Middlebury

MiddLab

Environmental Studies

Visit the Environmental Studies department site.

Jason Scorse discusses the theoretical underpinnings of economic thought that support very strong government intervention in the environmental realm, as well as the politics and messaging that the environmental community needs to win the major battles ahead.

People

Jason Scorse
Associate Professor and Program Chair, International Environmental Policy

Related Links

Downloads

Professor Scorse received his PhD in agricultural and resource economics from UC-Berkeley in 2005. He is currently associate professor and chair of the International Environmental Policy Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Scorse has consulted for numerous environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, and he is currently the lead non-market economist for the National Ocean Economics Program. Professor Scorse is also the director of the new Center for the Blue Economy, whose goal is to educate the next generation of leaders by making the Monterey Bay Region the premier location for graduate education and research in international marine policy.

Dr. Scorse has published articles in American Economic Review, California Management Review, and for books published by the Brookings Institution and Routledge Press. His book What Environmentalists Need to Know about Economics was released in 2010. Professor Scorse also sits on the board of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Activities Panel and the Otter Project. In addition to his scholarly work and consulting, he is a guest contributor for Grist, Environmental Economics, and Progressive Fix.

His lecture is sponsored by the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest, Program in Environmental Studies, Department of Economics, Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, and the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

A MiddLab Project

Sustainable Television 2011

In Spring 2011, nine students enrolled in FMMC 285 Sustainable Television: Producing Environmental Media, collaborating to produce a 50-minute television program on environmental issues. Watch the entire episode below, or scroll down for individual segments:

People

Related Links

Downloads

Full Episode: (expand to full screen to fully enjoy)

Selected Stories:

A group of students capture the activist energy of Power Shift 2011 in Washington, DC:

Can a group of kids teach you about the science of climate change?

A profile of Vergennes farmer Erik Andrus and his sustainable agriculture and energy strategies:

Where does food in Middlebury dining halls come from?

Emeritus Professor John Elder reflects on his relationship to nature and place through the words of poets:

What happens when the oil party comes to an end?

Learn how two Vermont business people installing solar panels changes their environmental impact:

How do small choices you make everyday impact your carbon footprint?

A student takes a challenge to go vegetarian for a month to learn about the environmental impact of dietary choices:

Middlebury College President Ron Liebowitz proposes some sweeping changes to reach carbon neutrality:

 

A MiddLab Project

Arsenic Contamination in Vermont’s Private Wells

Learn more about Environmental Studies at Middlebury College.

The Environmental Studies Senior Seminar (ENVS 401) is the capstone course for the Environmental Studies major. The goal of this course is to bring seniors from the various foci within the Environmental Studies major together to examine a specific topic in depth from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course follows a service-learning teaching model, which combines collaborative work with a community organization, scholarly reading, classroom discussions, and reflective writing. Topics of ENVS 401 vary from semester to semester, but focus on issues with relevance to the local region as well as the global environment. Our theme for this semester was “The Groundwater Resource: Global Concerns, Local Perspectives.”

The class split into three groups: the survey group, partnering with the Vermont Department of Health; the spatial group, partnering with the Vermont Geological Survey; and the policy group, partnering with State Senator Virginia Lyons. The goal of the survey group was to evaluate the public’s knowledge of their well water and testing recommendations in a study area in Rutland County. The goal of the spatial group was to investigate the incidence of high arsenic well test results and the relationship between bedrock and high arsenic to locate areas of concern in Vermont. The goal of the policy group was to provide our community partner with information pertinent to advancing the policy discussion regarding private well testing regulations in Vermont. We used our research to create a policy framework that the legislature worked off of in the 2010-2011 legislative season.

People

As Levels in Groundwater Wells from Southwestern Vermont

Related Links

Downloads

Pier LaFarge ‘11 offers policy recommendations to the Vermont Senate's committee on natural resources and energy in Montpelier on Feb. 9.

