Upcoming Events

Interconnections – Earth Week Schedule, Spring 2016

Previous Events

Interconnections – Earth Week Festival, Spring 2014

Earth Week Research and Arts Festival, Spring 2013

Sustainability Research Workshop, Fall 2012

Research Roundtable: Cultivating Art and Science Sensibilities: Bioart + Biotech
Apr 23 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Panel and Discussion: Sustainability, Economics and STS
Apr 23 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Economists Faye Duchin and John Gowdy (Rensselaer) will describe their current research, and how it advances contemporary theory and practice in Economics, while contributing to growing understanding of requirements for the sustainability of natural and human systems. The discussion will explore how economic research in this vein can build on and contribute to work in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies.


Lecture: How Can Sustainable Practices Overcome the Gravitational Pull of Convenience?
Apr 23 @ 11:00 pm – Apr 24 @ 12:30 am

In this talk Cameron Tonkinwise (Carnegie Mellon University) examines the practices of everyday life, and how habitual practices work against sustainable consumption.  He also describes how his work in the field of Design Studies  advances understanding of everyday practices, the force of convenience, and how convenience can be redesigned to enable transitions to more sustainable practices.

Film and discussion (with filmmaker Laura Kissel): Cotton Road, from South Carolina to Shanghai
Apr 24 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Cotton Road travels from family farms in South Carolina to the factories of China to tell a story about globalized labor, weaving a portrait of the work and workers we never see and the products that they make.  Cotton Road explores the labor, transportation and environmental impacts behind a typical supply chain for a cotton product.

Public Discussion: Intergenerational Ethics and the Shale Gas Boom
Apr 24 @ 11:00 pm – Apr 25 @ 1:00 am

Please RSVP below if you are able to participate in a roundtable discussion about the long-term impacts of the shale gas boom, and the intergenerational ethics issues that it raises for policymakers, activists, community members, regulators, and industry. The roundtable is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Earth Week, and will take place on Thursday, April 24th at 7 PM in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) Auditorium.

The premise of our discussion focused on the shale gas boom is that it has emerged very rapidly, with promises that it will help us meet a growing demand for energy, for energy independence and for forms of energy that are less carbon-intensive than coal or oil – while bringing economic development to depressed regions. These promises need to be considered alongside concerns about the environmental, health and social impacts of the shale gas boom, drawing diverse stakeholders into deliberation about different scenarios for the future, their advantages and their risks.

With their permission, the names and affiliations of people who have RSVPed will be posted on our website as a way to build momentum toward the discussion.



Lecture: Redefining the Grocery Store for Local Food
Apr 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Ben Greene, founder of the Farmery, an urban farm, market and cafe, will talk about his vision for a grocery and cafe that grows and sells food at the same site. The Farmery consolidates the entire food distribution system into a single site, creating a new standard for local food. At the Farmery, customers can witness and participate in the growth and harvest of their food as they shop.

Film and Discussion: Bhopali
Apr 25 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Bhopali is a documentary about the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India, drawing out the enduring impacts of exposure to toxic chemicals and questions about corporate and government responsibility. Film by Van Maximilian Carlson.

Film and Discussion: Triple Divide
Apr 25 @ 11:00 pm – Apr 26 @ 1:00 am
Film and Discussion: Triple Divide @ CBIS Auditorium | Troy | New York | United States

Join us for a screening of “the best documentary about fracking”, followed by a discussion with filmmakers Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.


“Triple Divide is said to be the only documentary of its kind on the controversial subject of fracking capable of speaking to all sides, with exclusive interviews from the industry, experts, and Americans suffering in the wake of shale gas development. “It’s the best movie on fracking to date [using] facts, not fiction or spin” wrote Pennsylvania resident, Robert Donnan. Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the film, taking part in the project after being shown an online screener a few weeks before the final release. The film is co-directed by journalists Joshua Pribanic & Melissa Troutman.

The 90-minute documentary is a project by, a Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization. Triple Divide is built on evidence from cradle-to-grave investigations that attempt to answer the question, “How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?” Throughout the film’s 10 chapters, which cover waste, class II injection wells, drinking water contamination, split-estates, the “pre-drill test scandal”, and the “pressure bulb” are on the ground accounts of hair-raising journalism.

Hard-hitting, Triple Divide is also fair. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is highlighted in the film for weakly enforced regulations, but “the head of ‘Oil & Gas’ at DEP, Scott Perry, told me he’s seen the film and it’s very well done,” said Troutman. “This attests to Public Herald’s journalistic integrity and ability to reach both ends of the public spectrum: community members and heads of state.”

The film reveals how water contamination is being covered up by the industry and the state, essentially rewriting water quality history in the United States by dismissing predrill tests. Meanwhile, state regulators are using compliance as a means of regulating without enforcing the law, abandoning the public in the wake of shale gas development.”

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Demonstration: Citizens’ Water Monitoring Lights Up
Apr 26 @ 1:00 am – 2:30 am

Anthropologist and tech-innovator Sara Wylie (Northeastern Environmental Health Research Institute), working with tech-innovators in the Troy community, will demonstrate technologies developed to help citizens monitor water quality at low cost. Thermal-sensing fishing bobs will be floated in Robison Pool around islands of ice, and photographed when they light up. Temperature differentials can point to pollution plumes in water.

Earth Week Finale Festival
Apr 26 @ 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

EW Saturday Poster April 9


Rensselaer’s Earth Week Festival Finale will celebrate Interconnections – between students of different ages, between students and sustainability professionals, between the university and the Troy community.  The afternoon will feature:

  • Performances
  • Games
  • Educational Demos
  • Food
  • Films
  • Discussions
  • A Green Careers Meet and Greet

The Festival Finale will showcase and celebrate teaching and research focused on environmental sustainability, and RPI students will run kiosks for kids to share their excitement and knowledge about an array of environmental topics.  There will be performances by jugglers, parkour athletes, and music ensembles, a green career meet-and-greet, and a screening of the film, Bidder 70, followed by a discussion run by RPI students about intergenerational ethics and environmental activism.


The Festival Finale will be at the RPI Student Union on 15th Street.  All activities will be free and open to the public.