Earth Talks 2023


Care for our Common Home

For in-person attendance: event takes place on SeattleU campus, STCN#160
For online attendance: event will be accessible on ZOOM here


Welcome to the 4th edition of Earth Talks, Seattle University’s annual showcase of 5-minute sustainability-focused presentations by students, staff, faculty, and community partners. This year’s keynote speaker will be Patience Malaba, SU alumni ('21) and Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium, 2020 Bullitt Foundation Environmental Fellowship awardee, and named as one of the 2023 Puget Sound Business Journal’s top “40 Under 40.” The event’s theme is Care for our Common Home, and it will be held on Friday, April 21, 2023 at 12:00PM-1:45PM on campus at the Le Roux Room (STCN#160).

Doors will open at 11:30AM and light lunch will be served.

All speakers will attend in person, but audience members can attend virtually by ZOOM (Zoom Link will be made available on this webpage closer to the event date).

Earth Talks is hosted by the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS), and co-sponsored by the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture (ICTC) and the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement (CEIE).



The Earth Talks 2023 Sponsors logo


EARTH TALKS 2023 - Schedule

12:00 PM - 1:45 PM: MAIN SESSION

Care for our Common Home: Home is where it starts

The dire perils facing the planet mean that the fuse is short and burning; and we must be resolved to make a difference. As we are now going into the third year that the IPCC estimated as of 2020, that “we have seven years before we reach a tipping point where we cannot reverse the damage we have done to the earth", bolder action is needed. Without a far-reaching response, a changing climate will undermine the conditions that have allowed us to thrive on our planet. To tackle this crisis at the nexus of the affordable housing and racial equity crisis, we need to make fundamental changes to our planning, shift how we create sustainable built environments, and invest resources to advance social justice. The tools we need to take action are in our hands.

Headshot image of Patience Malaba, Earth Talks 2023 Keynote Speaker

Patience Malaba is the Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium. She oversees the 200-membership association which is a nationally acclaimed and diverse network of major housing developers, financial institutions, architects, building contractors, attorneys, accountants, service providers, local housing authorities, and government agencies and businesses committed to producing, preserving, and increasing equitable access to affordable homes in King County.
Patience is named as one of the 2023 Puget Sound Business Journal’s top “40 Under 40” and was the 2020 Bullitt Foundation Environmental award winner for her leadership in addressing the intersecting crises of affordable housing, racial equity, and climate change. A champion of climate justice, Patience grew up in and received her first college degree in, Zimbabwe. In 2021, she graduated from Seattle University's Master of Public Administration program.Read more of Patience’s bio here.

The Seattle Urban Carnivore Project - Engaging Community Members in Research to Promote Human-Carnivore Coexistence

The Seattle Urban Carnivore Project is a research and community engagement project focused on learning about the wildlife that lives in the greater Seattle area and fostering better coexistence with these species. It is a collaboration between Seattle University and Woodland Park Zoo. In this talk, I will share some of our results as well as discuss partnering with a local organization and the value of community science.

A photo of Mark Jordan

Mark Jordan is an Associate Professor of Biology at Seattle University. He received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puget Sound and his Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley. His research interests include urban ecology, population monitoring of carnivores, and the genetics of species of conservation concern.


Bird Safety at SeattleU

In line with the Care for our Common Home theme, we are focusing on the home that our campus provides for birds. Seattle University has been identified as a Wildlife Habitat, and with this distinction we should ensure that we are adequately caring for all species on campus. We are looking to present and talk about urban conservation on campus, specifically surrounding birds and bird safety. Our main concerns surround the built habitat, that is, non bird-friendly windows and bait boxes that are hazardous for birds on campus. We are collaborating with Josh Morris from the Seattle Audubon Society to raise awareness about this issue to our community.

A photo of Julieta Dentone

Julieta Dentone is a third year Environmental Studies and Public Affairs double major.








A photo of Aoife KennedyAoife Kennedy is a second year Environmental Studies major. Aoife and Julieta are presenting on behalf of their club, Sustainable Student Action (SSA) – an environmental justice club on campus.


Using the CEJS Climate Impact Guide to Help Local Businesses Track Carbon Emissions 

Becoming more sustainable and lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could have a major positive impact on small businesses. They may see increased customer satisfaction as well as improved energy resilience and cost savings. But it can be an overwhelming process. In 2021-2022, a cohort of MBA students worked with CEJS to create the Climate Impact Guide guide to help navigate small businesses through the river of resources. The guide has an emissions tracking tool and resources that small businesses can use to develop strategies for reducing their carbon footprint. Our cohort ran a successful pilot project with Pagliacci’s Pizza during the spring of 2022. I was responsible for data collection and analysis.

A photo of Gian-Luca MatsudaGian-Luca Matsuda is a class of 2022 MBA graduate who currently works as a data scientist for UW Medicine, focusing on clinical data research and governance. He was part of the Spring 2022 consulting cohort that worked with CEJS and local Seattle-area businesses on the use of the Climate Impact Guide.

SEED: A Model for Collaborative Change and Social Impact 

The Social Entrepreneurship & Educational Development (SEED) Collaborative is a unique private/community-based partnership between the Community Foundation of Snohomish County (CFSC) and Seattle University’s Center for Social Transformation and Leadership (CSTL). The SEED Collaborative seeks to develop, design and scale community solutions for greater social, economic, and racial equity in Snohomish County, WA, and to catalyze systemic change in our food system through collaboration on multiple levels.
The SEED Collaborative is investing in innovative systems thinkers who have the capacity to lead their community organizations to transform and build a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system. The strategy supports diverse learning and innovation of funded BIPOC agricultural organizations across Snohomish County at various personal and professional development stages and broadens awareness of potential social enterprise and career opportunities in the agricultural industry and academia. CSTL supports these connections through events and partnerships between students, organizations, and state officials.

Dr. Colette M. Taylor currently serves as Professor of Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership, Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Directions and the Founding Director of the Center for Social Transformation and Leadership.  Dr. Taylor’s teaching, scholarship, and service is multicultural and multi-contextual in nature and is situated in the fields of leadership, social justice and education. Attempting to understand how populations of color and other marginalized communities develop attitudes, motivations, and strategies to be successful in various cultural and institutional contexts, her current research focuses on creating inclusive leadership practice - formal and community-based - to create equitable organizational environments, with a particular focus on students, families, and communities who have been historically marginalized.  She is also a co-editor of African Americans and Community Engagement in Higher Education Community Service, Service-Learning, and Community-Based Research (2009).

Environmental Justice for the Duwamish Valley and Quinault Indian Nation

I would like to give an advocacy presentation that raises awareness of recent local environmental injustices. I will call for Washington State legislators to directly remediate environmental harm imposed on BIPOC communities by having comprehensive knowledge of environmental racism and its effects, and leveraging BIPOC voices such as the Duwamish River Community Coalition to improve flooding hazards and pollution. In particular, I will discuss how a recent king tide of the polluted Duwamish River not only engulfed South Park homes and forced residents to evacuate, but also delivered toxins directly to the community. I will also discuss how a similar narrative exists for the Quinault Indian Nation, in which rising sea levels, storm surges, tsunamis, and landslides contributed by climate change are forcing many Quinault to permanently relocate to higher grounds. Then, I will raise awareness of how various policy changes such as the investment of green infrastructure be implemented to reduce environmental harm in the future and care for our common home.

A photo of Sejal DhaliwalSejal Dhaliwal is an undergraduate student majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology with minors in Psychology and Catholic Studies. She is interested in leveraging science and social justice to improve well-being.

Sharing Our Resources

Grounds and Waste Management initiatives of integral ecology and campus outreach are about sharing our resources holistically with the campus community through invitation to join in body, mind and spirit and creatively engage in the renewal of landscapes, gardens and recycle spaces. Sharing Our Resources includes knowledge, stories, learning how to use your body and energy in the work that Grounds and Waste Management performs, and learning to use your mind to notice processes and patterns of work in nature that are synchronously sacred.

A photo of Shannon BrittonShannon Britton, employed with SU since 2009, in Facilities Grounds, is Assistant Director for Grounds and Waste Management where she facilitates integral ecology that supports the work of campus gardeners and the recycling coordinator in their efforts to provide organic, pesticide-free and sustainable operations for waste management. 



A Guide to Food Labels and Certifications

This talk will address the lack of consumer knowledge in food certifications. For both my capstone projects (Communications and Environmental Studies), I have researched food labels and consumer motivations behind purchasing products with various certifications. Research shows that consumers have different motivations that lead to their decision around how to approach food certifications and that consumers are often confused or undereducated about food labels. I have created a guide that is available for students to learn more about food certifications that are common across Seattle U’s campus and beyond. The certifications included in the guide specifically reflect on Seattle U’s Laudato Si goals of purchasing certified food as well as Redhawk Dining’s newly implemented climate labeling.

A photo of Ashley HagarAshley Hagar is a senior communications and environmental studies double major at Seattle University. Hagar is also the Managing Editor at The Spectator, Seattle U’s student-run newspaper and a student-athlete on the track and field team at Seattle U. After graduation in June, Hagar hopes to utilize the skills and knowledge gained from her education and combine her majors to address the impact of climate change through educating others.

Sustainable Development and SDG 7 in Sub Saharan Africa: Balancing Energy Access, Economic Growth, and Carbon Emissions 

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in tremendous uncertainty and minimized the recent advances to increase access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy—an objective preserved in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG-7). This research explores the linkages between energy-related external aid, carbon emissions, per capita GDP, and electricity access for a sample of 30 low-income SSA countries over 1995 to 2016. Our econometric analysis reveals that while all types of energy aid facilitate economic growth in the long run, there is no direct impact of energy-related aid on electricity access. However, an increase in per capita GDP is positively associated with electricity access in both rural and urban areas. We also find that energy-related aid helps mitigate carbon emissions as well as contribute to GDP. Taken together, our results suggest that enhanced energy-related aid to low-income SSA countries can directly facilitate climate-compatible growth and indirectly impel improvements in electricity access thereby helping with poverty reduction.

A photo of Meenakshi (Meena) RishiDr. Meenakshi Rishi is a Professor of Economics at Seattle University.  She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Economics at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Dr. Rishi is a member of the American Economic Association and the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economic Profession.  She is the Executive Director of the Association of Indian Economic and Financial Studies. Dr. Rishi’s research has examined a variety of topics from international finance and macroeconomics to environmental economics.  As the Bosanko Professor for 2023-26, Dr. Rishi plans to focus attention around the Laudato Si Action Platform, an initiative of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, inspired by Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical and focused on our ecological crisis. She has published several journal articles in highly regarded outlets and authored numerous conference presentations and proceedings. She has delivered Keynote addresses to companies and Think Tanks in the US and abroad. She is on the Board of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Pratham, Pratidhwani, and Infinity Box Theater. 

Protecting Local Forests through the King County Forest Carbon Program

The King County Forest Carbon Program produces carbon credits by permanently protecting threatened forests and tree canopy in both urban and rural parts of the county that would otherwise have been used for development or commercial timber harvest. Funds generated through the sale of carbon credits support acquisition of additional forestlands that are among the most critical conservation priorities of the region, identified through the collaborative Land Conservation Initiative. In addition to providing climate benefits, protection of these forests provides a range of other benefits, including protecting critical salmon habitat, water quality and air quality benefits, and recreational opportunities. Seattle University supports the Land Conservation Initiative by purchasing offsets to compensate for its on-campus operational emissions.   

A photo of Kathleen Farley-WolfKathleen Farley Wolf joined the King County Forestry Program in 2018, where she is developing strategies for long-term forest conservation, including creating incentives for forest management that enhance carbon sequestration and support forest landowners. She led the development of the County’s new Forest Carbon Program, an innovative effort that supports accelerated conservation of forestland as part of the Land Conservation Initiative. Prior to joining King County, she spent 12 years as a professor in the Geography Department at San Diego State University and held positions with EcoCiencia, a nonprofit in Ecuador, Duke University, and The Nature Conservancy, focused on management of forest and grassland ecosystems in North and South America.

2023 Earth Talks Flyer - With QR Code

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