Events

    Beyond COP26: Next Steps in the Fight Against Climate Change

    Location: 

    Harvard Chan School of Public Health—Online

    Scientists, health leaders, and politicians alike have described COP26 as our last, best chance to slow global warming and stave off some of the worst health effects of climate change. But the political environment remains fraught. And it’s unclear how rhetoric will translate into action.

    Our expert panel brings together leading voices in the fight against climate change, fresh from the halls of the COP26 Summit. They’ll talk through key outcomes and next steps. Bring questions!

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    The Climate of Attention

    Location: 

    Harvard Divinity School—Online

    This conversation is part of the series "Weather Reports: The Climate of Now." The featured speaker is Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker staff writer.

    Few have covered the climate crisis as deeply and as thoughtfully as Elizabeth Kolbert. Her work includes Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2007), the Pulitzer-prize winning The Sixth Extinction (2016), and her latest Under a White Sky (2021), “a book about people trying to solve problems caused by people...

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    Saving Seahorses to Save Seas

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Amanda Vincent, the 2021 Indianapolis Prize winner, has dedicated her career to understanding and advocating for seahorses, which serve as a flagship species for a wide range of marine conservation issues. She is credited with bringing the world’s attention to the 44 known species of seahorses and with developing a collaborative approach to marine conservation that is also improving the status of many other marine fishes, such as sharks, rays, groupers, and eels. Hear how her determination and optimism is saving not only these iconic sea creatures but also our world’s oceans.

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    Wild Collection and Propagation of Rare and Endangered Plants

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    In Massachusetts alone, plants make up more than half of the total native species that are officially considered Endangered, Threatened, and Rare. In this talk, we will focus on how ex-situ plant conservation, coordinated plant collection efforts, and plant propagation play vital roles in preserving biodiversity and slowing the deleterious effects of climate change.

    We will discuss how collection trips are planned—and how citizen science now plays a role in these efforts—while providing a behind-the-scenes look at the planning process. A large focus will be plant propagation...

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    Brine to Batteries: The Extractive Frontiers of the Global Energy Transition

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Thea Riofrancos’s current project, “Brine to Batteries: The Extractive Frontiers of the Global Energy Transition,” explores the politics of the transition to renewable energy through the lens of one of its key technologies: lithium batteries. Based on multisited fieldwork following lithium’s global supply chains from the point of extraction in the Chilean desert, “Brine to Batteries” will be the first scholarly account of the rapidly moving processes shaping the contours of the next energy system—and those of our planetary future.

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    Using the Pandemic Recovery to Spur the Clean Transition

    Location: 

    Online—Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center

    In this webinar, Rachel Kyte (Dean, Fletcher School, Tufts University) will discuss a potential green recovery from the pandemic—how recovery efforts might be leveraged to accelerate the transition to a clean and sustainable energy system—in the United States and globally.

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    The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe

    Location: 

    Online Event

    Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet empire, the West faces a new era of East-West tensions. Any vision of a modern Russia integrated into the world economy and aligned in peaceful partnership with a reunited Europe has abruptly vanished. Two opposing narratives vie to explain the strategic future of Europe, one geopolitical and one economic, and both center on the same resource: natural gas. In The Bridge, Thane Gustafson, an expert on Russian oil and gas, argues that the political rivalries that capture the lions share of media attention...

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    What Makes Chocolate "Good?"

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    The social and environmental values underlying artisanal chocolate production have become increasingly important in its marketing. Good taste is paramount, of course, but how does one measure "social goodness," and what additional value does it add for the consumer? Chocolate makers’ interests often diverge from those of cacao producers, and industry stakeholders have not clearly addressed these concerns. Carla Martin will examine the cacao-chocolate industry and highlight the often conflicting goals that can create gaps in social and environmental responsibility.

    A...

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    Civilizing the Internet of Things

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge,

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is a deeply interconnected ecosystem of billions of devices and systems that are transforming commerce, science, and society. IoT technologies can be used to disrupt, exploit, bias, bully, and intrude as well as to make our lives safer, more efficient, and more convenient. Join Francine Berman, Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in an exploration of the larger social and environmental ecosystem needed to develop an IoT that maximizes benefits, minimizes risk, and promotes individual protections...

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    The Peril and Promise of Solar Geoengineering

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Solar geoengineering research aims to reduce the impacts of global climate change. One possibility is to put aerosols into the stratosphere to alter Earth’s energy budget. This emerging technology entails risks and uncertainties, along with serious challenges to global governance. The greatest threat, perhaps, is that it will be used as a technical fix and encourage people to avoid the emissions cuts that are fundamental to curbing long-term climate risks.

    Lecturer David Keith will describe the simple physics underlying the climate’s response to stratospheric aerosols, the...

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    The Ancient Maya Response to Climate Change: A Cautionary Tale

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Ancient Maya civilization—known for its cities, monumental architecture, ceramics, hieroglyphic writing, and advanced understanding of mathematics and astronomy—suffered a major demise between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The causes continue to be investigated and debated. Paleoenvironmental research over the past twenty years has revealed that the demise coincided with a prolonged intensive drought that extended across the region, providing compelling evidence that climate change played a key role in the collapse of the Maya.

    In this lecture, Billie Turner will examine...

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    Conifers in Winter

    Location: 

    Bussey Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
    Docent Robbie Apfel leads this winter walk in an exploration of the Arboretum's conifer collection. Beginning from the Bussey Street Gate, you will be introduced to the Arboretum's grand gymnosperms, learn the botany of conifers, and hear about Hemlock Hill's evolving ecosystem. This tour will also introduce you to native and non-native conifers in the winter landscape.
     
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    The Secret Lives of Roots

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    The Arnold Arboretum is full of spectacular specimens from around the world that any visitor will appreciate. However, what they observe is only half the story. How a tree uptakes water and nutrients, stays grounded in place, stores energy, and sometimes even propagates itself, is all thanks to its roots. Join horticulturists Andrew Gapinski and Conor Guidarelli as they unearth these questions and more during an exclusive look into the extraordinary world of roots.

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    Can Baby Corals Improve the Reefs of Tomorrow?

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Aaron Hartmann, 2017–2018 Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Visiting Fellow in Conservation Biology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

    Coral reefs are one of Earth’s most biodiverse and imperiled ecosystems. Corals form the foundation of this ecosystem. Substantial effort is being invested to help adult corals survive environmental degradation, but less attention is paid to their offspring and how they establish themselves on the seafloor. Unlike adult corals, baby corals move about in the water column, perhaps allowing them to...

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    Conserving Biodiversity: A Global Priority

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Biodiversity is the sum total of life on Earth and a living legacy to future generations. Sadly, it is declining almost everywhere on the planet. Russell A. Mittermeier, recipient of the 2018 Indianapolis Prize, is a biologist and lifelong conservationist who has traveled across 169 countries and discovered more than 20 species in his quest to save biodiversity hotspots. Focusing on nonhuman primates—our closest living relatives—...

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    Medicinal Plants at the Arnold Arboretum: An Exploration of the Wild and Cultivated Remedies Growing Beneath our Feet

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Many plants that we consider to be weeds have rich ethnobotanical histories of their own that tie us closer to our environment. Your guides will explain how these "weedy" plants came to colonize this area while touching on cultural contexts and botanical identification of these wild species—as well as the cultivated medicinal species in the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Garden. Guides: John de la Parra, Associate, Harvard University Herbaria; Ernest Anemone, Co-Guide;...

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    Saving Coral Reefs in the Florida Keys

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA

    James W. Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia

    Coral reefs support more than a quarter of all marine life, yet many are critically endangered. In the Florida Keys, the once common elk horn coral (Acropora palmata) has experienced steep declines since the 1970s. Preliminary blame was attributed to global warming and coral bleaching, but in fact, a human bacterial pathogen associated with a wide range of serious infections was the culprit. James Porter will discuss how Key West residents are saving these reefs...

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