Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

The Sustainability Speaker Series is supported by a generous grant from Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation. Cross-listed here are speakers in the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Speaker Series, supported by the Center for the Blue Economy.

Fall 2016 Sustainability Speaker Events

Resilience Design for A Rapidly Changing Ecological and Social Climate

Warren Brush: Resilience Educator and Designer, USAID – TOPS Program

Friday, September 23
Morse Building, Room B105


About the Topic: In this presentation, Warren Brush will give an introduction to the Resilience Design Framework and Permagarden Program that is an integration of agroecology, permaculture design, and rainwater harvesting practices and principles. In times of global climate extremes and instability, ecological degeneration, social restlessness, and economic volatility, this training is being promoted by USAID through their TOPS (technical operations performance support) program as part of their Food for Peace programming as an essential training to promote resilience in their beneficiary communities. It consists of practical design tools and participatory methods for working with the patterns of landscape, local resources and local innovation to restore hydrological stability, create regenerative agriculture practices, eliminating waste and creating economic viability through ecological stability with high-risk communities globally.

About the Speaker: Warren Brush is a global resilience design consultant, educator, lecturer and storyteller. He has worked for over 25 years in regenerative systems design for communities, private and public organizations, households, small holder farms, and conservation properties worldwide. He is co-founder of Quail Springs Permaculture, Regenerative Earth Enterprises, Sustainable Vocations, Wilderness Youth Project, Casitas Valley Farm and Creamery and his Permaculture design company, True Nature Design.  He is also an advising founder of the Permaculture Research Institute of Kenya. He is a part of the USAID’s TOPS (Technical, Operations, Performance Support) program where he trains technical field staff, for their African Food for Peace programs, in a Resilience Design Framework. He works extensively in North America, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Australia. He has taught the following courses: Permaculture Design Certification, Earthworks for Resiliency, Resilient Smallholder Farm Design, Permaculture for International Development, Rainwater Harvesting Systems, Ferro-Cement Tank Building, Community Design Using Permaculture, Permaculture Investing, Spring Rejuvenation and Watershed Restoration, Compost Toilet Systems, Water for Every Farm, Drought Proofing Landscapes, and Ecological Restoration.

Speaker Contact

Related Links

Natural Resource Management in California

Valerie Termini: Executive Director, California Fish and Game Commission (MIIS Alumna, International Environmental Policy)

Tuesday, September 27
Room MG102


About the Speaker: Valerie Termini was appointed as the Executive Director of the California Fish and Game Commission in May, 2016. Prior to this position, she served as staff to the Ocean Protection Council as the fisheries policy advisor for roughly 10 years. In 2015, Termini served on detail to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington D.C. serving as a climate advisor to NOAA Fisheries. Ms. Termini holds a Master of International Environmental Policy degree from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. While a graduate student, she interned at the NOAA National Marine Protected Area Institute in Monterey and as a community fishery policy advisor for the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, in Micronesia. Upon receiving her master’s degree, Ms. Termini accepted a California Sea Grant fellowship at the ocean resources management program in Sacramento. Prior to graduate school, Termini served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa. In her spare time, Ms. Termini thinks a lot about going to yoga one day, contemplates creating healthy yet delicious meals for her family and then orders pizza, and locates/divines missing objects. She lives with her adorable husband and clever daughter, in Davis, California.


The Global Future of Aquaculture: Will California Play a Part?

Michael Graham: Professor, Moss Landing Marine Labs, Co-Managing-Editor, Journal of Psychology, and Director of Research and Development at the MLML Center for Aquaculture

Tuesday, October 4
Room MG102


About the Topic: Introduction to the US and California seafood trade deficit, and the aquaculture infrastructure in California. Discussion of strategy to enhance aquaculture industry in California, with focus on the mission of the newly formed Center for Aquaculture at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

About the Speaker: Dr. Graham is Professor of Marine Ecology at the Moss Landing Marine Labs. His expertise is in the ecology of kelp forests in California and worldwide, with a recent expansion into the field of sustainable aquaculture. He has conducted research on kelp forest ecology around the planet (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Chile), including the discovery of new kelp forests in the deep tropical waters of the Galapagos. He is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, past-President of the Western Society of Naturalists, associate editor for the journal Ecology and managing editor for the Journal of Psychology, and is the recently appointed director of research and development of the Center for Aquaculture at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. He also owns and runs a small seaweed farm in Moss Landing (Monterey Bay Seaweeds) with his wife and family.

Advancing Coastal Resilience on a Regional-Scale: The San Diego Collaborative Model

Laura Engeman: Manager, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative (MIIS Alumna, International Environmental Policy)

Tuesday, October 18
Room MG102


About the Topic: A discussion of the interconnected culture and strategies that the San Diego region is using to build a community of climate resilience “practitioners”. The talk will provide examples of how the region is collaborating on legal, economic, and scientific aspects of sea level rise and adaptation as well as finding new innovative ways to get the community engaged in the climate change conversation.

