ESS Lecture Series Schedule

Fall 2021 Term

Welcome to the Fall 2021 ESS Lecture Series! We are excited to welcome many wonderful speakers and lecturers to the stage this semester. 

This year, our lectures will be presented live Thursdays evenings at 7:00pm (AT) using a hybrid in-person & virtual format. Dalhousie/King's students are welcome to either attend in person in the Ondaatje Auditorium of the Marion McCain building (6135 University Avenue) in accordance with current campus COVID protocols, or by accessing a special Zoom link via their ESS course on Brightspace. Members of the public are invited to attend the lectures virtually by searching "ESS" on the Vimeo livestream website.

Check out our past lectures and Q&A events on the College’s Vimeo channel.



Thursday 9 September - ESS Orientation Event


Thursday 16 September - Indigenous Governance and Sustainability: An Indigenous Feminist Perspective

Dr. Sherry Pictou, with Aaron Prosper

Mi’kmaw Honour Song Welcome - Aaron Prosper

Sherry Pictou is a Mi’kmaw woman from L’sɨtkuk (water cuts through high rocks) known as Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia. She is an Assistant Professor appointed to the Schulich School of Law and the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University. She is also a former Chief for her community and the former Co-Chair of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples. She is a member of the IPBES Task Force on Indigenous and Local Knowledge. More recently, she became the first female to serve as District Chief for the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq. Her research interests include decolonizing treaty relations, Social Justice for Indigenous Women, and Indigenous knowledge and food systems.

Aaron Prosper is a member and a graduate of Dalhousie’s Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience) program, Aaron is currently the Indigenous Health Consultant for Nova Scotia Health and a graduate student at the University of Prince Edward Island. Previous to his current roles, Aaron was the President of the Dalhousie Students' Union and project manager of the Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Nation Cancer Care Strategy. Aaron’s areas of research include: Cancer, Epigenetics, Mental Health & Addictions, Indigenous Health Law & Policy, and Indigenous Ethics & Research Methodologies. Outside of his academic work, Aaron is a member of the Eastern Eagle Singers (a contemporary Mi’kmaw drum group based out of Sipe’knekatik First Nation) & the multimedia band Alan Syliboy & the Thundermakers.


Thursday 23 September - Democracy on Edge (Inaugural FASS “Stanfield Conversations” Lecture)

Charles Taylor & Simone Chambers, moderated by Vassy Kapelos

A wide-ranging conversation on the sources of sinking trust in democracy, and new directions to address contemporary challenges. Beginning with the rise of ‘populism’ and what it means for democracy, what is the role of disinformation in our new, hyper-partisan and increasingly splintered digital landscape? What institutional reforms might restore citizen trust?

Charles Taylor is an internationally celebrated Canadian philosopher, and professor emeritus at McGill University. Taylor’s work bridges the gap between philosophical theory and political action. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages, and have covered a range of subjects including multiculturalism, modernity, humanity, morality, artificial intelligence, language, social behaviour, and Canadian politics. This work has earned him the prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Templeton Prize, the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy, and the John W. Kluge Prize, in addition to widespread esteem among philosophers. Learn more about Professor Taylor.

Simone Chambers is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California Irvine. A political philosopher who specializes in democracy studies, she is widely published on such topics as Canadian constitutional politics, referendums, the digital public sphere, rhetoric, and civility. Her new book, The State of Contemporary Democratic Theory, is a critical survey of the ways political philosophy is addressing the democratic crises of our times. Learn more about Professor Chambers.

Moderator Vassy Kapelos is an award-winning journalist and the host of CBC’s Power and Politics. Vassy has reported on events all over the world and previously covered provincial politics in Alberta and Saskatchewan before working in Ottawa. She is also an alum of Dalhousie's department of Political Science. Learn more about Vassy.


Thursday 30 September  - No lecture: Truth and Reconciliation Day at Dalhousie 


Thursday 7 October - What Really Counts: The Case for a Sustainable and Equitable Economy

Ronald Colman

Politicians and economists fixate on “growing the economy”—measured by a country’s gross domestic product. But this yardstick counts harmful activities such as greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste, and cigarette sales as gains, and it ignores environmental protection, voluntary community work, and other benefits. What we measure is a choice, and what is and isn’t counted determines what sorts of policies are enacted.

How can better measures help build a better world? How can they enhance rather than undermine wellbeing? And how can they safeguard rather than endanger our children's future?

Ronald Colman's new book, What Really Counts (Columbia University Press, 2021) is an essential, firsthand story of the promise and challenges of accounting for social, economic, and environmental benefits and costs. Colman recounts two decades of working with three governments to adopt measures that more accurately and comprehensively assess true progress.

Chronicling his path from Nova Scotia to New Zealand to Bhutan, Colman details the effort to lay the foundations of a new economic system, and the obstacles that stand in the way. Reflecting on successes and failures, he considers how to shift policy priorities from a narrow economic- growth agenda toward a future built on sustainability and equity.