Project Timeline

Sept.-Dec. 2010
Class research culminating in final report and presentation.
February 7, 2011
Testify before the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee in support of their policy proposal
March 18, 2011
Policy unanimously passes the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is referred to the full Senate
April 6, 2011
Policy passes the full Senate and is referred to the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources
April 14, 2011
Testify by phone for the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources
April 29, 2011
Policy unanimously passes the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources and is referred to the full House
May 3, 2011
Policy passes House with an amendment that sends it back to the Senate
May 4, 2011
Senate concurs with amendment
May 5, 2011
Bill passes both Senate and House and is awaiting signature by the Governor
May 26, 2011
Governor Shumlin vetoes the bill.
Intensive herbivory by white-tailed deer has plagued Valley Forge National Historical Park’s forests since the early 1980s. A deer management plan was enacted to reduce the size of the herd by at least 1000 deer over the next two years. The goal of my research was to model the impacts of changing levels of deer herbivory on the forests. I developed a forest model using data from a large deer exclosure erected in the park in the late 1980s. I am using the model to simulate how changes in herbivory and disturbance may affect forest composition over the next 120 years. My results suggest that changes in herbivory may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for restoring forests to their historical state. The finished model will serve as a tool for the park’s resource managers to use in developing long-term restoration plans.

People

Meghan Blumstein
Researcher

Andrea Lloyd
Sponsor & Professor of Biology

Related Links

Downloads

The Indo-US 123 agreement will allow nuclear energy to become a vital part in India’s domestic energy supply. Nuclear energy could provide India 35% of its energy supply by 2050, reducing its CO2 emissions. It will substitute for the energy baseline which has been fossil-fuel based until now. India is the third highest CO2 emitter globally and the role of nuclear energy as a baseline will be vital to CO2 emission reduction goals. Foreign involvement in the Indian nuclear sector will aid the development of India’s three-stage programme, which will help to sustain its growing energy demand. In addition to providing an alternate baseline to coal, nuclear energy will increase domestic self-sustainability and reduce dependence on fossil fuels in a cost-effective manner. As a combination of multiple efforts, domestic, bi-lateral and international, the nuclear energy transition will assume an important role in India and this represents successful global environmental policy.

People

Siddheshwar Singh
Researcher

Jon Isham
Sponsor & Associate Professor of Economics

Related Links

Downloads

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). “CANDU Reactors.”

Bagchi, Indrani. The Times of India. “N-deal: Getting NSG nod may not be easy.” August 2008.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). “Bhabha Atomic Research Centre: Founder: Heritage.”

Central Electricity Authority (CEA). “Government of India: Ministry of Power: Central Electricity Authority.”

Chanana, Dweep. “The Indo-US Nuclear Deal: A Post-Henry Hyde Act Analysis.” The Discomfort Zone. Planetd. 18 December 2006.

CNN-IBN. “The Big Story: NSG clears nuclear waiver for India.” September 2008.

Colors of India. “First Nuclear Power Plant in India.”

Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). “Atomic Energy Establishments in India.” DAE.

Godsberg, Alicia. Federation of American Scientists. “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [NPT].”

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR). “Government of India: Department of Atomic Energy: Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research.” October 2010.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “Stakeholder Involvement in Nuclear Issues.” September 2006.

International Monetary Fund (IMF). “SDRs per Currency unit and Currency units per SDR last five days.” October 2010.

Kiran. “Greenpeace’s India 2050 Energy Scenario.” The Indic View. Blogspot, 10 April 2007.

Lomax, Simon. Bloomberg. “India Coal Imports May Rise to 100 Million Tons on Power Demand.” May 2010.

McDermott, Matthew. Treehugger. “India’s Draft Solar Power Plan Sees 200,000 MW Installed By 2050.” June 2009.

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Government of India. “India: Taking On Climate Change – Post-Copenhagen Domestic Actions.” 30 June 2010.

Neuhof, Florian. Utilities-me. “Lighting up India.” August 2010.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited: A Government of India Enterprise.” October 2010.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “Plants Under Operation.” September 2010.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “Projects Under Construction.”

