Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

The Sustainability Speaker Series is supported by a generous grant from Nancy Eccles and Homer Hayward Family Foundation.

Fall 2015 Events

The Fourth Revolution in Urban Water: Lessons for the Monterey Peninsula

David Sedlak
Malozemoff Professor in Mineral Engineering, Co-director of Berkeley Water Center, and Director of Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE), University of California, Berkeley

October 19, 2015
McGowan 100

Water challenges in California and worldwide have generated interest in new ways of supplying water. In this presentation, David Sedlak shows how urban water infrastructure systems have undergone three major revolutions over the past 2,500 years and how the fourth great revolution is now beginning. From the first Roman aqueducts, to early sewers, to futuristic “on-site” water systems, Sedlak combines history and humor with cutting edge science and technology. What will the next water revolution entail? In what ways will it transform our relationship with water? What implications does this have for Monterey and beyond?

David Sedlak is the Malozemoff Professor in Mineral Engineering, Co-director of Berkeley Water Center, and Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on developing new approaches for managing the urban water cycle. Dr. Sedlak’s award-winning book Water 4.0 examines the past, present, and future of urban water systems.

An Evening with Sylvia Earle featuring a screening of Mission Blue

Sylvia Earle Photo

Sylvia Earle
Marine Biologist, Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society, Former Chief Scientist, NOAA

October 21, 2015
Irvine Auditorium

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Watch the video for the Mission Blue trailer

She has been called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine. In short, she is a national treasure. This groundbreaking oceanographer, explorer, author, inventor and field research scientist has led more than 100 underwater expeditions, logged more than 7000 hours beneath the sea, and just recently in 2012, set a record for solo diving at 1000 meters. The Center for the Blue Economy is honored to have Dr. Sylvia Earle as a member of our Advisory Council, and to host this special evening screening her recent documentary: Mission Blue. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with Dr. Earle and other ocean leaders.

Mission Blue is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots – special places that are vital to the health of the ocean, the blue heart of our planet. They are uniting a global coalition of partners to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas. From the seamounts of the high seas to the shallow sunlit reefs, Mission Blue seeks to bring about a significant increase in ocean protection from less than three percent today to 20% by the year 2020.

Mission Blue was formed in response to Sylvia Earle’s 2009 TED Prize wish. Dr. Earle urged people “to use all means at your disposal – films, expeditions, the web, new submarines – to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.”

Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team has embarked on a series of expeditions to further this vision and shed light on these ocean Hope Spots. We also bring the discoveries and stories of a network of ocean experts to the public through documentaries, social and traditional media, and innovative tools like Google’s “Explore the Ocean” layer. Additionally, Mission Blue support the work of many conservation NGOs with whom we share the basic mission of ocean protection and public awareness. Currently, the Mission Blue coalition includes over 100 respected ocean conservation groups and like-minded organizations – from large multinational companies down to individual scientific teams doing important research.

Decades of overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean – and therefore threaten the future of humankind. We encourage all global citizens who care about our ocean to reach out and support Mission Blue in any way they can. Presently, less than three percent of the ocean is fully protected; just years ago, that number was around 1 percent. With concerted effort and passionate people, we can continue this positive trend and help create a global network of Hope Spots, the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean.

Think Beyond Plastic: Innovative Solutions to the Plastic Pollution Crisis

Daniella Russo Dimitrova

Daniella Russo Dimitrova

Founder, Think Beyond Plastic; Member of the Founders Board of Advisors at StartX Stanford University Accelerator

October 28, 2015

McGowan 102

Daniella Russo Dimitrova's approach leverages her executive management experience with NGO and for-profit businesses. She is a serial entrepreneur. Her prior experience includes executive management of businesses from start-up phase through an IPO; general management at Fortune-500 companies and mentoring and advancing entrepreneurs. Her executive background includes desktop publishing leader Frame Technology, Internet pioneer Infoseek, Sun Microsystems, Xerox PARC and many others.

Daniella Russo Dimitrova is a member of the Founders Board of Advisors at StartX, the Stanford University Accelerator. She is an adjunct professor at the Graduate Program for International Policy and Management, at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey.

Since 2009, Daniella Russo Dimtrova has led the development of an innovation eco-system to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and public health, with special focus on ocean plastic. The global strategy includes growing consumer demand; sourcing innovation; accelerating entrepreneurship; cultivating the impact investment network, and creating transformative forward-thinking public policies supporting innovation with focus on plastic pollution.

