The Environmental Solutions Initiative 2016 People & the Planet Lecture Series presents individuals and organizations working to advance understanding and action toward a humane and sustainable future.

Tuesday 10/18, 4pm, 3-133, reception follows

Can the next technology revolution save the planet?

In the 21st century human societies have become increasingly disconnected from nature. Yet, paradoxically, humanity is as dependent as ever on biodiversity and ecosystems, from the reefs and mangroves that buffer coastal communities from storms, to the pollinators that support our crop production, to the forests that take up and store staggering amounts of carbon. Yet we continue to squander our natural capital, partly because the many values of nature are poorly understood, under-financed, and seldom integrated into important decisions. Is it time for technology and information to transform the way we approach environmental challenges, the way they have nearly every other imaginable sector of human endeavor? Join Will Turner and Sandy Andelman of Conservation International for a discussion of how we can track the health of the planet–from ecosystems to agricultural systems to human well-being–and harness science, engineering, analytics, and visualization to better value, monitor, and ultimately manage the ecosystems that people around the world rely on.

Sandy AndelmanSandy J. Andelman, Ph.D., Chief Scientist and Senior VP

Sandy Andelman is Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President for Conservation International (CI), where she is responsible for providing science vision, strategy and thought leadership for the organization, for helping to implement science-based conservation throughout the organization and for creating strategic alliances with partners. Sandy also conceived and served as the founding Executive Director of the Vital Signs monitoring system, which fills a critical unmet need for integrative, diagnostic data on African agriculture, natural capital and human well-being. She led the design and creation of the Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network, a global system to understand how climate change is affecting biodiversity in tropical forests worldwide. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security. Sandy previously served as Deputy Director of the U.S. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), one of the world’s top ecological research institutes. Using unified methods and innovative informatics and mobile technologies, she aims to create global public data resources and problem-solving tools to tackle important environmental problems. Sandy received her Ph.D. in behavioral ecology from the University of Washington. Her scientific expertise includes tropical ecosystems, biodiversity, interactions between the environment and human wellbeing, the design of monitoring systems and conservation planning.

Will TurnerWill R. Turner, Ph.D., Senior VP, Global Strategy

Dr. Will Turner, Conservation International’s SVP for Global Strategy, has degrees in computer engineering and ecology and worked in the tech industry before turning toward the world’s environmental and development challenges. Since then, Turner has become a leading figure in understanding and mapping the connections between human societies and nature, and creating innovative solutions to safeguard our natural capital for the billions who depend on it. A native of Austin, Texas, Dr. Turner studied computer engineering at The University of Texas and earned his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. His popular and peer-reviewed writings address issues including climate change, poverty alleviation, ecosystem services, species conservation, ecology, evolution, cities, monitoring and accountability, and the psychological relationships between people and nature.

Past Lectures:

Tuesday 9/20, 4:15 – 5:45pm, 4-270

Modern Environmental Politics: big data, behavioral science, and getting Nathaniel Stinnettenvironmentalists to vote

Big data has completely revolutionized how modern political campaigns target and communicate with voters. Simultaneously, a new generation of behavioral scientists has completely changed our understanding of why and how people decide to vote. These changes present a large number of counter-intuitive and exciting discoveries and they also suggest both good and bad news for the environmental movement. Join Nathaniel Stinnett for a discussion of how modern political campaigns work and how that impacts environmental policy at the local, state, and federal level.

Nathaniel Stinnett is the Founder & CEO of the Environmental Voter Project, a non-partisan nonprofit that uses big data analytics and behavioral science to identify non-voting environmentalists and then get them to vote. Recently dubbed “The Voting Guru” by Grist, Stinnett was named one of the 50 environmental visionaries that you’ll be talking about in 2016. He has over a decade of experience as a senior advisor, campaign manager, and trainer for US Senate, Congressional, and mayoral campaigns as well as issue-advocacy nonprofits. Formerly an attorney at the international law firm of DLA Piper, Stinnett holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. He lives in Boston, MA with his wife and daughter.

The Environmental Voter Project: