New Speakers Announced for Interdisciplinary Engineering and Climate Change Series at Rensselaer

January 21, 2020

New Speakers Announced for Interdisciplinary Engineering and Climate Change Series at Rensselaer

“Engineering the Anthropocene” returns with public discussion featuring indigenous leaders

TROY, N.Y.  – Indigenous perspectives on the intersection of human rights and the environment will be the focus of a free public discussion featuring Sachem HawkStorm, chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations, and Kasike Roberto Múkaro Borrero, chief of the Guainía Taíno tribal community, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Wednesday, January 22.

The event is the spring semester’s first installment of “Engineering the Anthropocene,” a yearlong lecture series that launched in September 2019. A collaboration between the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer, the series seeks to inspire conversations that further understanding of how humans are changing the climate and what they can do about it.

“Consistent with the long-standing reputation of Rensselaer as a technological leader with global impact, we aim to build energy around a more regenerative culture that allows us to face the most urgent and pressing issues of this historical moment,” said Daniel Chapman Lander, a lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and co-organizer of the series.

The series “draws together an incredibly wide array of speakers with different backgrounds, passions, and skills,” said Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn, co-organizer of the series and lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. “The variety of perspectives in this series helps to show how intimately and inextricably linked every aspect of life is with our radically changing climate.”

All series events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, they are held nearly every other Wednesday through the end of April in the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Auditorium of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) on campus from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The following are the speakers and topics for spring 2020:

- Jan. 22, “Indigenous Perspectives: A Discussion on the Intersections of Human Rights, the Environment, and Our Responsibilities to the Future Generations” by Sachem HawkStorm, chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations, and Kasike Roberto Múkaro Borrero, chief of the Guainía Taíno tribal community

- Feb. 5, “The Anthropocene as a Strategic Opportunity: Revitalizing Indigenous Knowledges in the Face of Climate Change” by Kari Marie Norgaard, associate professor of sociology and environmental studies at University of Oregon

- Feb. 19, “Engineering the Via Negativa” by Tonatiuh Rodriguez-Nikl, associate professor of civil engineering at California State University, Los Angeles

- March 5, “Panel Discussion: Politics, Ethics, and Economics of Decarbonization Policy” by Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and co-founder of The Solutions Project; Inês Azevedo, associate professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford University; Kenneth L. Simons, associate professor of economics at Rensselaer; and Vivek Ghosal, head of the Department of Economics at Rensselaer. CBIS Auditorium, 4 to 6 p.m. Reception follows.

- April 1, “Public Sector Engineering, Organized Labor & the Climate Crisis” by Christopher Dols, publisher for Science for the People

- April 22, “The Empire’s Backyard: Power & Pollution in Sheridan Hollow” by Hon. Merton D. Simpson, Albany County Legislator; Andrew J. Schneller, assistant professor of environmental studies and sciences at Skidmore College; and Keith Schue, Science Committee co-chair for the Sheridan Hollow Alliance of Renewable Energy. Sage 3510, 12:30 to 2 p.m.

For more information on the speakers and the series, visit this link.

The series receives support from the Vasudha Living & Learning Community and the Vollmer Fries Fund at Rensselaer.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit