleges taking place during Earth Week at the end of April.

2015 Speaker Schedule

Bill McKibbenBill McKibben

Oil & Honey

Co-presented by Living Writers Lecture Series

Wednesday, April 1, 6:30 p.m.
Roos House

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He is founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities; Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world's 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was "probably America's most important environmentalist." A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern.


Past Speakers

Curt Stager

Climate Whiplash

Most debate over global warming looks only as far ahead as 2100 AD, but what happens after that? As Curt Stager, author of "Deep Future: the next 100,000 years of life on Earth," argues, our fossil fuel emissions will interfere with climates for much longer than most of us, scientists included, yet realize. Even in the mildest scenarios, the world won't fully recover for tens of thousands of years, and possibly much longer.

Curt Stager

Bio: Curt Stager is a paleoecologist and science writer with a Ph.D. in biology and geology from Duke University. A world authority on the climatic history of Africa, he has also investigated El Niño in Peru, lake and climate history in the Adirondacks, exploding lakes in Cameroon, and bat pollination of flowers in Melanesia. Stager has published numerous papers in major journals including Science and Quaternary Research, and served as expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In addition, he has a long record of writing for general audiences in National Geographic, Fast Company, Adirondack Life, and elsewhere, and has co-hosted Natural Selections on North Country Public Radio since 1989. His latest book, Deep Future (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) examines the long-term future of human-driven climate change.

Robin McClellan

Sustainability Is a Process, Not a Product

Addressing sustainability issues means working with people, natural resources, and all the associated parameters and relationships. In this hands on talk McClelland talks about the challenges and strategies for effectively navigating these complex bureaucracies towards accomplishing goals.

Bio: Robin McClellan is an Adjunct in the Alternative and Renewable Energy program at SUNY Canton and a jack of many trades. In the past he has been a computer consultant, environmental activist serving on the Boards of NYS Citizens Environmental Coalition and Great Lakes United. He is the founder of Seedcorn, an organization dedicated to supporting grassroots community movements. He currently sits on the boards of the Potsdam Coop and Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley and the Town of Stockholm Economic Development Committee. In his spare time he builds, among other things, beer, bread, furniture, buildings, organizations and community.

Jerry Bartlett

Going Against the Grain

Given time, the results of drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on the human body to the point of an early demise. Is it possible the food you are eating will do the same? A less than stellar review of America's "Health Report Card" suggests the answer is yes! In this presentation, CrazyJerry will bring to the forefront - "The Unsustainable Diet / Going Against the Grain". Get ready to connect some dots that will likely have you re-thinking everything about "eating well". This is a delectable feast nobody can afford to miss! Hope to see you there - Bon Appetit!

Jerry Bartlett

Bio: Jerry Bartlett (aka CrazyJerry) has been living successfully off-grid for over a decade in Colton, NY with "Dottie" (a petite 17 year old Jack Russell Terrier). Applying the alternative lifestyle has revealed a few shortcomings of the "advanced" society and through presentations, workshops and home tours his goal is to enlighten and motivate people to explore what can be done by the average person and what to expect.

Jon RosalesJon Rosales

Think Global - Act Local

Jon has been invited to speak at the last eight United Nations conferences on climate change, at conferences of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, and the North American Benthological Society, and is an Expert Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Jon is currently an associate professor of Environmental Studies at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York where he teaches classes that apply the motto, “Think global; act local.”

Bio: Jon was born in Ecuador to American parents imprinting an international perspective on him since infancy. He grew up in Latin America, moving to the U.S. in his teens. He holds a B.A. in International Relations specializing in diplomacy from the University of Minnesota; a M.A. in Economics specializing in Ecological and International Economics from Mankato State University; a M.A. in Public Affairs specializing in Technology, Energy and Environment and Foreign Policy from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota; and a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota. His dissertation was on the social values embedded in emissions trading, the most ambitious policy mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

Stephen Ledoux

Running Out of Time ---- Using Behaviorology to Help Solve Global Problems

Stephen LedouxDr. Ledoux’s latest book: “Running Out of Time --- Using Behaviorology to Help Solve Global Problems”: “In His courageous book, the Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sage refers to science “as a candle in the dark.” Here we start turning that candle into a floodlight, to better illuminate solutions to global problems, by introducing Behavior logy, the natural science of behavior. This book describes what natural scientists of life functions have discovered about human nature and human behavior over the first 100 years of experimental investigations and applications. They are particularly interested in sharing their discoveries, because the success of the efforts of the natural scientists of energy, matter, and life forms, to solve major problems in an timely manner, hinges on a broader science-team effort that takes these discoveries into account. This especially applies to overpopulation and global warming, to prevent humanity from having to experience their worst effects. And we are running out of time.”

Bio: Dr. Stephen Ledoux is a 35-year professor of Behaviorology. He received his Ph.D. From Western Michigan University in 1982. He also consults for other universities to build quality behaviorology departments and programs.

Hilary SmithHilary Smith

Meeting the Invasive Species Challenge: Opportunities for Action

Lands and waters face one of the biggest environmental challenges of all time - invasive species. Introduced from other places, invading plants and animals have no natural predators to keep their populations in check. They spread uncontrollably, wreaking havoc in rivers and streams, lakes and ponds, and woods and wetlands. Organizations and communities across the Adirondacks and New York are working on ways to protect precious natural resources from further harm and degradation from species such as Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussel, Japanese knotweed, and Asian longhorn beetle, among others. This presentation will address key concepts in invasion ecology, which invasive species are here, which ones are on their way, and efforts to stop their spread.

