Sustainable Futures Speaker Series

This interdisciplinary speaker series, established in September 2005, is intended to stimulate cross disciplinary discussion, debate, and collaboration around issues related to energy, the environment, and society. The series is sponsored by the Environment and Community Program and the Schatz Energy Research Center. All members of the HSU community and the general public are welcome to attend these presentations.

Spring 2016

  • Unless otherwise noted, events are 5:30pm-7:00pm Thursdays in Founders Hall 118 *

February 18

Andrea Tuttle
“Report from Paris: Observations from the UNFCCC COP 21 Climate Negotiations”

Andrea Tuttle works as an advocate for robust forest and climate policies. She participated in the early design of California’s climate program and forest protocols which are now a compliance instrument in the cap-and-trade system. She is a former Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and now serves on the boards of the Pacific Forest Trust and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

Through her career she has been active in California land-use and environmental policy, serving on the state Coastal Commission, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and as a principal consultant in the state Senate.

She consults internationally and for the past nine years has attended the UNFCCC climate negotiations as an Observer, especially tracking the REDD+ policies and finance mechanisms to reduce deforestation and degradation in the tropics.

She’s a Cal Berkeley grad with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Ph.D. in Environmental Planning, and has lived in Arcata with her husband Don since the 1970’s.

This event is a featured presentation of HSU’s International Education Week.

March 3

Jonathan Kusel
“Improving Forests and Building Communities: A Networked Biomass Approach”

Jonathan Kusel founded and has for 22 years directed the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment. He received a Masters of Forest Science from Yale University and a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in natural resource sociology and policy. He participated on the Clinton Administration’s “Option 9” Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team, and led the community assessment team and public participation team for the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP).

More recently, Dr. Kusel sat on the steering committee of the Biomass Economic Recovery Group of the Northern Sierra and was instrumental in the development and success of the California Forest Biomass Working Group. Dr. Kusel and the Sierra Institute are one of the nine members of California’s State Wood Energy Team.

March 24

Lindsay Naylor
“Cultivating Sustainability: Seeds and Climate Change Adaptation in Highland Chiapas”

Dr. Naylor is a political geographer who uses food and agriculture as a lens to examine human-environment interactions and spaces of resistance. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and is currently Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware.

April 7

Nate Coleman
“Ensuring Safe, Compliant and Reliable Interoperable Zep Product Designs for SolarCity Photovoltaic Installations through Rigorous Test, Quality and Qualification Programs”

Nate Coleman is the Vice President of Technical Operations at Zep Solar LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of SolarCity Corporation. His team is responsible for Product Testing, Product Compliance, Product Quality/Reliability and Technology Development. Nate oversees SolarCity’s module supplier quality program and manages Zep Solar’s technology licensing, testing/reliability and Zep CompatibleTM certification/qualification programs. He is an active participant in codes and standards development and a voting member on the UL 1703 and UL 2703 Standard Technical Panels, the TC 82 Technical Advisory Group, and a member of the NFPA Fire Fighter Safety and PV Systems Task Group that is helping to create rapid shutdown requirements for Article 690.12 of the NEC.

Nate has over a decade of product design, testing and R&D experience with renewable energy technologies and is a CA registered Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University and a Master of Science in Photovoltaic Engineering from the University of New South Wales.

April 14


X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell
“Indigenous Language Revitalization & The Decolonized University”

X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell is an Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast, where he also develops and coordinates the Alaska Native Languages & Studies Program. He is Tlingit, Haida, Yupik, and Saami, and was born and raised in Alaska. He has a BA in English from the University of Minnesota, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is currently in the PhD in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization program at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelilkōlani at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

X̱ʼuneiʼs research interests are in the Tlingit language, social linguistics, social justice, decolonization of colonial institutions (especially educational ones), tribal governance, Native American rights, Federal Indian Policy, and the health & well being of people in Native America. He helped lead a team of politicians, students, and community organizers & protestors to develop and pass a bill that made the 20 Alaska Native languages official languages in the State of Alaska.

In this talk, he will discuss current activities and trends in language revitalization, especially in Alaska, and how decolonizing institutions serves a key role in those activities. He will talk about the social debt that exists in American History to Native American people, and how ideas can gain momentum into movements that have a chance to keep Native American languages from falling into silence at the hands of American Genocide.

April 21

Rescheduled to Tuesday, May 3rd.

