Environmental lecture series features student work

The final event of a year-long public lecture series was held on Thursday evening at Dalhousie University. This event concluded the 23-part series.

The lectures, hosted by the college of Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS) at Dalhousie, focus on environmental issues and discuss these issues between the generations.

Colleen Grant presents her research on western Canadian farming (Emma Drudge photo).

By Emma Drudge

The final event of a year-long public lecture series was held on Thursday evening at Dalhousie University. This event concluded the 23-part series.

The lectures, hosted by the college of Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS) at Dalhousie, focus on environmental issues and discuss these issues between the generations.

“We think there’s a lot for the world to learn from young people,” says Steven Mannell, the director of the ESS program.

He says public lectures in a university setting provide an opportunity for fresh perspectives.

Steven Mannell discusses reasons for combining public lectures with university curriculum:

Steven Mannell clip

“Young people are usually wanting to know what can be done, what can we do, how do we live our lives,” says Mannell, while older generations are “more willing to be stuck in the bad news” about environmental issues.

In place of a formal lecture, Thursday’s event allowed students to present their year’s research.

Colleen Grant presented her research on sustainable options for the future of farming in western Canada. Grant was impressed by how many people were interested in the series, which discussed local environmental movements.

“Halifax as a city has so much interest in sustainability,” says Grant.

ESS director Steven Mannell discusses student research (Emma Drudge photo).

Speakers in the series included Bill Rees, who came up with the idea of ecological footprints, and Oran Young, an expert on the politics of the Arctic and international governance. Others involved were local architects of recently designed sustainable buildings in Halifax, such as the Seaport Farmers Market and Dalhousie’s Mona Campbell building, which houses the ESS college.

“We gave the final word to the students,” says Mannell, on the decision to have students present at this event.

He thinks it’s good for the public to hear from “people willing to put positive energy into problems that seem big and insurmountable.”

The lecture series, he says,  is “a message of hope.”

It’s scheduled to restart for its third year in September.