Bio: Hilary Smith directs the award-winning Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), a partnership program with more than 30 cooperating organizations whose mission is to protect the Adirondack region from the negative impacts of invasive species. The program is hosted by the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy based out of Keene Valley, NY. Hilary specializes in invasive species planning, program development, partnership building, community-based action, and innovative solutions to invasive species prevention and management. APIPP is one of eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management that span New York. Hilary also serves as the Chair of the NY Invasive Species Advisory Committee, a 25 member body composed of statewide non-governmental organizations. Hilary received her Master’s in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy from the State University of New York at Albany and her undergraduate degree in Biology from Hamilton College.

Rick DestitoRick Destito

Burn Me Down

Bio: Rick Destito purchased a rundown house in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Syracuse. He paid one dollar for the house and spent $60,000 more to make the house suitable for he and his family. For decades, people like Mr. Destito - young, skilled, and motivated - were exactly the sort of people who left cities like Syracuse. Rick Destito is a Real Estate investor, social entrepreneur, and owner of The Gear Factory, where he rents studio and rehearsal space for creative entrepreneurs, artists and musicians. Call it urban renewal 2.0 - gentrification on a citywide scale.

George IrwinGeorge Irwin

Vertical Walls, the New Graffiti

Bio: George Irwin, global pioneer in Vertical Agriculture, is founder of Green Living Technologies International, LLC (GLTi), a privately held company manufacturing patented Green Living Walls, Green Living Roofs. He is also the CEO of the GLT Institute LLC, providing R&D, education curriculum and authentic practicum experience for the education, professional and construction sectors. He is the Ambassador to Green Technologies for Central America via the US State Department. Mr. Irwin is also a published author, and featured as the “Green Wall Editor” within the industry. George is also a leading resource and authority for green wall and roof technologies around the world. TIME, Fortune Magazine, Profit Magazine, CNN, NBC, CBS, TEDx, National Geographic, Newsweek, the Los Angeles and the New York Times are among the major media to feature stories about George. He has co-hosted many television, radio and garden shows across the USA and abroad.

Brandon Baldwin

Raising Fuel Economy

Raising Fuel Economy takes us through developments in technology that raised fuel economy and the recommendations of what anyone could do to either at least maintain their fuel economy or raise it in the vehicle they already have. Students went to the auto lab to view and demonstrate some of these developments.

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Robin McClellan

Sustainability is a Process, Not a Product

We tend to approach sustainability as an exercise in problem solving. While this is true in the short term, we tend to become attached to our solutions…even when they become problems in themselves. To serve our real needs, sustainability has to be defined in a broad context and approached as process rather than an endpoint.

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Charles Fenner

Sustainability of Democracy

The lecture applies some of the lessons learned from "Democracy in America" to our present day situation. Sustainability of Democracy includes making of virtuous people. How America will develop virtuous people with the lack of religion is discussed. Also discussed are practical observations to ensure work is valued and to ensure that the "minority" have their say.

Rich Burns

PV + EV = Zero (Oil)

Reliance on petrofuels for transportation is becoming increasingly expensive, both financially and politically. Recent developments in photovoltaics and electric vehicles together with financial incentives make the combination of PV and EV a viable solution to reduce pollution, reduce oil dependence and increase energy security.

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Michael O'Connor

Sustainability After Disasters!

On May 4th, 2007, an EF5 (most powerful type, with winds over 205 miles per hour) struck Greensburg, Kansas at 9:45 p.m. The tornado’s path was directly over the entire town, the tornado was 1.7 miles wide and the town was a little more than 1.25 miles wide, resulting in 95% of the city being destroyed (and the remainder being severely damaged). Eleven people died and 100 were injured out of a population of about 1,400 in Greensburg.

A bold vision for recovery, initiated through the ESF #14 (Emergency Support Function – Long-Term Community Recovery) and supported by the Greensburg LTCR Plan, allowed more recovery partners than usual to aid the City’s recovery and participate in supporting a range of recovery projects.

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Rich Distito

Burn Me Down

Richard A. Destito, a 1998 graduate of SUNY Canton and real estate investor and entrepreneur, speaks about changing the way people think and feel about urban living.

Matthew Burnett

The Bureaucracy of Nature

In this lecture by Matt Burnett, he talks about the bureaucracy of nature, and more specifically the evolving relationship between humans and nature.  As people advanced through the ages so did our view of nature.  In the beginning we feared nature, and had to fight just to survive to the next day.  Nature began as an imposing “other”, and particularly within the construct of human problem solving, this “otherness” continues to pervade western culture’s evolving perspective on nature.

The lecture takes a turn as Matt begins talking about his former career with the Department of Environmental Conservation and professional practice as a visual artist that brought him closer to nature to really see the dual natures people see the natural world as.  From abandoned structures in the woods to fishing he explains how humanity can go beyond the cultural baggage surrounding our disassociation with nature by looking beneath these metaphysical clichés.


Sustainability Coordinator
34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY 13617

Phone: 315-386-7655
Fax: 315-386-7960