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

Film and discussion: Do the Math
Apr 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Film and discussion:  Do the Math  @ Troy | New York | United States

This film is based on a Rolling Stone article by renowned environmental leader Bill McKibben, founder of, which has galvanized people around the world to address climate change.  Van Jones is also featured in the film, calling for the creation of millions of living wage jobs in conservation and the green energy industry. 

Lecture: Tree Sits and Glitter Banners: How New Terrorism Laws Are Meant to Silence Environmental Protest
Apr 22 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Speaker Will Potter is an award-winning journalist and TED Fellow based in Washington, D.C..  His writing and public speaking focus on the animal rights and environmental movements, and civil liberties post-9/11.  Potter testified before the U.S. Congress about his reporting, as the only witness opposing the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Public Discussion: Intergenerational Ethics, Environment, and Public Education
Apr 22 @ 8:15 pm – 9:45 pm

This discussion will bring together diverse representatives of the community to consider the intergenerational ethics of stewarding the public goods of environment and education.  Participants will include  teachers, students, environmentalists, administrators, parents, clergy, elected officials, and others concerned about these entwined issues.



Symposium: Sensing Sensibilities: Artists, Animals and Plants
Apr 22 @ 10:30 pm – Apr 23 @ 1:00 am

This symposium will include lectures by internationally reknown art historians Steve Baker and Monika Bakke, supported by the Vollmer Fries Distinguished Lecture Series.

Steve Baker (Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Central Lancashire) is author of Artist|Animal (2013), which has been praised for its “deep understanding of the nuance, intricacy, and contradictions in how artists work today.”  Baker’s lecture, The Redescription of the World, will examine how art engages with questions of animal life, building on Niklas Luhmann’s observation that “the function of art is to make the world appear within the world.”

Monika Bakke (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland) is author of Bio-transfigurations: Art and Aesthetics of Posthumanism (2010) and editor of The Life of Air: Dwelling, Communicating, Manipulating (2011).  Bakke’s lecture, And the Plant Responded, explores the complex, sensual, and arguably cognitive lives of plants,  questioning how art projects and ethical frameworks can address plants as active and autonomous beings that perceive the world in ways we still know so little about.

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.

Lecture: Water is Life
Apr 24 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Geomicrobiologist Yuri Gorby discusses the increasing loss of freshwater resources and the implications for environmental and human health.

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.