About the Speaker: Laura became the Manager of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative in October 2013, cultivating the organization into a well-known climate change resource center for the San Diego region. In 2015, the Climate Collaborative was recognized by the U.S. EPA as an Innovative Model for Climate Leadership, and the organization was recently awarded the only California-based Regional Coastal Resilience Grant from NOAA. Laura has 10 years of experience in coastal resilience, including addressing sea level rise, energy policy and environmental restoration.  Prior to joining the Climate Collaborative, Laura worked for the California Ocean Protection Council and the State Coastal Conservancy providing coastal and ocean policy recommendations and co-managing a project to remove San Clemente Dam, the largest dam removal on the West Coast.  She has also worked for the Energy Foundation supporting transportation and energy efficiency policy across the U.S. Laura received her Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.


Can the EU be reformed? A Case Study: The Reform of Common Fisheries Policy

Ernesto Penas Lado: Director of the European Commission Fishery and Maritime Affairs

Tuesday, October 25
Room MG102


About the Topic: Eurosceptics often argue that the EU "can't be reformed" because it is too complex. Yet, the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP) in 2013 showed the contrary: a policy heavily criticized within the Union was reformed from inside to the satisfaction of its main critics. The presentation will explain how this reform was possible, what were the drivers and the challenges ahead.

About the Speaker: Mr. Ernesto Penas Lado has been the Director of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs for the European Commission since 2007. He was critical in helping conclude the negotiations for a major reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, which was adopted in May 2013. He has worked in maritime affairs, policy, analysis and research for over 30 years. He started his long career as a marine biologist at the Instituto Español de Oceanografía in Galicia, Spain. His vast and enduring experiences in the field offer a wealth of knowledge around oceanography, policy, and research.

Secure Oceans: Recommendations for the World's Largest Crime Scene

Johan Bergenäs: Director of the Partnerships in Security and Development Program at the Stimson Center

Lecture, Panel Discussion, and Reception

Tuesday, November 1

Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
499 Pierce Street, Monterey, CA 93940

6:00pm to 8:00pm


About the Event

More Information


  • 6:00-7:30pm - Lecture and Panel Discussion. Audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions via question cards.
  • 7:30-8:00pm - Attendees are invited to join the speaker and panelists for a wine and cheese reception in the atrium following the discussion.


About the Topic: The pillage of the world’s oceans represents threats to vital U.S. and global economic, environmental and security interests. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that our oceans are the world’s largest crime scene due to rampant illegal fishing, trafficking of drugs, arms, and persons, and growing conflict over fishing grounds. Roughly one billion people rely on the world’s oceans for fish as their primary source of animal protein, and an estimated 880 million people rely on it for their livelihoods. Rising economic powers such as China have seen fish consumption rates increase 6 percent annually on average  since 1990. A shortage of fish could trigger societal instability among growing populations. In short, there are conservation, geostrategic, economic and security reasons to make our oceans safer and to fight crimes on the seas. Join us for a lecture from Johan Bergenäs, Director of the Partnerships in Security and Development Program at the Stimson Center and author of “Secure Oceans,” followed by a panel discussion on innovative policy and technological solutions to amplify, accelerate and strengthen the global response to protecting our oceans. A reception with the speaker and panelists will follow the discussion.

About the Speaker: Johan Bergenas is a Senior Associate and Director of the Partnerships in Security and Development Program. One of Bergenas' current primary focus is "natural security" – the interlinkages between environmental challenges and U.S. national and global security – as well as on technology and public-private sector partnerships. His background cuts across a wide range of transnational security challenges - from WMD proliferation, terrorism and transnational organized crime.

The Louisiana 2017 Coastal Master Plan: Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Planning in the International Context

Mike Orbach: Professor of the Practice Emeritus of the Marine Affairs and Policy, Duke University

Tuesday, November 15
Room MG102


About the Speaker: Mike Orbach is Professor Emeritus of Marine Affairs and Policy in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  He has worked as Social Anthropologist and Social Science Advisor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Associate Director of the Center for Coastal Marine Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz; and Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at East Carolina University. He joined the Duke Marine Laboratory in 1993, and was Director of the Marine Laboratory from 1998 to 2006 and Director of the Coastal Environmental Management Program from 1993 to 2014. Mike has performed research and has been involved in coastal and marine policy on all coasts of the U.S. and in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Europe, Alaska and the Pacific, and has published widely on social science and policy in coastal and marine environments.  He was a formal advisor to both the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Ocean Commission, has served on the Ocean Studies Board -- and is a National Associate -- of the National Research Council, and has held numerous other appointments to Boards and Commissions both public and private. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Sea Grant College Program, the Ocean Conservancy, and is a member of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Science and Engineering Board that is overseeing the development of the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan. Since 2005 he has been involved with the Ecological Institute of Berlin in a comparison of policy responses to sea level rise in the U.S. and Northern Europe.