Nuclear Weapon Archive (NWA). “India’s Nuclear Weapons Program – Smiling Buddha: 1974.”

Page, Jeremy. The Times. “India promises 12,000% boost in nuclear capacity by 2050.” September 2009.

Press Trust of India (PTI). The Hindu. “N-deal: India says reprocessing talks will take time.” November 2009.

PRS Legislative Research (PRS). “Bill Summary: The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010.” May 2010.

Rajesh, Y.P. Indian Express. “Nuclear deal crucial to meet India’s energy needs: Kakodkar.” July 2010.

Science Daily. “Climate Change: Halving Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Could Stabilize Global Warming.” May 2009.

United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). “Millennium Development Goals Indicators.” June 2010.

World Nuclear Association (WNA). “Nuclear Power in France.” October 2010.

World Nuclear Association (WNA). “Nuclear Power Reactors.” October 2009.

Yahoo! Finance, India. “Indian Rupee to U.S. Dollar Exchange Rate.” October 2010.

A MiddLab Project

Monitoring Carbon Uptake on College Lands

Learn more about Biology and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College.

Middlebury College has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2016. As the largest private landowner in Addison County, there is tremendous potential for land management practices to contribute to the goal of carbon neutrality. As part of an effort to understand how carbon sequestration varies among the different forest types on College-owned lands, we monitored carbon uptake in the Battell Research Forest, an old-growth hemlock forest in East Middleury, VT. As expected for an old-growth forest, the Battell Research Forest contains substantial pools of carbon in live and dead biomass. The size of the woody debris pool was substantially larger at the Battell Research Forest than in secondary forests at Breadloaf. We conclude our presentation with a proposal for how to implement an ongoing carbon monitoring protocol on College-owned forest lands.

People

Related Links

Downloads

Team Middlebury College has earned the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, a competition which challenges students from around the world to design and build 100% solar-powered homes. In September 2011, our student-led team will be one of 20 finalists to erect a complete, fully-functioning, net zero-energy home on the National Mall in Washington D.C., facing competitors like Team China and Team California. The competition is a chance for our team to redefine the future of residential energy use and home design, and to educate large audiences about sustainable living. It is also an opportunity for students studying different disciplines to come together, work as a team, and gain real life experience that will prove invaluable when entering the job market. Currently, our team is comprised of more than 80 students from 20 different majors. We tackle challenges from how to use computer modeling to optimize a home’s energy system to how to educate the Middlebury community about green building. At the end of March, we began constructing our vision of the New England farmhouse, Self-Reliance, which is designed for a Vermont family of four. It features a green wall and ample public living space, as well as locally sources, environmentally friendly materials.

People

Spring Symposium Presenters

Benjamin Brown
Chester Curme
Astrid Schanz-Garbassi

Melissa Segil
Presenters

Faculty Advisors

Andrea Murray
Architecture Faculty Advisor & Visiting Lecturer in Architecture, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Ashar Nelson
Construction Faculty Advisor & Visiting Asst. Professor of Architecture

Related Links

Downloads

Solar Decathlon Project Team

Students

RJ Adler, MEP Team
Benjamin Brown, Project Safety
Jesse Catalano, Graphic Design Lead
Alex Colucci, Interiors Team
Gwendolyn Cook, Interiors Team Lead
Carson Cornbrooks, Construction Team
Charlie Cotton, Site and Architecture Design Lead
Hilary Cunningham, Design Coordinator
Chester Curme, Student Engineering Lead
Evan Deutsch, Construction Team
John Dinning, Design Team
John Diebold, Scheduling Team
Peter DiPrinzio, Foundations Fundraising Lead
Emma Drucker, Communications
Mark Esposito, Materials Research Team
Erik Fendik, Revit Lead and Fire Watch Captain
Melake Getabecha, PV/Electrical Team
Addison Godine, Student Project Lead
Hilary Hall, Communications Team
Christine Hsieh, Schematic Designs
Alex Jopek, Construction Lead
Aaron Kelly, Electrical Lead
Jack Kerby-Miller, REVIT Team
James Knelman, Construction Skills Team
Wyatt Komarin, Architecture Co-Lead
Yen Le, Cost Estimation Co-Lead
Yangli Lenard Lim, Cost Estimation Lead
Afsana Liza, Logistics Team
Gillian Lui, Education Outreach
Bente Madson, Construction Team