Renee Byrd
“Punishment’s Twin: Carceral Logics, Abolitionist Critique and the Limits of Reform”

Dr. Renée M. Byrd is an activist scholar, educator and community organizer, committed to building countercarceral knowledges in pursuit of a world without prisons. Her academic research centers the intersection of race, gender, mass imprisonment and prison abolitionist movement building. Dr. Byrd won an Amnesty International Patrick Stewart Human Rights Scholarship, the Sociologists for Women in Society Chow Green Dissertation Scholarship, as well as the University of Washington’s Graduate Medal. Her current book project is a critique of contemporary prison reforms that leave intact the logics of enslavement at the heart of the global prison industrial complex. Dr. Byrd is also currently working on an experimental film about transformative justice and methods for addressing violence without relying on policing and prisons.

Dr. Byrd received her Ph.D from the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Humboldt State University. Outside of academia, Renée has worked as a legal advocate for women prisoners with Justice Now in Oakland, a family advocate for youth in the Juvenile Justice System and on broader campaign work aimed at building genuine human security. In collaboration with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Renée helped produce the human rights documentary System Failure: Violence, Abuse, and Neglect in the California Youth Authority, which is currently distributed by WitnessNYC. Central to her work is the goal of using research justice and filmmaking not just as methods, but also as tools for building community and social movements.

April 28

Kevin Fingerman and Jerome Carman
“Guiding Northwest California Towards Alternative Transportation Fuels: A Roadmap to 2020 and Beyond”

Dr. Kevin Fingerman is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Management at Humboldt State University. His research employs life cycle assessment and simulation modeling tools to evaluate the broad-based impacts of transportation energy systems. He has also worked extensively on the water/energy nexus and bioenergy sustainability governance. Kevin serves on the board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, and before coming to HSU he worked in Rome for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He holds MS and PhD degrees from UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group.

Jerome Carman is a recent graduate of the Environmental Systems masters program at Humboldt State University (HSU), where he focused on energy systems engineering with an emphasis on thermodynamic analysis while obtaining his Engineer In Training certificate. Jerome has a diverse background: complimented by a bachelor’s degree in physics, he has published work in both high energy particle physics and atmospheric physics. During his
graduate career at HSU he changed his professional focus toward local government planning and policy which resulted in an energy specialist position at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). While at RCEA, Jerome specialized in greenhouse gas emissions inventories, climate action planning, and low carbon transportation fuel planning and implementation. Jerome is now a research engineer with the Schatz Energy Research Center where he manages and assists with a variety of transportation planning and implementation projects that are working to accelerate the adoption of low carbon fuels in Northern California.

Fall 2015

  • Unless otherwise noted, events are 5:30pm-7:00pm Thursdays in Gist Hall 218 *

September 3
Matthew Marshall
“RePowering Humboldt: Progress Toward Implementing A Local Community Choice Aggregation Program”

Matthew Marshall is the Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). Under the delegated authority of the Energy Authority Board of Directors, Mr. Marshall manages all RCEA activities and functions; guides and implements strategic planning; and oversees program development, implementation, and evaluation. Mr. Marshall has been involved in a variety of energy planning, policy, and implementation endeavors, and previously served as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program Administrator for the City and County of Denver, where he was responsible for developing and managing locally-, state-, and federally-funded comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction projects and community partnerships in support of Denver’s Climate Action Plan. A graduate of Humboldt State University, Mr. Marshall’s work on innovative sustainable energy systems and programs has been recognized and honored by the National Hydrogen Association, the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Hydrogen Business Council, the American Lung Association in Colorado, and the United States Congress.

Mr. Marshall’s volunteer non-profit service includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust (President), the Northcoast Educational Foundation (President), the Humboldt Folklife Society (President), the Center for Environmental Economic Development, and the Trinidad Museum Society; he is also a firefighter with the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department and a professional artist and bagpiper.

September 24
Seth Shonkoff
“The Environmental, Public Health, and Climate Dimensions of Oil and Gas Development in California”

Dr. Shonkoff is the executive director of the energy science and policy institute, PSE Healthy Energy. He is also a visiting scholar in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at University of California, Berkeley, and an affiliate in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.

An environmental and public health scientist by training, Shonkoff has more than 15 years of experience in water, air, climate, and population health research. Shonkoff completed his PhD in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and his MPH in epidemiology in the School of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a contributing author to the human health chapter of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). He was also the lead author of the two human health chapters in the California Senate Bill 4 Independent Scientific Study on hydraulic fracturing and well stimulation, published in July 2015. He has worked and published on topics related to the intersection of energy, air pollution, water quality, climate, and human health from scientific and policy perspectives. Shonkoff’s current work focuses on the human health, environmental, and climate dimensions of oil and gas development in the United States and abroad.

October 8
Jack West
“The PV Industry: An Insider’s Insights into the Evolution of PV Technology and Business Models”

Jack West is a recognized expert and key technology leader in the photovoltaics industry and a regular speaker/lecturer on PV technology. An avid inventor, Mr. West is the holder of dozens of patents in the solar and music industries.

