Humboldt State University

Schatz Energy Research Center

Sustainable Futures Speaker Series

This interdisciplinary speaker series is intended to stimulate cross disciplinary discussion, debate, and collaboration around issues related to energy, the environment, and society. The series is sponsored by SERC and the Environment & Community Graduate Program.

You can watch most SERC-sponsored talks on SERC’s YouTube Channel, or via the direct links below. Videos of most presentations are also available to check-out from the HSU Library (index of available DVDs) or download via Humboldt Digital Scholar.

Spring 2015

* Unless otherwise noted, events are 5:30pm-7:00pm Thursdays in BSS 166 *

February 19
Arne Jacobson
“The Pico Power Revolution: Off-Grid Energy Services for Low Income People in Africa, Asia, and Beyond”

Arne Jacobson is a professor in the Environmental Resources Engineering Department and Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University. He serves as the technical lead for product quality assurance for Lighting Global, which is associated with the Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia programs. Collectively, these programs have helped enable sales of over 6 million quality assurance solar lighting systems to people in off-grid areas of Africa and Asia.

Arne has a Ph.D. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree focused on Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University, and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Earlham College. In 2010-11 he served as Senior Advisor in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at U.S. Department of Energy. Arne's areas of research and work interest include renewable energy technologies, energy access in off-grid areas, and clean energy deployment policy. Watch full presentation

February 26
Carolyn Finney
“Righteous Road: Black Faces, White Spaces & Stories of Possibility”

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D. is a writer, performer and cultural geographer. As a professor in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley, she explores how issues of difference impact participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues.

Although Carolyn pursed an acting career for eleven years, a backpacking trip around the world and living in Nepal changed the course of her life. Motivated by these experiences, she returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. Informed by her early life experiences, the aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action.

Carolyn has appeared on the Tavis Smiley show, MSNBC, NPR and has been interviewed for numerous newspapers and magazines. Along with public speaking, writing and consulting, she serves on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board that is working to assist the National Park Service in engaging in relations of reciprocity with diverse communities. Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors explores the relationship of African Americans to the environment and the environmental movement (UNC Press, 2014). For more information see

April 9
John Meyer
“Environmentalism and the Resonance Dilemma”

John M. Meyer is Professor in the Department of Politics, Environmental Studies, and Environment and Community at Humboldt State University. His new book is Engaging the Everyday: Environmental Social Criticism and the Resonance Dilemma (MIT Press, 2015). He is also co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory. Watch full presentation

April 16
Beckie Menten
“Community Choice, Community Power: An In-Depth Look at California's Emerging Model for Local Electricity Control”

Beckie Menten is the Energy Efficiency Director for Marin Clean Energy (MCE). She designs, develops, and delivers efficiency programs in the MCE service area. Beckie has an extensive background in both energy efficiency and local government, having worked at the city, county, and state level to design efficiency programs and research best practices in energy efficiency.

Prior to joining the MCE team, Beckie was most recently the Program Manager for the Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings program at the California Energy Commission. Beckie also served as the efficiency financing lead at the Energy Commission and brings considerable expertise in evaluating innovative ideas for enabling investment in energy efficiency.Prior to working with the Energy Commission, Beckie worked with the Demand Side Management group of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Beckie has a master of science degree in Environmental Systems from Humboldt State University, where her thesis research focused on development of a seven-county regional Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program on the north coast of California; she received a Switzer Fellowship for her work on the PACE program. Watch full presentation

April 30
Janet Fiskio
"Welcome to Blockadia: Poetics and Protest in Climate Activism"

Janet Fiskio is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College. Her research and teaching focus on collaborative, community-based work in food justice and climate activism. She is currently finishing a book project, Counter Friction: Poetics, Performance, and Protest in Climate Justice. Watch full presentation

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