Concurrent Session Abstracts

Tuesday, April 20


Wednesday, April 21


Wisconsin Land Conservation

Efforts to conserve land in Wisconsin include public programs such as the innovative statewide Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund (celebrating its 20th anniversary) as well as community planning and zoning. Private efforts include land trusts, conservation easements and other programs and tools. This session will explore this spectrum of initiatives, how they have developed and grown, and the role of each in protecting land for the future.

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Feeding the World's Growing Population
At current rates of growth, global population is projected to reach 11 billion by the year 2050. How will we satisfy growing demand for food, particularly against a backdrop of climate change and resource scarcity? This session will examine issues of population growth, agricultural investment and knowledge control.

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Energy 1970 to Now

This session will follow the development of federal energy policy since 1970, and then examine advances made via utility-sector energy efficiency programs (demand-side management and approaches such as offered by Wisconsin Focus on Energy), ideas considered radical in the 1970s but now accepted as part of utility resource planning and resource portfolio development. The session will also look at vehicle pollution and cleanup policies, including transportation fuels, from both national and state perspectives.

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Climate Change in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's climate is changing and is projected to change at a faster rate in coming decades. This session will examine recent climatic trends and future projections and how these changes can affect our state?s landscapes and ecosystems. It will also explore policies and technologies to cut Wisconsin's greenhouse gas emissions.

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Beyond the Boat Landings: Native American Environmental Horizons

During the 1980s and early 1990s, northern Wisconsin struggled with the issue of Ojibwe spearfishing, a Native American right of harvest protected by treaties. Violent confrontations at boat landings between native and non-native citizens drew national and even international attention. This session will screen a 30-minute film, produced by UW-Madison students, that examines the controversy. Panelists will discuss the issues raised within a larger environmental context.

Film: After the Storm

It was one of the most violent chapters in Wisconsin history. During the 1980s and early 1990s thousands of angry citizens descended upon northern boat landings to protest Ojibwe Indian treaty rights, specifically spearfishing for walleye pike?a fish prized by rod and reel fishermen. Economic, environmental, and cultural factors combined to create a ?Perfect Storm? of misunderstanding. After the Storm revisits the controversy twenty-five years later and explores the relationship between the Ojibwe and their white neighbors then and now. (36:30 minutes)

Produced by Patty Loew and members of the Life Sciences Communication-LSC 620 (Advanced Video) student team:

  • Casey O'Kane
  • Kaylee DeGrace
  • Michael Stranz
  • Kyle Bursaw

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International Biodiversity Conservation

This session will examine a number of different approaches to wildlife conservation, with emphasis on community involvement and benefits. Examples will include actions and programs from Africa, Asia and North America.

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Foundations of Earth Day: Madison, 1970

Madison's first Earth Day in 1970, with the theme "Lifestyle on Trial," was built on more than a decade of progress and participation in university scholarship, student groups, community organizations and state government. Members of the panel will reflect on how the event brought together these diverse groups, and how this diversity in turn shaped the Earth Day event. (If you have memories of the first Earth Day that you would like to share, please attend this session. If you have photos, programs, posters or other memorabilia that you would like to share, please contact Thomas Smith twsmith@wisc.edu or bring them along on Tuesday, April 20, and we will add them to an exhibit which will be in place through the end of the event.)

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The Evolving Management of Wisconsin's Waters

This session will examine Wisconsin rivers, wetlands and Lake Superior to explore how conservation and protection efforts have evolved and aided the recovery of these resources. It will discuss what can we learn from the recovery of Lake Superior over the past century, as we face new interconnected challenges of climate change, synthetic chemicals, and forest change. Attitudes toward, and laws pertaining to, wetlands will also be discussed, including how they have changed over the years in response to scientific understanding of the values of wetlands. And this session will contrast 19th-20th century vs 21st century approaches to river management and examine how protecting or restoring natural functions (green infrastructure) is the best choice for communities in the face of increasingly frequent and severe floods, droughts, water pollution, aging infrastructure, public health and safety.

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Creating Healthy Landscapes

How we shape the land around us, and how we live and travel on it, can significantly affect our health. This session will examine the health impacts, both positive and negative, of some of the actions and choices of individuals and communities. Examples will include disease transmission in urban settings; energy use and air quality; and transportation choices and health.

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Local Food Sovereignty

Communities across Wisconsin are looking to re-localize their food supplies. Efforts include buy-local initiatives, community supported agriculture, and urban orchard movements. This session will look at examples of local food sovereignty, including programs at the Oneida Nation Farms, the city of Detroit, and Madison. It will also discuss Badger Rock Middle School, a proposed urban agriculture charter school on Madison's south side.

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Aspiration and Reality in the Energy Challenge

Solar, wind and other non-carbon-emitting energy sources have the potential to meet a growing portion of our energy demand and mitigating climate change. But getting these alternatives to a meaningful scale poses a tremendous challenge. This session will examine policies and incentives needed to fast-track renewable energy sources onto the grid and to boost domestic manufacture of these technologies. It will also consider the potential role of nuclear energy in reducing carbon emissions.

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Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

From utilities and businesses to households, our choices and practices emit carbon into the atmosphere, driving climate change. This session will explore some of the tools available to measure our impact, and actions that individuals, communities, businesses and the state as a whole might take to reduce our impacts.

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The Evolution of Recycling in Wisconsin

From its earliest days, Wisconsin has been a leader in the development of recycling programs, policies and actions. This session will look at recycling from the early days of volunteer-run curbside collection programs to today's state-of-the-art electronics recycling. It will also look at municipal initiatives, with Madison's zero-waste aspiration as a case study. And it will celebrate Wisconsin resident and recycling pioneer Milly Zantow with a nine-minute film about her effort to create the plastics numbering system that is now standard industry practice.

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Conserving Wisconsin's Biodiversity

This session will explore the historical context of the emergence and development of the thinking behind biodiversity conservation, using Wisconsin as a case study. It will then examine the history of wolf recovery over the last 40 years as a lens for understanding how we can repair environmental damage, with emphasis on innovative policy interventions, what we learned from each, and what the future holds for wolves and people. It will also examine private landowner incentives, provided under the Endangered Species Act, to conserve rare, threatened and endangered species, with a focus on new models for a creative, non-adversarial approach to protect biodiversity on private lands.

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Students as Agents of Change

How are today's college students confronting the environmental challenge? What are the pathways for students to move into leadership positions in business, government and the non-profit sectors? This student-led session will examine the strategies, tactics and tools to organize, impact and prepare for the future.

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Demand Management and Sustainability of Wisconsin's Water

This session will explore issues of quality, availability and consumption of surface waters and groundwater. What emerging policies will affect groundwater use in the future? How does the Great Lakes Compact affect Wisconsin communities? And what does the "public trust doctrine" mean for our use of the state's inland lakes?

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