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Earthstock 2014: April 21 to April 25

Great debate 2014 1

Stony Brook University celebrates Earth Day with Earthstock, the annual SUNY Award winning program that features student and faculty research, prominent guest lecturers, environmental organizations, displays, exhibitors and more. The main Earthstock Festival will be held Friday, April 25, from 10 am to 3 pm on the Academic Mall (Rain Location: Student Activities Center), but other events take place throughout the week. Earthstock is free and open to the public.

More than 100 environmental and educational displays will be featured on the Academic Mall on April 25 from 11 am to 3 pm. One of the exhibits features eel grass mats. Sharon Pochron, a lecturer from Stony Brook’s Sustainability Studies program, and a group of students have been weaving the mats to restore a natural living environment for fish and shellfish in local coastal waters.

Robert Howarth

The Earthstock Keynote Lecture with Robert Howarth, David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, will be April 25 at 7:30 pm in the Wang Center Theatre. According to Howarth, Without large reductions in emissions of both methane and carbon dioxide, the average temperature of the Earth will reach 1.5°C to 2°C above the 20th-century baseline within the next few decades, creating a risk of runaway feedbacks in the climate system leading to even more rapid warming, climate disruption and massive societal breakdown. Hydrofracking shale gas and the associated leaks of methane and carbon dioxide can, contrary to popular opinion, create the largest greenhouse gas footprint of any fossil fuel. Professor Howarth will talk about the incipient dangers of hydrofracking in upstate New York and what can be done about it.

Students are encouraged to present research posters at the Earthstock Environmental Student Research Exhibition on Friday, April 25, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the Charles B. Wang Center Theatre Lobby preceding the Keynote Lecture. The poster session will feature undergraduate and graduate student research in the sciences, social sciences and humanities as they pertain to issues related to the environment, energy conservation, engineering and sustainability.To participate, students should contact Karen Kernan, director of the URECA program, at Karen.kernan@stonybrook.edu. URECA’s annual campus-wide poster symposium will be April 30.

Students from Sharon Pochron’s Sustainability Studies Earthworm Ecotoxicology Lab will also be presenting their research. The group works on various projects, such as investigating the role of acid rain on the earthworm biomass or the role of Roundup and fertilizer on earthworm health and body weight. Students discovered that Roundup has a short-term detrimental effect on earthworms, but no long-term effect. They also found that fertilizer had no short-term effect on earthworms, but had a very strong and detrimental effect on the long-term earthworm count. Look for their presentations at Friday evening’s exhibit.

Students weave eel grass mats to restore a natural living environment for fish and shellfish in local coastal waters.

Other highlights during the week include:

“The Systematic Destruction of Long Island’s Wetlands,” April 21, 7 pm, Endeavour Hall, Room 120
Daniel Karpen, best known for his discovery of 700-year-old black tupelo trees in Blydenburg County Park in Smithtown, will discuss how continuous filling and development of Long Island’s precious wetlands since early colonial times, have left widespread destruction of coastal ecosystems, water pollution and an over-developed shoreline, which is exceedingly vulnerable to major damage from storm surges and coastal erosion.

Meet Up at #IndyAtSBU “TweetUp,” April 22, 12 pm, SAC Ballroom A
Listen to a panel of world-renowned experts discuss the critical issues facing the natural world and subsequently the human race as well.
Join the “tweet-up” with esteemed SBU environmentalists and Indianapolis Prize finalists Patricia Wright, primatologist, anthropologist, and conservationist; Carl Safina, visiting professor and esteemed environmentalist writer; and Russell Mittermeier, primatologist, herpetologist and biological anthropologist. The Indy Prize is frequently referred toas the world’s leading award for animal conservation by members of the professional wildlife conservation community.

Sustainability Studies Alumni Career Panel, April 23, 1 pm, Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2
Stony Brook University alumni and field professionals in the area of sustainability and green industries will lead a moderated discussion on careers in a dynamic and quickly growing field. Hosted by the Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook University in collaboration with the Alumni Association and the Career Center.
Panelists:
Tara Linton, Ecosystems and Human Impact, BA, ’13
Shawn Nuzzo, Environmental Design, Policy and Planning, BA, ’13
Nicole Laible, Coastal Environmental Studies & Marine Sciences, BA, ’12
Nia Padilla, Environmental Humanities, BA, ’13
Anna Woodroof, Sustainability Studies, BA, ’12

Earthstock Great Debate: Closing the Fire Island Breach? April 24, 4 pm, Humanities Institute, Room 1006
A controversy is raging about whether the breach inlet located in the Fire Island National Seashore should be closed for the safety of south shore residents or kept open, ensuring better water quality and healthier coastal marine ecosystems. Come and enjoy a structured parliamentary debate by scientists, policy makers and elected officials positioned on both sides of the issue. The audience votes for the winner.

Click here for the complete list of Earthstock events taking place all week.

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