Navigating Our Way to Solutions for Marine Conservation

Larry Crowder: Science Director, Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Tuesday, November 29
Room MG102


About the Topic: Dr. Crowder will discuss how scientists at the Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment arrive at solutions for various marine issues.

About the Speaker: Larry Crowder is the science director at the Center for Ocean Solutions. He is also a professor of biology at Hopkins Marine Station and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, both part of Stanford University. Previously, he was the Stephen Toth Professor of Marine Biology at Duke University. Dr. Crowder's research centers on predation and food web interactions, mechanisms underlying recruitment variation in fishes, population and food web modeling in conservation biology, and interdisciplinary approaches to marine conservation He was principal investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary research projects including the South Atlantic Bight Recruitment Experiment (SABRE), OBIS SEAMAP (Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Animal Populations), and Project GLOBAL (Global Bycatch Assessment of Long-Lived Species). He has also directed and participated in a number of research, analysis, and synthesis groups at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and for the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board. His recent research has focused on marine conservation, including research on Bycatch, spatial ecological analysis, nutrients and low oxygen, sustainable seafood, ecosystem-based management, marine spatial planning, and governance. He is a AAAS Fellow and was awarded Duke University’s Scholar/Teacher of the year award in 2008-2009.

Measure AA: Accelerating Climate Adaptation and Habitat Restoration in San Francisco Bay

Mr. David Lewis: Executive Director, Save the Bay

Thursday, December 1


About the Topic: In June, voters in nine counties voted by more than 70 percent to establish a regional parcel tax to fund tidal marsh restoration in San Francisco Bay. Over the next 20 years, this tax will provide $500 million to accelerate re-establishment of wetlands that benefit endangered species, and improve flood protection for shoreline communities. More than a decade of preparation and advocacy produced and passed this unprecedented ballot measure with broad support, to boost the nation’s largest urban climate adaptation and natural resilience project.

About the Speaker: For 18 years, David has led Save The Bay, the San Francisco Bay’s largest regional organization working to make the Bay cleaner and healthier for people and wildlife. David has led campaigns to win legal protections for the Bay, accelerate thousands of acres of wetland restoration, and prevent filling of the Bay. A San Francisco Bay Area native, David previously worked in the U.S. Senate and on international nuclear arms control issues in Washington, DC. Save The Bay is the largest organization working to protect and restore San Francisco Bay since 1961. With more than 60,000 members and supporters throughout the region, Save The Bay has a long record of accomplishments to make the Bay healthier for people and wildlife.

The Problem of Plastics in the Ocean

Anna Cummins: Executive Director and Co-Founder, 5 Gyres Institute (MIIS Alumna, International Environmental Policy

Tuesday, December 6
Room MG102


About the Speaker: Anna Cummins received her undergraduate degree in History from Stanford University, and her Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies. Anna spent much of her early youth playing in Santa Monica storm drains and exploring beaches, experiences that sparked her interest in the land-sea connection. Anna has spent the last 20 years working in the environmental field, in marine conservation, coastal watershed management, bilingual outreach, and sustainability education. In 2008, Anna completed a month long, 4,000-mile research expedition studying plastic debris in the North Pacific Gyre. The journey inspired her and her husband Dr. Marcus Eriksen to co-found 5 Gyres in 2009, with a goal of communicating marine plastic pollution on a global level, and engaging communities in solutions.

The Future of Seafood Sustainability

Ryan Bigelow: Seafood Watch Program Outreach Manager, Monterey Bay Aquarium (MIIS Alumnus, International Environmental Policy)

Tuesday, December 13
Room MG102


About the Topic: Ryan Bigelow will lead a conversation about the state and direction of the sustainable seafood movement and careers in the field.

About the Speaker: Ryan Bigelow is the Program Engagement Manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. Ryan oversees all public facing aspects of the Seafood Watch program including consumer guides, the website, social media, and network of more than 180 Conservation Partner organizations. Since joining Seafood in 2010, Ryan has worked to improve the quality, transparency and accessibility of Seafood Watch’s suite of outreach tools. Ryan also leads Seafood Watch’s efforts to promote seafood sustainability to Japan and improve consumer outreach across nonprofit organizations as a member of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions. Prior to joining Seafood Watch, Ryan served for as a board member for Friends of the Sea Otter and worked extensively as a translator in Japan. He received his MA in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.