Program, Videos, Slides – Tufts 2014

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You can watch the videos individually or by the day by clicking on that day’s playlist. Most slideshows are also available, we’re still working out technical issues with a few of them (note that not all speakers used slideshows).

vec-webVideos made possible by a generous donation
from the Virgin Earth Challenge.

Playlists:    Friday     Saturday     Sunday

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming 

Friday Evening , November 21, 2014
An Overview of the New Climate Paradigm

Playlist:    Friday   

5:00   Registration, Snacks, Music

6:00   Purpose of Conference: Opening A World of Possibilities


Antje Danielson, Tufts Institute of the Environment
Bill Moomaw, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy
Adam Sacks, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Meet the organizers and co-sponsors of the conference, with an overview of the weekend, what to expect and what we hope will happen next in the soil carbon and climate saga. This conference is just the first step on an urgent yet remarkable and rewarding journey. You are all a central part of this as-yet unwritten story.

Session 1: The Power of Biodiversity

6:20 Carbon Farming


Ethan Roland, The Carbon Farming Course

Ethan Roland is an international expert on regenerative agriculture and permaculture design. He will introduce us to how carbon farming enhances productivity, increases profitability and combats climate change. Drawing from the best practices from holistic management, keyline design, agroforestry, living soils, biochar, permaculture design and restoration agriculture, carbon farming offers a whole toolkit for agricultural earth regeneration.

6:45 Nutrition and Health from the Ground Up


Dan Kittredge, Bionutrient Food Association

Everything we eat depends on the health of the soil. When essential minerals are missing from the soil, they’re missing from the plants and animals that feed us.   Our health suffers and disease can run rampant, common consequences of industrial agricultural practices. Dan Kittredge, lifelong farmer and nutrition expert, explains how it works and how we can bring new life to our soils, to biodiversity on planet earth, and to ourselves.

7:05             Q&A


Audience members are encouraged to participate with questions or statements.  There is a time limit at the microphone of two minutes.

7:20             Break                                                                               

7:35             Panel: Success Stories          

Slides – Tom Goreau
Slides – Judith Schwartz

Tom Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Seth Itzkan, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, Planet-TECH Associates
Judith Schwartz, Author of Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth (Chelsea Green)

There are eco-restoration successes all over the world, in many different ecosystems.  Here are some examples from three of our speakers who have seen it first-hand.

8:05              Messages from the Second Front: Bringing the Power of Biology
                      into the Climate Conversation  


Larry Kopald, Co-Founder and President of The Carbon Underground      

Advertising professional and environmentalist Larry Kopald views the nature of the paradigm shift that global warming forces us to face.  He will review the issues that give us the best leverage moving forward, and will address the human social phenomenon of marketplaces.  Stripped to its basics, a marketplace is people having relationships with other people.  How can we optimize our use of the marketplace for messages about climate and soils, and move to action on reversing the course of climate.

8:25               We Are the Future: The Change Climate-Change Generation 

Gabrielle Bastien, Social Media Director,  Biodiversity for a Livable Climate


Gabrielle Bastien, a master’s student in sustainability, has some words for the young people of today, what their challenges are, the new/old promises of genuine stewardship of Planet Earth – and how to fulfill them.

8:35             Q&A

8:50             Music      


Jerry Gregoire

Guitarist-songwriter Jerry Gregoire offers a couple of songs to send us home raring to go in the morning!

Saturday Morning, November 22, 2014
How It All Works 

Playlist:    Saturday     

Session 2: Soil Carbon and Climate

9:00               Introduction


Seth Itzkan, Biodiversity for a LIvable Climate, Planet-TECH Associates

Seth Itzkan is a futurist and advocate for climate action and eco-restoration through the holistic management of grasslands restoration. He has spent months in Africa observing Holistic Management and its extraordinary positive effects on desertified semi-arid grasslands.  He is also the Advisory Board Chair of Biodiveristy for a Livable Climate.

9:10               The Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming:
                       How Soil Carbon Sequestration Works  


Tom Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance

Biogeochemist, restoration ecologist, climate scientist, and reef restoration expert Tom Goreau is passionate about soils as the primary way to address global warming at this late date, given that reducing emissions alone cannot prevent dangerous climate change unless natural carbon sinks are significantly increased.   He’ll explain the basics of soil carbon and how healthy water cycles can cool the earth.