In 2007, she launched Think Beyond Plastic™, the award-winning 360 campaign associated with National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth. The campaign included a creative mix of traditional media, social media, advocacy and hands-on outreach and grew to 360,000 people, businesses and organizations working to reduce their plastic pollution footprint. In 2009, she co-founded and led Plastic Pollution Coalition, and grew it to become the world’s largest NGO dedicated uniquely to plastic pollution. In 2012, she launched the Think Beyond Plastic™ Innovation Forum, a social impact venture that harnesses innovation, entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in solutions to plastic pollution. The Think Beyond Plastic™ innovation eco-system sources innovations, accelerates businesses and cultivates the impact investment network.

Think Beyond Plastic™ is a model for addressing global sustainability problems that can be extended to food security and agriculture, clean energy, climate change and other pressing issues.

Daniella Russo Dimitrova serves on the board of numerous public and private businesses. She is a frequent speaker on innovation and entrepreneurship, and the emerging role of the social enterprise engaging business, policy and civil society in a holistic approach to the planet's global threats.

An Evening with Deborah Cramer, Author of The Narrow Edge:  A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, & An Epic Journey

Deborah Cramer Photo

Deborah Cramer
Author and Visiting Scholar, MIT Earth System Initiative

November 3, 2015
Irvine Auditorium

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In The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey, author Deborah Cramer accompanies tiny sandpipers, red knots, along their extraordinary 19,000 mile annual migration. She tracks birds on remote windswept beaches along the Strait of Magellan; bug-infested hunting preserves and gleaming oyster banks in South Carolina; and onto the icy Arctic tundra where they nest. The Narrow Edge is a firsthand account of the tenacity of life along the sea edge, and an inspiring portrait of loss, resilience and renewal, and the courage of humans. Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer-winning author of The Sixth Extinction, wrote that, “The Narrow Edge is at once an intimate portrait of the small red knot and a much larger exploration of our wondrous, imperiled world.” National Geographic Conservation Fellow Tom Lovejoy wrote that Cramer’s account is “more thrilling than the Kentucky Derby.”

Join Deborah to explore the birds’ odyssey, and her own, to the far ends of the earth, and to examine what’s at stake, for the knots, for millions of shorebirds, and for us.

Immersive Learning Program Experience at a United Nations Diplomatic Conference on Global Ocean Dumping Issues

Patrick Cotter (Adjunct Faculty, GSIPM) and IEP Students

November 16, 2015
McGowan 100

A delegation of International Environmental Policy students, from the Fall 2015 course titled “Managing International Marine Pollution,” attended a meeting of the Contracting Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on global ocean dumping issues.  The meeting was held at the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization in London, UK from October 12-16, 2015.  The students will give a panel discussion on their experiences at the meeting.

The student delegates researched specific agenda topics and developed position papers on front-line, real-world environmental issues related to ocean dumping of wastes and other matter.  The position papers were written to aid the delegation’s understanding of the complexities of global ocean dumping challenges and to provide talking points for use in discussions with delegates during meeting breaks. 

Students were afforded a unique first-hand view of how nations debate and discuss actual treaty concerns in a major plenary session dealing with actual environmental pollution problems.  The students met several of the delegates during the week of plenary sessions and were able to ask questions about environmental impacts and pollution concerns for wastes dumped at sea.

In addition, the students met with the Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in London.  The ESTH Counselor explained his duties at the Embassy and talked to the students about his career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State.  The students discussed current and past environmental issues related to the International Maritime Organization and U.S. interests in Western Europe.

Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability


Brian Richter
Chief Scientist for the Water Program at The Nature Conservancy and President of Sustainable Waters

December 2, 2015
McGowan 100

Brian Richter is Chief Scientist for the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, President of Sustainable Waters, and an author. Brian will highlight his experiences as a world leader in water science and conservation for more than 25 years, and his latest book Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability in which he tells a cohesive and complete story of water scarcity: where it is happening, what is causing it, and how it can be addressed.

Brian has consulted on more than 120 water projects worldwide. He serves as a water advisor to some of the world’s largest corporations, investment banks, and the United Nations, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions. He also teaches a course on Water Sustainability at the University of Virginia.

Brian has developed numerous scientific tools and methods to support river protection and restoration efforts, including the Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration software that is being used by water managers and scientists worldwide. Brian was featured in a BBC documentary with David Attenborough on “How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?” He has published many journal articles on ecologically sustainable water management, including a “water markets” reading required in the current Environmental Conflict Management course at MIIS.

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