2015 U.S.-China Forum: Spotlight on Climate Change at University of Chicago, 19 May 2015

The Energy, Environment, and Climate Nexus in China:
Where Opportunities Converge

Tuesday, 19 May 2015, 8:30am-3pm


On almost any major issue, from climate change and urbanization to international trade and peace and security, how the U.S. and China work together (or don’t) will shape our global future.  This inaugural U.S.-China Forum takes up one of these major issues: climate change. What is the health and economic toll of climate change and associated environmental challenges? What key energy and environmental policy decisions have been made, and will need to be made, in order to forge a sustainable path toward long-term economic growth? And how can the two countries work together to build the kind of lasting relationship that is needed to address climate change, and other vital global challenges?

About the Series

The U.S.-China Forum is sponsored by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Chicago Office of Global Engagement. The annual Forum brings together renowned experts—including faculty from the University of Chicago and scholars from China—for high-level engagements focused on issues of importance to both countries and, by extension, the world. It is intended to spur long-term research collaborations between Chinese and University of Chicago researchers. This year’s program is focused on the climate change challenge, and hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and the Paulson Institute.


All sessions are open to registrants. Registration is required as space is limited. To request special assistance, please contact the Office of University Events and Ceremonies at 773.702.9626.


Morning Session – The Energy, Environment, and Climate Nexus in China: Where Opportunities Converge

When international negotiators meet in Paris later this year for the next round of UN climate talks, much of the world’s focus will be on two countries: China and the U.S. Both countries have shown their leadership in confronting climate change, with a landmark joint climate announcement last year outlining their respective new climate goals for 2025 and beyond. But much work remains to be done to make these goals a reality. This panel and associated discussion with current and former senior government officials and academics will explore the intertwined environmental and climate challenges the country faces, their health and economic toll, and the key energy and environmental policy decisions that China has made and will need to make in order to forge a sustainable path forward.

9:00am  Welcome remarks

9:15am  Panel – China’s Environment and Climate Challenges: The Human Toll and Path Forward

China’s Climate: Changes and Physical Impacts
Elisabeth Moyer, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Department of Geophysical Sciences, The University of Chicago

Air Pollution: Current and Future Trends
Wang Litao, Professor of Environmental Engineering, Hebei University of Engineering

The Environment and Health: Impacts from Air Pollution Today, Climate Change Tomorrow
Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and the College, The University of Chicago; Director, Energy Policy Institute at Chicago

National Policy Efforts and Implementation
Zou Ji, Deputy Director General, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, People’s Republic of China

Moderated by Pete Ogden, Senior Advisor and Fellow, Senior Advisor and Fellow, Energy Policy Institute at Chicago

11:00am  Beyond Paris: A Conversation with Hank Paulson, Chairman, Paulson Institute and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

Moderator: Michael Greenstone

11:45am  Morning closing remarks with Dali Yang, Professor, Department of Political Science, The University of Chicago; Founding Faculty Director, The University of Chicago Center in Beijing

12:00pm  Complimentary lunch with pre-registration

Afternoon Session – U.S.-China Relations

Climate change is not the only challenge the U.S. and China must work together to confront. Their relationship, and how it evolves, is crucial to all of our futures.  As the two countries continue to learn how to interact in an ever changing world, there will be cooperative opportunities and times of contention.  In what areas do the U.S. and China have the greatest common interests?  And how can they work past areas of debate to forge a relationship that will aid both countries’ interests and our common future?

1:30pm  Keynote address and conversation with Madame Fu Ying, Chairperson, Foreign Affairs Committee, 12th National People’s Congress, People’s Republic of China

Posted in climate change, conferences, energy, events | Leave a comment

Bubbly Creek Restoration Plan: Deadline for Public Comments is May 15

RU and FCR Canoe Trip on Bubbly Creek, 2010 (M. Bryson)

RU and FCR Canoe Trip on Bubbly Creek, 2010 (M. Bryson)

Please read this message from one of RU’s environmental education partners, Friends of the Chicago River. Bubbly Creek is one of the region’s most famous (and notoriously abused) waterways, and now has a chance for environmental restoration. Even in its currently degraded state, the Creek supports abundant wildlife and human recreation, and is an important part of Chicago’s history as well as its sustainable future as a point of contact between humans and urban nature.

Roosevelt students and faculty have cleaned litter from the banks and waters of Bubbly Creek, and taken numerous canoe trips along its 1.2 mile length; and SUST prof Mike Bryson has written extensively about the Creek’s environmental history and prospects.

