MCC speaker series to tackle environmental topics

CRYSTAL LAKE – How do we build a more sustainable world? Find out by attending the free Great Lakes Beaming Bioneers Speaker Series beginning at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Luecht Conference Center at McHenry County College.

The four-part series continues at 7 p.m. Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 at the college, 8900 U.S. Route 14 in Crystal Lake.

Experts in local and global issues facing our planet today will present information about building the local food network, quantifying the value of natural areas, Loyola University’s path to sustainability, and what is on the horizon for fracking in Illinois.

The speaker series is co-sponsored by McHenry County College, Loyola University Retreat Ecology Campus, and the McHenry County Conservation District.

The lecture Jan. 22 will feature “Toward an Economics of Shared Prosperity in a Finite World,” presented by Jon Erickson, professor of ecological economics and the interim dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.

His presentation will explore the foundations from which to build an economy for the century of the environment, designing resilient systems that align human nature with the realities of growing resource scarcity.

Erickson has published widely on energy and climate change policy, land conservation, watershed planning, environmental public health, and the theory and practice of ecological economics. His books include “The Great Experiment in Conservation: Voices from the Adirondack Park” (2009), “Frontiers in Ecological Economic Theory and Application” (2007), “Ecological Economics of Sustainable Watershed Management” (2007), and “Ecological Economics: a Workbook for Problem-Based Learning” (2005).

He also is an Emmy award-winning producer of films such as the four-part PBS series, “Bloom,” on sources and solutions to nutrient pollution in Lake Champlain. He was the managing director of UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics from 2009-2012 and is past president of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and a visiting professor at several universities overseas. He is a graduate of the doctoral program in natural resource economics from Cornell University.

At each presentation, a national Bioneers Conference DVD will be shown, featuring a prominent environmental leader. The speakers via DVD will include Bill McKibben of 350.org, on Jan. 29; Nikki Henderson of People’s Grocery on Feb. 5; and Sandra Steingraber, author of “Living Downstream,” on Feb. 12.

The following are seminar topics scheduled through Feb. 12:

• “Engaging In Transformation” at 7 p.m. Jan. 29, featuring Nancy Tuchman, director of the Institute of Urban Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago (effective Jan. 1).

• “Building Bridges With Food” at 7 p.m. Feb. 5, featuring Linda Mallers of FarmLogix.

• “Fracking 101: What, Where, and WHY?” at 7 p.m. Feb. 12, featuring Jack Darin, executive director, Illinois Sierra Club.

The speaker series is free and open to the public.

For information, call Pat Dieckhoff at 815-479-7817 or Kristine Emrich at 815-479-7570 or email conferencecenter@mchenry.edu.

For information about the speaker series, visit www.mcecoconference.org. For information about the national Bioneers, visit www.bioneers.org.

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