Jake Manoukian, Construction & Security
Onelissa Martinez, Scheduling Team
Stanis Moody-Roberts, Architecture Team
Hannah Orcutt, Alumni & Parent Relations
John Portman, Interiors Team
Amanda Powers, Construction Team
Danny Powers, Logistics
Mathew Rojas, Landscape Team
Jay Saper, Creative Writing & Expression Lead
Astrid Schanz-Garbassi, Communications
Shane Scranton, Revit Lead
Melissa Segil, Team Manager
Camille Seyler, Education Lead
Ben Silton, PV/Electrical Team
Sarah Simonds, Landscape Design Team Lead
Martin Sweeney, Student Controller/Budget Manager
Chelsea Ward-Waller, Landscaping Team
Harrison Watkins, Scheduling Team
Ben Wessel, Policy & Activism
Daisy Zhuo, Energy Modeling Lead 

 

Faculty, Staff & Community Members

Abe Bendheim, Architecture Co-Lead and Construction Documentation Lead
Andrea Kerz-Murray, Lead Architecture Faculty Advisor
Ashar Nelson, Lead Construction Faculty Advisor
Lindsay Selin, Videographer
Sarah Franco, Special Projects Coordinator for the Vice President for Administration
Karen Maxon, Revit Maven

In a January 2011 Winter Term Class, “Twenty-First Century Global Challenges,”  21 Middlebury students studied great challenges of our time – including wide-scale poverty, climate change, and the struggle for human rights. They then analyzed how social entrepreneurs – individuals and groups who are developing new ways to attack systematic problems – are taking on these challenges.  For example, Nina Cameron ’12 studied how the Global Network is trying to reduce the prevalence of neglected tropical diseases; Erin Kelly ’13 studied how the University of the Peopleis providing tuition-free higher-education throughout the developing world.  The students also spend much of the course developing a vision for a new center for social entrepreneurship based at Middlebury College.  On this MiddLab, we report the ongoing results of this work.

People

Jonathan Isham, Jr.
Professor of Economics

Wahid Ahmed
Catherine Brown
Nina Cameron
Brian Clow
Thomas Crocker
Matthew Engel
Stuart Fram
Allison Grant
Mark Hannah
Paul Hildebrand
Aaron Kelly
Claire McIlvennie
Olivia Noble
Bradley Osborn
Devin Perkins
Hilary Platt
Jeronimo Riefkohl
Martin Sweeney
Rhidaya Trivedi
Kenneth Williams
Nicole Williams

The Ripple Effect in India

Related Links

Downloads

Terrestrial ecosystems play an integral role in the global carbon balance, potentially functioning as carbon sinks that fluctuate through time and seasonal changes. The net ecosystem exchange of these ecosystems has been heavily studied at the Harvard Forest Environmental Measurements Site (HFEMS) and has shown an increase in carbon sequestration over the past two decades. My study was conducted to analyze various impacts of the ice storm tat struck New England in December 2008 with respect to the forest carbon flux.

People

Lauren Sanchez
Researcher
Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies
Professor of Biology

Related Links

Downloads

A high mortality of seeds and seedlings has been documented in areas of high conspecific adult density as a result of increased predation and disease. Although this phenomenon has received significant attention in the scientific literature, the long-term evolutionary and ecological impact of density-dependent seedling mortality remains poorly understood. The purpose of the present study is to determine the population-level impact of density-dependent seedling mortality on heavily exploited big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla).

People

Chris Free
Researcher

Matt Landis
Faculty Sponsor

Related Links

Downloads

Sites DOT Middlebury: the Middlebury site network.