Photo: M. Bryson, 2012

Photo: M. Bryson, 2012

Please take a few minutes to read this note from FCR and communicate your opinion on the proposed restoration project to the US Army Corps of Engineers. Indication of public support for this project will make it more likely to happen!

Until this Friday, 15 May 2015 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is accepting public comments regarding their ecosystem restoration project for Bubbly Creek, a stretch of the river that most people have forgotten all about. This interesting reach of the river has a long and sordid history made famous by Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, which described life in the Union Stockyards. It is past refuse from the stockyards that makes Bubbly Creek bubble.

Despite its inglorious history, today Bubbly Creek is full of opportunity. We regularly see wildlife including beavers, muskrats, snapping turtles and state-endangered black crowned night herons along the creek and there is a ton of activity with crew teams, new parks, residential development and a new boat house which should start construction later this year.

The Army Corps’ plan capitalizes on all this wonderful activity and adds in-stream and riverbank habitat that will create a haven for wildlife in, on, and under the water. This ecosystem restoration project will: improve fish habitat, which is sorely needed throughout the watershed, provide habitat for migratory waterfowl and the black-crowned night heron and the banded killifish, both threatened species, and complement all of the other projects and uses that are planned for Bubbly Creek and the surrounding communities.

Please tell the Army Corps these are the reasons that you support this project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs one last push of support to get this project moving, we are encouraging as many voices as possible to show how important this is.

Emailed comments must be received by Friday, May 15, 2015. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Friday, May 15. Comments can be emailed to chicagodistrict.pao@usace.army.mil, ATTN: Bubbly Creek Draft Report.

Please contact Anthony Cefali, Friends’ policy and planning specialist, at (312) 939-0490, ext. 15 or Kelly Fitzpatrick from the 11th Ward if you have any further questions.

Posted in biodiversity, conservation, ecology, parks and public land, planning, restoration, water, wildlife | Leave a comment

SETF Summer Tours of Chicago’s South Side

This summer, the Southeast Environmental Task Force is offering several public tours of the environmental sites of interest on Chicago’s South Side that offer a close-up view of wastewater treatment systems, landfill and recycling facilities, hazardous waste and pollution sites — all united by a focus on environmental justice and urban sustainability.

All tours are conducted on a comfortable coach bus with minimal walking required, and feature SETF’s expert narrators / activist professionals. Each tour begins (10am) and ends (2pm) at the Chicago Cultural Center, Michigan & Randolph St. in downtown Chicago.

Deep Tunnel and Thornton Quarry Tour

Last chance to go deep into one of the world’s largest rock quarries, and to descend 250 feet below ground into the deep tunnel.
Saturday, June 20  – 10am to 2pm (cost $30)

Recycling Tour (jointly sponsored by the Chicago Recycling Coalition)

Visit a working recycling facility, compost sites, landfills, and a wastewater treatment plant; see how Chicago deals with its waste.
Saturday, July 18  – 10am to 2pm ($30)

Energy Solutions Tour

Visit the US’s largest inner-city solar facility; the massive BP refinery in Whiting, Ind.; and some more-innovative energy options being employed in Chicago.
Saturday, August 8  –  10am to 2pm ($30)

To Register:

Visit www.setaskforce.blogspot.com or call 773-646-0436.

Posted in activities, cities, education, events, field trips, pollution | 1 Comment

RU Environmental Sustainability Internship Open for Applications

RU's restored prairie and part of its urban forest at the Schaumburg Campus (photo: M. Radeck)

RU’s restored prairie and part of its urban forest at the Schaumburg Campus (photo: M. Radeck)

The RU Physical Resources Department is offering a paid student internship position to begin in Spring/Summer 2015 and run through 2015. This job is an outstanding professional development opportunity and involves working directly with the RU Physical Resources Team under the direction of Paul Matthews, Associate VP for Campus Planning/Operations. The internship is based primarily at the Schaumburg Campus, though occasionally duties may involve going to the Chicago Campus. Applications are being accepted ASAP (see details below) until the position is filled.

Note: An additional position based on the Chicago Campus will open at some point during the summer semester. Contact Paul Matthews (see info below) for more information.

Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Manage the Schaumburg Campus RUrbanPioneers Community Garden
  • Assist in implementing the newly adopted Sustainability Strategic Plan, approved in February 2015
  • Maintenance and updating of the RU Green Campus website, Green Campus Blog, and associated Facebook page, including articulating a mission statement, information on topics such as green construction and recycling programs, provide links to outside environmental organizations, post sustainability-related news, and provide other information which may benefit and educate the RU community about environmental sustainability.
  • Assist in maintaining contact with associations and government sponsored agencies that support the Physical Resources Environmental Sustainability Initiatives, including: Association for the Advancement for Sustainability within Higher Education (AASHE), United States Green Building Council, Second Nature, World Wildlife Federation, EPA Green Power Partnership Program, and the Illinois Governor’s Campus Sustainability Compact
  • Participate in DCEO Recycling Grant Reporting; Recycling Project for AUD, Field House, and Wabash (with 50% diversion goal); and university Compost Agreement, which provides materials for Schaumburg Garden Plots
  • Help prepare PowerPoint presentations on select ES topics to present to the RU Community when necessary.
  • Attend RU-based meetings that deal with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership thru Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification Program for the Wabash Vertical Campus, Field House, and other major construction projects. Assist in tracking the LEED credits for certification and green building construction, and in achieving USGBC LEED Silver level for Field House.
  • Work on Physical Resource plans or initiatives that center around green technologies, landscapes, hardscapes, alternate methods of transportation, and renewable energy sources.

To Indicate Interest and Get More Information:

Contact Paul Matthews, Associate VP for Campus Planning/Operations, Department of Physical Resources, Roosevelt University, at 312-341-33684 (office) or pmatthews@roosevelt.edu (email).

To Apply:

Visit the Student Employment page on the RU website, locate the position announcement in e-Recruiting, and submit your application.

Posted in education, green jobs, internships, Roosevelt, students

Register Now for Summer and Fall 2015 Classes at RU

SUST majors in Prof. Michele Hoffman's 220 Water class, pictured here with volunteer guides from Friends of the Chicago River, paddled the North Branch of the Chicago River, Fall 2014 (M. Hoffman)

SUST majors in Prof. Michele Hoffman’s 220 Water class, pictured here with volunteer guides from Friends of the Chicago River, paddled the North Branch of the Chicago River, Fall 2014 (M. Hoffman)

Hey, Roosevelt students! Interested in taking a cool class this summer as the weather warms up in Chicago? Still need to set up your fall course schedule? You’re in luck!

Advising and registration are ongoing and spots are still available for the Summer and Fall 2015 SUST offerings here at Roosevelt. If you’re a current RU student, (1) look over the Summer and Fall 2015 schedules using this coursefinder, (2) check your remaining course requirements on your curriculum checksheet, and (3) email or call your assigned academic advisor with your planned schedule and any questions you have about your upcoming classes. Your advisor will provide you with an RU Access registration code so you can register. Click on the links below for course previews!

SUST 390 Writing Urban Nature flier 2015-04-13Sustainability Studies courses offered in Summer 2015:

SUST 210 Sustainable Future
(online, May 18 – Aug 2, Prof. Carla Jones)

SUST 390 Writing Urban Nature
(Chicago, May 18 – 22, Prof. Mike Bryson)
See course preview here.

Sustainability Studies courses offered in Fall 2015:

SUST 210 Sustainable Future (Chicago, M 1-3:30pm)
SUST 210 Sustainable Future (online)
SUST 220 Water (Chicago, W 9:30am-12pm)
SUST 230 Food (online)
SUST 240 Waste (Chicago, W 3-5:30pm)
SUST 310 Energy & Climate Change (online)
SUST 330 Biodiversity (Chicago @ Field Museum, Th 9am-1pm, J. Kerbis)
SUST 350 Service & Sustainability (Chicago, T 12-3pm, M. Bryson)

Yes, April is a super busy time of the academic year — but don’t neglect getting in touch with your advisor! It’s the best time to get signed up for classes. And for additional useful info, see this Advising Resources page on Prof. Mike Bryson’s faculty website.

Hauling straw in the Eden Place Nature Center's pickup truck during a SUST 350 Service workday on Chicago's South Side, Fall 2014

Hauling straw in the Eden Place Nature Center’s pickup truck during a SUST 350 Service workday on Chicago’s South Side, Fall 2014

Posted in courses, education, faculty, Roosevelt, students

SUST Student Symposium on Earth Day 2015: Science, Sustainability, & Social Justice

This past Earth Day, 22 April 2015, the Sustainability Studies Program at Roosevelt University hosted its 3rd symposium of student research in RU’s LEED Gold-certified Wabash Building at 425 S. Wabash Ave. in downtown Chicago (room 616). Four students in Roosevelt’s SUST undergrad program shared their recent internship and research experiences in a forum open to all RU students, faculty, and staff as well as the general public. We had a great crowd of about 40 people turn out, the best attendance yet in the two-year history of our symposium!