West graduated magna cum laude from Humboldt State University (HSU) in 1991, with a BS degree in Appropriate Technology Engineering, Solar Engineering Focus. During his tenure as co-director of HSU’s Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, West was inspired by the vision of a fossil-fuel-free world. That vision led him to dedicate himself to the PV industry for the past 25 years. He began his career in the early 1990’s by creating one of the first grid-tied PV installation businesses in California. In 2000, he cofounded High Sun Engineering, the first California-based engineering firm specializing in PV system design and engineering. In 2009, he cofounded Zep Solar to commercialize his rail-free PV mounting invention. West is also the creator of Zep Solar’s unique business model based on standardization of the Zep Compatible™ platform.

October 22
Charles Wilkinson
“From Humboldt Bay to the Columbia to the Canadian Line: How the Northwest Tribes Triumphed in the Courts and Changed the World”

Charles Wilkinson has written broadly on law, history, and society in the American West and has placed a major emphasis on American Indians. His 14 books include the standard law texts on federal public land law and Indian law and several books for a general audience such as The Eagle Bird (Pantheon 1992), Crossing the Next Meridian (Island 1992), Fire on the Plateau (Island 1999), Messages from Frank’s Landing: A Story of Salmon, Treaties, and the Indian Way (U. Washington 2000), Blood Struggle—The Rise of Modern Indian Nations (W.W. Norton, 2005), and The People Are Dancing Again: The History of the Siletz Tribe of Western Oregon (U. Washington 2010). Over the years he has worked closely with many tribes. He served as counsel for tribes concerning passage of Menominee Restoration Act of 1973, the Siletz Restoration Act of 1977, and the Siletz Reservation Act of 1980. He has also taken on many special assignments for the federal Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Justice; and states, cities, and Indian tribes. For example, in 2010, he acted as facilitator in negotiations reaching a comprehensive agreement between the Olympic National Park and the eight Olympic Peninsula tribes concerning tribal resource rights in the Park. In 2013 the Warm Springs Tribal Museum of Oregon honored him with its Twanat Award for “his tireless work on behalf of Native Americans.”

*This event will be held in University Center 225 – Kate Buchanan Room.

November 5
Harsha Walia
“Border Imperialism and Environmental Racism”

Harsha Walia is an author and activist who is formally trained in the law. She immigrated from India and currently resides in Vancouver, on the lands of the Indigenous Coast Salish people.

Harsha has been named one of the most influential South Asians in British Columbia by the Vancouver Sun and one of the ten most popular left-wing journalists by the Georgia Straight in 2010. Naomi Klein has called Harsha “one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective political organizers.”

Harsha’s book, Undoing Border Imperialism, was published in 2013 by AK Press. Her writings have appeared in numerous magazines, including Briarpatch, Canadian Dimension, Dominion, Feministing, Fuze, Left Turn, Mondoweiss, People of Color Organize, Rabble, Racilicious, Sanhati, Z Magazine, and others. She has contributed essays to academic journals as well as chapters in the anthologies Power of Youth: Youth and community-led activism in Canada; Racism and Borders: Representation, Repression, Resistance; Beyond Walls and Cages; Stay Solid; Broken Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution; Organize! Building from the Local for Global Justice, and the Winter We Danced.

Harsha is a cofounder of the migrant justice group No One Is Illegal and the progressive South Asian network Radical Desis. She is an organizer in numerous social justice organizations, and has made a number of presentations to the United Nations on social and economic justice issues.

November 12
Sarah Ray
“Can a Green University Serve Underrepresented Students?: Reconciling Sustainability and Diversity at HSU”

Sarah Jaquette Ray is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Humboldt State University (HSU), where she also leads the Environmental Studies Program. She began at HSU in 2013, after four years leading the Geography and Environmental Studies program at University of Alaska Southeast. She received her PhD from University of Oregon in 2009 in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy, with English as a focal department.

Ray’s research interests are environmental justice, identity and the cultural politics of nature, environmental humanities, ecocriticism, and critical human geography. Her book, The Ecological Other: Environmental Exclusion in American Culture (Arizona, 2013), explores the roots of environmentalism’s inability to be welcoming to a wide variety of communities in the U.S., focusing on how these roots manifest in contemporary exclusions of immigrants, Native Americans, and people with disabilities.

In this talk, Ray will bring these analyses to bear on the context of HSU’s twin values of “sustainability” and “diversity.” Ray will contend that achieving these goals will require reckoning with the broader historical tensions between environmentalism and social justice.

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

Spring 2012

Fall 2011

Spring 2011

Fall 2010

Spring 2010