Sustainability: Challenges, Strategies, and Technologies

Banner image promoting the Sustainability: Challenges, Strategies, and Technologies webinar series

A Series of Interactive Discussions by W&L Faculty and Alumni on the Importance and Complexity of Sustainable Development.

W&L Faculty will share their research on creating a more sustainable future. W&L alumni engaged in sustainable development will discuss policies and business models for achieving sustainability in the areas of food production, waste management, energy, and fresh water and ocean conservation.

Each session is a Zoom webinar. Registrants will receive a link to join the webinar after registering.

An image of sustainability, people, planet, and profit written on a chalkboard

What Do We Mean by Sustainability?

Jim Casey '91, Professor of Economics and faculty advisor for our sustainability webinar, will team up with Robert Humston, John Kyle Spencer Director for Environmental Studies and Professor of Biology, and Julianna Keeling '19, founder and CEO of Terravive, a manufacturer of biodegradable packaging and utensils, to introduce the concept of "Sustainability," how sustainable development has become increasingly important to the future of our planet, and how local initiatives are beginning to make a difference.

An image of a woman harvesting vegetables

Food, Farms, and Fisheries

In this session, we'll focus on sustainable agriculture and the most prolific yet endangered source of food for the planet's population, the world's fisheries. We'll also take a look at sustainable practices at W&L. Chelsea Fisher, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies will explore the relationship between farming and the environment, not only currently but historically. Niquole Esters '04, Senior Director of Development for Conservation International, will focus on our global oceans and conservation measures to sustain and increase the world's fisheries. Kim Hodge, W&L's Director of Sustainability Initiatives and Education and member of the Virginia Department of Education's Environmental Education Advisory Committee, will discuss how W&L has adopted several examples of sustainable practices as well as how the university is educating its students on sustainability.

An image of a child and man fishing

Planet Water: Pollution

Lisa Greer, Professor of Geology with research interest in coral reefs, will discuss how climate change and the increasing pollution of our oceans are affecting the health of coral reefs and why that matters to us all. Environmental Studies Director Robert Humston will discuss the threats to water resources and the health of freshwater ecosystems, and how these connect with the health of our coastal oceans. Laura Henson Strickler '08 will address "Protecting the Blue Planet through International Policy." She'll discuss the work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the international challenges of monitoring the health of our oceans.

An image of an individual analyzing equipment

Alternative Energy Sources: The Path of Sustainability

Bill Hamilton, Professor of Biology, will provide an overview of energy resources with questions concerning the supply of each resource and its impact on our global environment. Two W&L alumni with close interest in the field of energy will follow with insights on current developments in the decarbonization of energy and solar industries. In "From the Traditional Energy Complex to a New Energy Economy," Bryant Fulk '08 will discuss efforts by major commercial firms to achieve Net Zero in their impact on the environment. Erik Curren '87 will focus on the rapid development of solar technology in "The Promise of Solar Energy."

Image of an individual working on a laptop

Financial Realities: Can We Afford a Sustainable Future?

In this concluding session, we'll address the financial questions surrounding sustainability. W&L economics professor Jim Casey will survey the myriad components of a cost/benefit analysis of sustainable development, both nationally and globally. Kurt Harrison P'23, Co-Head of the Global ESG & Sustainability Practice at Russell Reynolds Associates, will review Wall Street's movement toward investments based on environmental, social, and governance considerations (ESG). Alex Prather '14 is currently earning a dual MBA/MPA at MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Kennedy School. She has extensive experience in the climate tech and climate policy sectors of the venture capital industry. Her special focus is on the assessment and funding of new technical innovations for carbon removal from earth's atmosphere.