Earth Talks 2021

Earth Talks 2021: Unifying for Climate

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Earth Talks, a virtual showcase of short, 5-minute presentations by SU faculty, students, staff, and community partners. The theme was Unifying for Climate--Climate Solutions for a Just World. The event was held across 2 sessions on Earth Day, April 22, 2021 with a diverse array of topics including research, service, community projects, artwork as well as a Q&A session with keynote speakers JAMIE MARGOLIN and DONNA MOODIE.

Earth Talks NEWS



Earth Talks Schedule

MORNING SESSION, 11:00am-12:30pm

AFTERNOON SESSION, 2:00pm-3:30pm



Earth Talks Speakers and Presentations

Jamie Margolin- Keynote Speaker

Jamie Margolin is a 19-year-old Jewish Colombian-American organizer, activist, author, public speaker, and Film & TV student at NYU. She is the co-founder of the international youth climate justice movement Zero Hour. Read more of Jamie's bio here.

Earth Talk presentation: Getting to the Roots of the Green New Deal

The Earth’s global temperature is expected to rise 4° Celsius by 2100 if drastic worldwide changes are not made immediately. This will inevitably and irreversibly alter every aspect of life on Earth. How will our seasons and societal systems change? The Green New deal is a resolution seeking to address climate change through a just transition to renewable energy sources. Jamie will present a vision for the future that is focused on structural change to our entire economic and energy system and addressing socioeconomic inequality.


Donna Moodie - Keynote Speaker

Donna Moodie is the Executive Director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict & Executive Vice President of Community Development at Community Roots Housing. Read more of Donna's bio here.

Earth Talk presentation: Everyday Environmentalism

The average person can be a champion for the movement against the Climate Crisis; Donna believes that activists do not have to belong to a certain class, socio-economic or educational background.  She emphasizes that welcoming people to the movement who are just beginning to understand what their role is is incredibly valuable. Donna will highlight acts of preservation, conservation, the economy, and resilience and hopes to share the story of a few contributors. It's a people's movement and we can ignite growth.

Erika Moore is from Eastern Washington and is a junior double majoring in Philosophy and Environmental Studies. She currently serves as the Student Body President here at Seattle U as well as the president of the Seattle University Green Team.


My Mind on my Money, my Money on my Mind: Reframing the Wealth Prerogative

American materialism is now the yardstick by which the burgeoning middle classes of Asia, Africa, and South America measure success. Unbridled corporatism has addicted the globe to fast food, 'dream" kitchens, and SUVs. The Internet glorifies the extravagant "blingy" lifestyles of millionaire influencers, trash fashion, and debating complex issues by Twitter. Young college graduates across American cities enviously regard both countless suburban mini-mansions and modest inner-city homes priced beyond reach by tech gentry. Technology innovators brag about building "Boomer removers" that replace skilled workers with AI. A runaway fascination with massive wealth is juxtaposed against 100-year storms arriving annually as the ice caps melt, global temperatures rise, and mass extinction accelerates. How can we reframe the concept of wealth to raise the quality of life for young people and to save our only home? Unpacking this question and posing concepts and options for action is the purpose of my talk.

Rosalund (Roz) Jenkins applies experience in public policy, performance management, and workforce development to her latest role as Economic Inclusion Manager for Emerald Cities Seattle, since January 2018. Jenkins designs workforce programs, crafts fundraising strategies, and builds partnerships to advance equity in the clean energy transition – especially around worker training, supplier inclusion, and anchor institution engagement. Jenkins’ portfolio spans the non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors. Her contributions include: partnering with diverse advocates to help draft, pass, and enact Washington State’s first charter school law; building social media platforms to support training and business development for WMBE firms; organizing community leaders and families to research, draft, and pass legislation benefitting Black and Brown public school students; and, championing statewide quality/performance initiatives for workforce services, revenue collection, and community engagement – ultimately winning the Governor’s Distinguished Management Leadership Award. 

Climate, Community and Public Participation

Too often, members of the public are offered only two options to address issues of climate change: 1) engage in electoral politics and vote for candidates that support green legislation or 2) make changes in your own daily consumption habits. In this short talk, Professor Crowe discusses the possibilities for alternative modes of public engagement related to climate that help us bridge the gaps between individual choices and legislation. As we live through this time of isolation and quarantine, many of these options allow us to come together safely (often virtually) to advocate for our communities and environment in effective and meaningful ways.

Dr. Julie Homchick Crowe is an Assistant Professor at Seattle University in the Communication and Media Department. Broadly, her research seeks to better understand science denialism arguments through a critical framework, particularly in the areas of biology and health.

Engage: The Ecoliteracy App

Marguerite Pilon will present an app she designed that would strive to help mitigate environmental fatigue and help people engage in meaningful environmental action. To unify for climate change, people need an easily accessible way to educate, stay up to date, and interact with environmental issues when these issues are often convoluted, information is endless, and news cycles through quickly in order to feel empowered to create meaningful and transformative change. Additionally, gaps exist between emerging research, public knowledge, and political action. This app would provide access to top resources on environmental issues that could be explored through different categories (i.e. policy, history, grassroots, news), intersections between issues, and community education. It provides a way for people to educate and unify by thoughtfully navigating these issues.

Marguerite Pilon is an artist, designer, and environmentalist currently studying Design at Seattle University with a minor in Environmental Studies. At the core, she wants her art to be a tool in exploring topics of ecology, conservation, sustainability, and environmental justice. Marguerite believes in the power of art and design to educate and inspire change, as well as a way to foster and explore a deeper connection to both the human and non-human worlds.

Improving Campus Sustainability with "RenewSU"

With the goal of reaching zero waste by 2025, a group of computer science students teamed up with the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) and SU's Facilities Department to create a platform, called RenewSU, that would further advance sustainable practices on campus. Seattle University community members do not currently have a platform for getting unwanted items into the hands of others who can use them. The goal of this project is to build a website accessible on both desktop and mobile where students and employees can easily post and request unwanted items for free, from textbooks to furniture to office supplies. The project aims to address the specific issue of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to a 2015 study, “use of household goods and services was responsible for 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions” (Cho, 2020). By encouraging the circulation of items on campus, RenewSU seeks to conserve resources, build community, and achieve Seattle University’s zero waste goals.

Carolina Angelica (she/her) is an international student from Indonesia pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. Her interests consist of photography, music, and sometimes pixel art. She is a believer that individual contributions are critical in making a permanent change to the environment.

Ajer Lodhi (he/him) is an international student at Seattle University studying computer science. He originally comes from Pakistan and has traveled to many places around the world including the U.K and France. His interests include digital art, running, and programming.

Yinying Liang (she/her) is an international student from Guangzhou China who is pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science degree at Seattle University. She is also an undergraduate research assistant who is working on the Carnivore Spotter Project.

Anais Barja (she/her) is currently pursuing a Computer Science degree with Minors in Entrepreneurship and Data Science. In her free time, she enjoys listening to meme music and playing retro games. To learn more about her, visit her personal website at

Green Roofs at Seattle University

This talk will present the challenges and opportunities of green roofs as a climate solution for Seattle University. Zak Smith will share the information he gathered as an intern with SU Grounds. The presentation will include a brief history and background on the types of green roofs, explain the background of the Bannan Green Roof specifically with its strengths and places for improvement, and conclude with reasons why we need to update and maintain green roofs as an important climate solution on campus.

Zak Smith is a second-year Urban Sustainability major and a Seattle native. He recently interned with SU Groundskeeping. He believes in addressing societal issues through challenging the fundamentals cities are made on and through partnerships with communities.

Climate Change and the Insect Apocalypse

The insect apocalypse has garnered global headlines over the past few years. Multiple studies have demonstrated an alarming decline in the numbers of a variety of insects, from butterflies to beetles to bees. Unsurprisingly it's happening in the Pacific Northwest too. This talk will discuss two insects, the island marble butterfly, Euchloe ausonides, and the western bumblebee, Bombus occidentalis, found in the Pacific Northwest that are either listed as an endangered species or being considered for the endangered species list. Climate change is one of the three main stressors on insects today. But, the effects of climate change on insects are multi-faceted. Some species may increase in numbers. The overall effect, though, may even exceed human-generated changes in land use and habitat loss. These are the tiny beings that make the world go 'round and their loss would be catastrophic to global ecosystems.

John Hainze is an entomologist and ethicist. He is an affiliate at the Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability, an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University, and vice president of science and research at Thermacell Repellents, Inc.

Improving Climate Resiliency for People and Wildlife in Capitol Hill

Climate change has the potential to alter everything about a given habitat: the flow of water and nutrients, the quality and complexity of vegetation, the timing of resource availability, and the assemblage of species that can thrive within it. Urban habitats may be a little different. Since they can be intensively managed and monitored by humans, urban habitats may be able to offer a stable supply of abundant, year-round resources for some species. Improving urban habitats also offers a chance to build community, and improve food security and neighborhood connectivity for people. In this presentation from the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict and Seattle Audubon, you’ll learn how you can get involved in Capitol Hill Connections, a project that seeks to enhance urban habitat, reduce hazards, and improve climate resiliency for people, birds, and pollinators in one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Seattle.

Erin Fried (she/her), EcoDistrict Program Manager, is an urban planner with a background in environmental policy, diplomacy, and restorative justice. She leads the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict’s public life work and staffs the Capitol Hill Arts District. Originally from Baltimore, she lived in Capitol Hill for ten years and still enjoys meeting friends and colleagues in its many parks, sidewalks, and passageways.

Joshua Morris (he/him) is the Urban Conservation Manager at Seattle Audubon. Josh supports the organization’s mission to advocate and organize for cities where people and birds thrive by working with partners and individuals to reduce urban hazards to wildlife and to protect and enhance urban habitats.

Off-grid Solar System for an Urban Greenhouse at YES Farm

Our Senior Design team of Electrical Engineering students is working with the Black Farmers Collective to design an off-grid power system to supply electricity to one of their greenhouses situated in YES Farm, an urban community farm situated next to the I5 freeway. The team will describe the project and proposed solutions for YES Farm.

Nabin Kc was born in Bardiya, Nepal. He studied at his high school in Kathmandu, Nepal and traveled to Seattle for further studies, and is a first-generation student in USA. Nabin speaks three different languages: Nepali, Hindi, and English. Nabin is a senior electrical engineering student at Seattle University. He is a part of ECE Ambassadors. He is passionate about electrical renewable energy systems, their operations, and distributions. His hobbies include playing soccer and hiking.

Ian Paulo Santiago is currently a senior electrical engineering student at Seattle University and is from Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. The only child of Filipino immigrants, Ian is a first-generation college student who seeks to learn and grow as an individual, and to find various ways to make a difference in his community. His engineering interests include power engineering, medical technology, and anything that has to do with aviation and aerospace. When he’s not busy studying, he can be found listening to music, singing and making covers of his favorite artists, and playing video games on the latest video game consoles.

Christiana Tembo was born in Kinshasa but spent most of her childhood in the small village of Muanda in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She came to the United States in 2016 and considers herself a first-generation student. Christiana speaks three different languages: French, Lingala, and English. Christiana is a senior electrical engineering student at Seattle University. She is also the president of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at Seattle University. She has always been passionate about generating electricity while being respectful of the environment. Her hobbies include reading and watching soccer.

Yen Tran was born in a small town in Vietnam. She went to the United States five years ago to pursue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. She is the first generation going to college. One interesting fact is that she has a background in International Law back in Vietnam and switched to the engineering field after coming to the United States. She speaks Vietnamese and English. She has worked at the Seattle University ITS department since 2019. She has a passion for computer hardware techniques, applied computing applications, virtual reality for memory loss, and computer network security. She loves hiking and playing board games with friends.

When Will the Earth Be Too Hot for Humans

An original narrated, stop motion animation interpretation based on David Wallace-Wells' "The Uninhabitable Earth", specifically an article "When Will Climate Change Make the Earth too Hot for Humans?". The project focuses on the anthropocentric impacts of the climate crisis to shift the narrative away from nature to show the audience that the survival of the human species is at stake.

Gabby Farrer is a junior at Santa Clara University studying Environmental Studies and getting minors in sustainability, studio art, and Spanish. She is originally from Malibu, CA, and has lived in California her whole life.

COVID19 Shutdown Effects on Climate Change – Not so Cool

The COVID19 related shutdown of industrial production, trade and traffic worldwide gave us astonishing pictures of blue skies and clear vistas. One might imagine a post global warming world will look like this. But, as with everything related to climate change, the problem is more complicated. Indeed, reduced fossil fuel burning lead to observable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during the shutdown, and it also lead to reductions of aerosols in the atmosphere. Aerosols are the particulate matter observable as air pollution. In the climate system, aerosols serve as cooling agents by reflecting sunlight back to space and as cloud makers by changing the cloud droplet sizes. Overall, without aerosols rainfall would be different and our world would be a half a degree warmer due to the unmasking of the full extent of global warming. Because of COVID19 shutdowns, scientists now have a view of this “undimmed” world of climate change and are busy studying the implications.

Beate Liepert is a lecturer in the department of civil and environmental engineering at SeattleU. She has been working as a climate scientist since the 1990s at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory in New York City, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, and at Northwest Research Associates in Redmond WA. She is the author of over 50 research articles and was contributing author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Her work is portrayed in the BBC documentary “Dimming the Sun”. Beate received her PhD in meteorology from the department of physics of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.

Trains of Thought: The Future of American Transportation

This Earth Talk will focus on the data science behind public transportation, beginning with the research findings of the World Health Organization regarding deaths caused by car collisions, pollution and heart disease followed by a comparison of various transit forms' energy efficiency. These figures will be followed by the non-numerical aspects of transit compared to cars such as ride quality, city design, and community-mindedness, focusing on how car-centric societies take up vital living space and put us further apart. Finally, the presentation will focus on what the audience can do. On top of encouraging better transit usage, Nick will cover the upcoming transit projects around the state and how we can advocate for them.

Nick Chang is a senior at SU. Growing up in Hawaii, he has always had a passion for sustainability and conservation. As a sci-fi writer with a published book, he is also interested in how technological and social progress will aid the world in becoming more environmentally responsible.

Role of Social Capital in Adaptation to Climate Change

This talk will focus on the role of social capital in smallholder farmer adaption to climate change. Social ties and networks are an important part of any community for a variety of reasons. Understanding how these relationships influence adaptation decisions can provide key insights of how these communities combat the negative impacts of climate change. Such research is also important in guiding government policies and NGO interventions that bolster social capital within the communities they work.

Alex Chapman is a senior in the Environmental Studies major. Beginning at the University of Oregon as a freshman and making his way through UC Davis, in California, Alex transferred to SU last year. Through his interdisciplinary college career, Alex has found a passion for the environment, which he believes is deeply intertwined with people. Alex has done a lot of work in the food sector, promoting sustainable agriculture and advocating for equitable food access.

Floating Villages, Migrating Fish, and Dams: Evaluating the Ecological Impact of Hydropower in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian nations such as Laos and Cambodia are banking on hydropower for their energy needs, constructing large dams throughout the lower Mekong River basin. These dams have been presented as “green” options to satisfy a rapidly growing regional demand for power. Unfortunately, the true ecological and economic costs associated with these dams have typically been underrepresented. Thomas Pool will present a snapshot of his research studying the freshwater fishes of Cambodia, work that is designed to better understand how dams may impact the stability of the aquatic food webs in this region. He will also present the work with local Cambodian communities to both share findings and integrate interests into future research.

Thomas Pool is an instructor in Biology at Seattle University. He is a community ecologist interested in freshwater and marine food web interactions. More specifically, Thomas studies how human use of water resources and watershed landscapes influences the stability of aquatic communities. He uses a combination of empirical methods and field surveys to conduct research and in recent years, has increasingly collaborated with an interdisciplinary team of individuals to develop aquatic resource management solutions.

Teaching about Climate Change

In her Earth Talk, Megan Vismara Benavides presents on the benefits of engaging middle-grade students in climate action. This is the age, in general, where students start thinking outside of their direct community and about the world as a whole. This is the prime opportunity to engage the next generation of climate activists. Megan will also share her personal experience and service project with students as a middle school teacher.

Meghan Vismara Benavides attended Saint Mary's College of Notre Dame in Indiana for her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, with minors in Spanish and Italian. After college, she went to Alexandria, Virginia, to teach middle school science. She has taught in the public school system for seven years, teaching 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades in and around Washington DC. She received her master's degree from Virginia Tech in Spanish Linguistics and Literature with a thesis on code-switching. She has written over three textbooks worth of material for students from 3rd-7th grade and sold thousands of products with her business "Learning is not Quiet." 

“Mapping the Digital Divide and Ecological Crises: The Case of the Apple iPhone”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has made all too clear, the digital divide remains a serious obstacle for disadvantaged communities accessing goods and services. While this divide has received renewed attention in the last year, absent from this conversation is the link between the digital divide and ecological concerns. Certainly, this link is by no means obvious. But, as I will demonstrate in this talk, when we map the material resources and labor that go into our digital technology, it becomes clear that the digital divide and ecological crises are ineluctably bound together. After illustrating how students are using the online platform Padlet to map the iPhone, our case study in DICE 3910: Digital Cultures and Ecology (spring 2021), I will conclude by further elucidating this connection between the digital divide and ecology, or what I am calling the “global ecodigital divide.”

Dr. Aaron Ottinger (he/him) is an Instructor in the Department of Digital Technology and Cultures at Seattle University. He focuses on the intersection between digital technology, social justice, and the environment. He also researches and writes on the historical connections between literature, math, media, and the mind. He has a forthcoming publication on “Mapping the Global Ecodigital Divide: A Collaborative Exercise for Online Classrooms” in Interdisciplinary Digital Engagement in the Arts & Humanities (summer 2021). Other recent articles and book chapters have appeared in The Palgrave Handbook of Literature and Mathematics (2021), Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons (2020), and Romanticism and Speculative Realism (Bloomsbury 2019). He is currently at work on a book project entitled, “Astral Romanticism: Poetics, Mathematics, Media, and Realism.”

University Endowments Investing for a Better Future

The nation’s higher education endowments have immense economic and social power, representing more than 600 billion dollars. In the past few years, there has been a surge in interest around how endowment investment practices can be better aligned with institutional mission and purpose, including investing in local communities, addressing climate change, and reducing racial disparities. This presentation will explore why higher education endowments should invest in people and the planet, how colleges and universities have approached sustainable investing, and what stakeholders can do right now to mobilize endowment action.

Kaede Kawauchi is a Program Manager at the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN). She focuses on developing strategies, industry relationships and resources to grow and manage the network, with a particular focus on programs related to diversity, shareholder engagement, and community investing. She also handles the network's impact analysis. Prior to IEN, Kaede worked at the Japan Center for International Exchange, a policy institute in New York, where she managed a disaster recovery fund to invest in Japanese social enterprises and organized educational programs for business executives, parliamentarians, journalists, and NGO leaders. Kaede has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in International Relations and a M.A. from the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy with a focus on Business for Social Impact and Development Economics. At the Fletcher School, she led a 70-member impact investing group which provided pro-bono advisory services for promising social enterprises.

Shifting From Coca Cola to Just and Humane Food and Beverage Procurement

For the past two years, Sustainable Student Action (an environmental justice student club at Seattle University) has been interested in how consumption at SU can become more sustainable. They specifically focused on researching SU’s contract with Coca Cola, a company that is both environmentally and morally abhorrent. Coca Cola has illegally polluted water supplies, been repeatedly sued by labor rights funds, and is alleged to be responsible for the deaths of multiple union leaders in its Latin American facilities. Coca Cola goods are sold in most of the vending machines on campus and at the dining facilities. In this Earth Talk, SSA members will educate on the history of Coca Cola and its practices, and propose solutions for SU’s procurement, such as increasing the amount of local and diverse suppliers that provide food and beverage to campus.

Keira Cruickshank (she/her) is a third-year student studying sociology and creative writing. She has been a member of Sustainable Student Action since her freshman year and is also involved with the Gender Justice Center and Inigo Productions. On the weekends, Keira enjoys going to Yes Farm with Faith!

Faith Chamberlain (she/her/hers) is a third-year Seattle University student studying biology and psychology who has been involved in Sustainable Student Action since her first-year. On campus, she is involved in several other student organizations and is a Resident Assistant for Housing and Residence Life

KiloWatts for Humanity

Access to clean and affordable energy is a cornerstone of human development.  However, approximately 800 million people worldwide lack access to the electricity grid. This form of energy poverty disproportionately afflicts those living in less economically developed countries, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. This talk describes how small “off grid” solar powered systems can bring transformative electricity to underserved communities in rural communities, and the work that a Seattle-area non-profit organization KiloWatts for Humanity has done in Zambia to end energy poverty.

Dr. Henry Louie received is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University. In 2015 Dr. Louie was Fulbright Scholar to Copperbelt University in Kitwe, Zambia. He is the President and Co-founder of KiloWatts for Humanity, a non-profit organization providing off-grid electricity access and business opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Louie is an Associate Editor for Energy for Sustainable Development and is a founding member of the IEEE PES Working Group on Sustainable Energy Systems for Developing Communities. Dr. Louie is recognized as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for his expertise on energy poverty. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and was a registered professional engineer in Zambia.