Blume, Melanie

Our first speaker was Melanie Blume, a senior SUST major at Roosevelt, where she has taken most of her classes online. A prospective graduate this May, Melanie came to RU as a transfer student from Harper College’s Honors Program. For her SUST 395 Internship this spring 2015 semester, Melanie worked with conservation and education staff at the Spring Valley Nature Center and the Volkening Heritage Farm near Roosevelt’s campus in Schaumburg IL.

RU's Melanie Blume with her protective gear on at Spring Valley Nature Center, Apr 2015

RU’s Melanie Blume with her protective gear on at Spring Valley Nature Center, Apr 2015

These excellent facilities are part of the 135-acre Spring Valley Conservation Area, the largest and most ecologically significant green space with the Village of Schaumburg limits, and are managed by the Schaumburg Park District. During the Spring 2015 semester, Melanie also reflected on her experiences here as a guest blogger. She did everything from seeding native plants to making wine (1880s-style) to hand-plowing the farmhouse garden plot in period garb to helping with a prescribed burn of the Spring Valley prairie. Check out Melanie’s presentation slides here: pdf (2.8MB)

Rebecca Quesnell working for environmental justice in Appalachia during her internship with SAMS in southwest Virginia (July 2014)

Our next speaker was Rebecca Quesnell, a senior SUST major at RU with a double-minor in Environmental Science and Psychology who will also graduate this May. She has worked as an environmental sustainability associate in Roosevelt’s Physical Resources Department since last spring, and this year has managed the WB Rooftop Garden at the Chicago Campus among her many internship duties. During her freshman year, Rebecca enrolled in the inaugural section of SUST 350 Service & Sustainability, a transformational service learning class held onsite at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm in Spring 2012, and soon afterward decided to pursue a major in sustainability studies.

This past summer, Rebecca left the IL prairie and urban landscape of Chicago to tackle an environmental justice internship in Appalachia, VA, with the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards in the summer of 2014, which she reported on for the SUST blog last summer. She didn’t bring that sandwich board as part of her presentation on Wednesday, but you can see lots of great photos of her experiences in her slides: pdf (3MB).

Mary Rasic and Kevin Markowski work in the RU community garden, summer 2014

Our third presenter, SUST senior Mary Rasic, also has worked as an environmental sustainability associate in the RU Physical Resources Department since the summer of 2014. Mary transferred to Roosevelt in the Fall semester of 2012, when she began her studies in the SUST program after several years working in the corporate world.

Based at the Schaumburg Campus during her internship, Mary has among her many projects and duties managed the RU Community Garden during its 3rd growing season last year and has been deeply involved in the landscape redevelopment, restoration projects, and arboretum certification at the SCH Campus. (That’s her on the left in the photo above, working in the garden last summer with her fellow sustainability intern, Kevin Markowski.) Mary’s presentation was a comprehensive overview of the many sustainability initiatives undertaken at the SCH Campus since 2014, and provides a snapshot of the diverse tasks and learning opportunities provided to environmental sustainability student interns in RU’s Physical Resources Department, under the direction of Paul Matthews, Assistant VP of Operations & Planning. Check out Mary’s slides here: pdf (2.8MB)

RU student and SUST major Emily Rhea works in the chemistry lab at Columbia College on a Microcosm ocean acidification experiment, Nov. 2014 (photo: M. Hoffman)

Our final presenter was Emily Rhea, a junior SUST major and transfer student from the College of DuPage this past Fall 2014 semester. Emily’s passion for hands-on learning quickly found expression in her work as a science research intern on RU adjunct prof. Michele Hoffman’s Microcosm film project this year.

During the Spring 2015 semester, Emily reported to the SUST blog on her experiences conducting experiments designed to simulate the acidification of the ocean, one of the profoundly worrisome impacts of global climate change on sea chemistry and, therefore, marine biodiversity. Her work is part of that done by several SUST majors the last couple of years on Prof. Hoffman’s exciting interdisciplinary film project. Emily not only has good titration technique (see photo at left), but is an engaging and enthusiastic public speaker, as well! You can see her slides here: pdf (23MB)

Thanks to all who attended our 3rd SUST Student Symposium; to the Physical Resources Department staff who provided refreshments and logistics; and to the students of SUST 390 Sustainable Campus, who hosted the Symposium during their regularly scheduled class time on Earth Day.

Stay tuned for next year’s event, featuring more student internship/research presentations on a variety of sustainability topics!

Posted in activities, education, events, internships, presentations, research, Roosevelt, science, students

Earth Day 2015

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

We’ve only got one. Let’s take better care of it, shall we?

Posted in conservation, ecology, ethics