 9:30               The Once and Future Global Cooling: Lessons from Prehistory 


Greg Retallack, University of Oregon

Greg Retallack is an award-winning paleobotanist whose research group is dedicated to soils in the fossil record.  His studies have considered the role of soils in ape and human evolution in Kenya, grassland evolution in North America, and several others. He recently published “Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future“ in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

9:50               Grazing Down the Carbon: The Scientific Case for Grassland Restoration  


Richard Teague, Professor of Sustainable Rangeland Management at Texas A&M.

Richard Teague addresses how land managers can base decisions for sustainable land use on the principles of ecosystem function. He will describe his studies of adaptive rangeland management, land restoration and carbon storage.

10:10             Q&A/Panel


10:30             Break

Session 3:  Biodiversity IS Eco-Restoration IS a Livable Climate

10:45             Introduction


Sue Harden, Restoration Activist and Environmental Educator, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Sue Harden comes to the climate/soils paradigm from a lifelong fascination with biodiversity. As an environmental educator, she spread what Rachel Carson has called “the sense of awe.” As an activist, she works toward solutions to the climate crisis.

10:55             Water Follows Carbon Follows Water              

Slides – Judith Schwartz
Slides – Thomas Goreau               

Judith Schwartz, Author of Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth (Chelsea Green)
Tom Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance

Judith Schwartz will tell stories from around the world about the transformations resulting from different approaches to water management, and the effects on local climate.  With the ongoing drought in California, people are waking up to concerns about water sources – but while there’s discussion over the effects that climate change can have on water, we’re not looking at the flip side: how restoring the water cycle can have a moderating effect on climate. Schwartz offers examples from the field, while Tom Goreau will comment from a scientist’s perspective.

11:15             Forests: A Pivotal Player


Mark Leighton, Senior Advisor, Sustainability and Environmental Management Program, Harvard Extension School.

The earth’s forests have been decimated by human overuse and development, leading to cascading effects of biodiversity loss, soil erosion and massive emissions of carbon into the atmosphere.  Mark Leighton joined the Harvard faculty in 1983 and has studied topics in rainforest community ecology, vertebrate behavioral ecology, sustainable forestry and land use, and conservation biology. He will give us an overview of how forests function, and their role in addressing global warming.

11:35             Wetlands: Sinking Carbon and Keeping It Out of the Atmosphere 


Steven Apfelbaum, Founder, Applied Ecological Services

Wetlands are powerful carbon sinks because organic matter under water, with minimal exposure to oxygen, doesn’t release most of its stored carbon to the atmosphere.  But wetlands have been broadly eliminated as a result of global development.  Steve Apfelbaum is an eco-restoration expert and has been at the forefront of ecological remediation for almost forty years.  He’ll explain the importance of wetlands in the climate equation, and how to return them to healthy abundance.

 11:55             BioBamboo: An Example of Eco-Restoration                       


Charlotte O’Brien, Founder, Carbon Drawdown Solutions

Bamboo is a key species that serves ecosystems and humans in many different ways.  Charlotte O’Brien is an environmentalist and entrepreneur who has extensive experience with bamboo in Asia.  She makes a case for eco-restoration using triple-bottom-line accounting, encompassing social, environmental and financial outcomes. The BioBamboo project demonstrates purpose-grown bamboo with biochar production for climate change reversal, as well as poverty abatement by creation of new local economies. She will give us a tour of restoration and economic opportunities made possible by this remarkable plant.

12:15             Nature Does 90% of the Work  


Jim Laurie, Restoration Ecologist, Special Advisor to Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Bringing degraded lands back to life may be easier and faster than we generally think.  Mostly it has to do with us humans helping by restoring keystone species that we previously destroyed. We already know how to do this: using low- or no-tech approaches, restoration ecologist Jim Laurie has seen rapid and dramatic restoration unfold more times than he can count – and he’s amazed every single time.  He’s happy to share his insights and inspirations with us.

12:35             Q&A/Panel

1:00               Lunch

Saturday Afternoon, November 22, 2014
Digging In

Session 4: Food and Farming

2:30               Introduction


Diana Donlon, Director of the Cool Foods Campaign at the Center for Food Safety.

Diana Donlon works to help the public to make the critical connection between everyday food choices and climate change.  Cool Foods emphasizes the key steps of retiring industrial agriculture and turning to practices which pull carbon and water back into the soils, thereby bringing economic vitaility and human health to communities worldwide.

2:40               Local Food Revolution                


John Carroll, Professor of Environmental Conservation, University of New Hampshire

There are many possibilities for food production and agriculture in New England, leading toward the promise of regional food self-sufficiency.  What might we do to get there?  John Carroll will introduce us to the lay of the land.

3:00               A New Program to Restore Northeast Grasslands: 100% Grass-Fed Beef 


Ridge Shinn, Rancher, Market Innovator and Health Advocate

Widespread restoration of grasslands depends on economics. Historically beef production has been focused in the Corn Belt and western states. Now Ridge Shinn, a practitioner with experience in all aspects of holistic grazing and marketing, is building the supply of 100% grass-fed beef in the Northeast, involving farms and farmers all over New England and New York. His program offers multiple benefits to the region: revitalized rural economies; healthy soil; local, safe, nutrient-dense food; and carbon sequestration. This model could herald the demise of the corn-based feedlot system.

3:20               Field Trials in Costa Rica and Pennsylvania           


Tom Newmark, Co-Founder and Chair, The Carbon Underground

Tom Newmark is the founder of Sacred Seeds and Co-Owner of Finca Luna Nueva, an organic farming operation in Costa Rica. He collaborates with the Rodale Institute on carbon sequestration studies, and he will report on the results of ongoing trials of the effects of organic farming methods on soil carbon in both temperate and tropical climates.  Tom is also the former owner of the New Chapter Natural Vitamin company.

3:40               Q&A


3:55               Break

Session 5:  Soil Fertility

4:10               Soil Ecosystem Health: From Fungi & Nematodes to Beetles & Earthworms 


Jim Laurie, Restoration Ecologist, Special Advisor to Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Mycorrhizal fungi are critical conduits moving photosynthetic energy to underground microbial communities.  In return these microbes find minerals and water for their plant benefactors.  In addtion, nematodes are essential nitrogen pumps in the soil, while dung beetles and earthworms can lock up tons of soil carbon, year after year.  Jim Laurie will illustrate and explain.

4:30               Biochar: A Powerful Tool for Carbon Farming  

Slides – Hugh McLaughlin

Charlotte O’Brien, Founder, Carbon Drawdown Solutions
Hugh McLaughlin, Chemical Engineer, Activated Carbon Expert

Charlotte O’Brien’s company, Carbon DrawDown Solutions, is developing turn-key systems for small- to large-scale biochar production from local materials.  CDS plans to kickstart a broad-scale effort for the exponential drawdown of carbon using biochar and sustainable farming techniques. She joins Hugh McLaughlin, an engineer and expert in biochar and activated carbon. They will discuss the many applications of biochar for environmental improvement and its role in reversing global warming.

4:50               Rock Powders: Nourishing Soils, Biodiversity and People   


Veronika Miranda Chase, Research Associate, Remineralize the Earth

Soil remineralization is playing a crucial and vital role in improving soil fertility. Remineralize the Earth is a nonprofit that promotes the regeneration of soils and forests with finely ground gravel dust, an economically and ecologically sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  Veronika Miranda Chase will provide us with an overview of the role of rock powders in a comprehensive eco-restoration and climate plan.

5:10               Soil + Silicon: Open Source Tools for Cover Cropping, Grazing and Organic No-Till


Dorn Cox, Organic Farmer and Appropriate-Tech Technologist

Dorn Cox is a founding member and board president of Farm Hack, an open source community for resilient agriculture. He is also the executive director of GreenStart and manages his family’s 250-acre organic farm in Lee, NH where he has built and documented low and high tech open source systems for environmental monitoring, small-scale grain and oil seeds processing and biofuel production, and no-till and low-till equipment and cover crop methods to reduce energy use and increase soil health.

5:30               Close

Sunday Morning, November 23, 2014
Hitting the Ground Running

Playlist:    Sunday

Session 6: Making It Happen – Activism, Practice and Policy

9:00               Introduction


Karl  Thidemann, Director of Outreach, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Trained as a chemist, for ten years Karl Thidemann was the Marketing Director for Solectria, an MIT spinoff that became one of the leading early developers of electric cars in the 1990s. He is closely aligned with the climate community, with many personal connections in New England clean tech, climate mitigation, and organic farming communities.

9:10               Climate Advocacy: From Grassroots Activism to International Policy  


William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.

A physical chemist with a PhD from MIT, William Moomaw works to translate science and technology into policy terms. He was a lead author of four IPCC reports, and an author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.  He will give us his vision of how we can translate the pressing needs of the new climate paradigm we are proposing – the essential role of the biosphere – into implementation at the policy level, from local to global.

9:30               Community Development in Zimbabwe via Eco-restoration  


Precious Phiri, Senior Facilitator at the Africa Center for Holistic Management (ACHM) in Zimbabwe

Precious Phiri directs engagement and training for villages in the Hwange Communal Lands region that are implementing restorative grazing programs using Holistic Land and Livestock Management. This cost-effective, nature-based and highly scalable solution helps rural communities in Africa to reduce poverty, rebuild soils, restore food and water security, and reduce drought and flood risks. Precious was born and raised in one of these communities now implementing restorative grazing.

9:55               Protecting and Restoring Water Resources on Tribal Lands in South Dakota           


Candace Ducheneaux, Hohwoju Lakota Elder and Activist from the Cheyenne River homelands

Grandmother and long-time activist Candace Duchenaux is dedicated to preserving the Lakota way of life and the environmental integrity of our sacred mother earth. She has been at the frontlines in many battles for justice for the Lakota Oyate and against the destructive human forces threatening humanity and nature.  She will tell us of the efforts of Mni, the grassroots water justice organization that she founded, to restore healthy water cycles to Cheyenne River and to all indigenous people worldwide.

10:20             Break

10:35             Messages from the Second Front: Bringing the Power of Biology
                      into the Climate Conversation                         


Larry Kopald, Moderator
Vanessa Rule, Co-Director and Lead Organizer for Mothers Out Front, as well as with
other local and state climate action groups
Gary Rucinski, Director of Committee for a Green Economy and Northeast Coordinator of the
Citizens Climate Lobby
Antje Danielson, Director, Tufts Institute of the Environment, co-founder of Zipcar
Eli Gerzon, MA State Divestment Organizer for the Better Future Project

A window into climate activists’ personal and interpersonal journeys toward understanding, embracing, and implementing biological approaches to addressing the climate crisis.  A discussion of obstacles and opportunities from people on the ground.

11:10             Q&A/Panel

11:30             Building the Movement We Need                                        


Ronnie Cummins, Founder and Director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA)

Ronnie Cummins leads the non-profit, U.S.-based network of 850,000 consumers, dedicated to safeguarding organic standards and promoting a healthy, just, and sustainable system of agriculture and commerce.  He has been active as a writer and activist since the 1960s, with extensive experience in human rights, anti-war, anti-nuclear, labor, consumer, environmental, and sustainable agriculture campaigns. His topic is Climate and Regenerative Organic Agriculture: How to Build a Mass Movement.

12:00             Lunch

Sunday  Afternoon, November 23, 2014

Session 7:  Pulling It All Together

1:30               Preparing for Action: Workshops, Small Group Discussions and Networking
4:00               Closing Plenary and Reports from Small Groups: Next Steps

Slides – List of Workshops
Slides – Hugh McLaughlin Biochar Workshop

Adam Sacks, Executive Director, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate.

Adam Sacks has had careers in education, holistic medicine, computer technology, politics and advocacy.  He has been a climate activist for the past fifteen years and has been studying and writing about Holistic Management since 2007.   On the side he is an artist, writer and student of classical piano.  His primary goal is regeneration of biodiversity and a livable planet.

5:00              Farewell for Now!

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