Thursday 14 October - Building the Next Generation of Ocean Allies (Annual Ram Meyers Lecture, co-hosted with Dalhousie Biology)

Daniela V. Fernandez, Sustainable Ocean Alliance
Travis Aten, High Seas Alliance & High Seas Ambassadors

Daniela Fernandez is the founder and CEO of Sustainable Ocean Alliance, award-winning social entrepreneur, thought-leader, and international speaker on the entrepreneurial mentality, ocean innovation, and technology, youth empowerment and blockchain for social good. At the young age of 19, Daniela V. Fernandez founded Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) as a college-room idea. Five years later, she has built SOA into a global organization that is cultivating and accelerating innovative solutions to protect and sustain the health of the ocean. With phenomenal speed, SOA has created the world’s largest network of young ocean leaders - through establishing a presence in over 50 countries, launching the first-ever Ocean Solutions Accelerator to support ocean start-ups, and partnering with corporations such as Lindblad Expeditions and The Economist, NGOs, and governments, including Indonesia and the European Union, to develop technological solutions that can address the greatest threats facing our planet.


Thursday 21 October - The Shipping Revolution Has Arrived

Danielle Doggett, SAILCARGO INC.

Developing a resilient, decarbonized transportation sector is a critical task of the Anthropocene; in response, the mission of SAILCARGO INC. is to prove the value of clean shipping. ‘’There are growing worries that, like a ship [such as the Ever Given] which is too big to steer, supply chains have become a source of vulnerability.’’ (The Economist, April 2021). The pillars of SAILCARGO INC. are to operate in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner, with respect for our global community members. As a result of the early success of their wooden flagship, Ceiba, the company is moving forward with project ‘’MAMBA’’ - a vessel that will be the undisputed champion of the clean shipping revolution. Together, we can #SeaShippingChange.

Danielle Doggett is Co-Founder and CEO of SAILCARGO INC., a Canadian - Costa Rican for-profit company. She is also co-founder of AstilleroVerde, a non-profit shipyard association for coastal communities. A graduate of the Enkhuizer Nautical College of the Netherlands, she is named by the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA) as one of the most influential women of the past century. As a result of her work across the Caribbean, Danielle is an adviser to the Caribbean Sail Training Association. Originally from North of Kingston, Ontario, Danielle recently accepted the 100-year commemorative medal from the Embassies of Canada and Costa Rica in recognition of the excellent work done by SAILCARGO INC., with special acknowledgment of their work with clean hydrogen propulsion systems.

Learn more about at Sail Cargo's YouTube channel. Danielle was also featured on Episode 106 of the podcast Reversing Climate Change.


Thursday 28 October - The New Federal Impact Assessment Act: Can It Deliver Sustainable Projects?

Meinhard Doelle

Meinhard Doelle is Professor of Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies. Meinhard previously served as the Canadian Chair at the World Maritime University, as Associate Dean, Research at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, and as an Associate Director and Director of the Marine & Environmental Law Institute (MELAW).

Meinhard was a policy advisor to the federal government during the development of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), a member of the CEAA’s Regulatory Advisory Committee, and the principal drafter of the NS Environment Act. He was a non-governmental member of the Canadian delegation to the UN climate negotiations from 2000-2006. He co-chaired the Tidal Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment in 2007, served on the Lower Churchill Joint Federal-Provincial Review Panel from 2009 – 2011, and co-chaired the Nova Scotia panel on aquaculture from 2013 - 2014. He currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the new federal Impact Assessment Act in Canada.

Meinhard has written on a variety of environmental law topics, including climate change, energy, environmental assessments, and public participation in environmental decision-making. His most recent books deal with loss and damage from climate change, and with the new federal Impact Assessment Act in Canada, both published in 2021.


Thursday 4 November - Single-use plastics: How advertising got us into this mess (and how it can get us out of it)?

Sarah Riley Rosen

How advertising and marketing exacerbated environmental issues in the past, and how a new culture of transparency is changing that.

Sarah Riley Rosen is the Co-Founder and Director of Strategy of the award-winning, female-founded-and-led sustainability agency, R&G Strategic Communications —where she helps organizations share their purpose and passion for a better world.


Thursday 11 November - No lecture: Remembrance Day / READING WEEK


Thursday 18 November - FILM and Discussion (film TBA)


Thursday 25 November - EAC: Fifty Years of Environmental Action

Maggy Burns, Executive Director, Ecology Action Centre
co-presented with Zuppa Theatre

In the face of big, scary, complex problems, hope and ways forward are offered by creativity, community, and broad engagement. Recognizing this, the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) collaborated with Zuppa Theatre to celebrate their 50th anniversary through an interactive, multi-media scavenger hunt of environmentally-themed art across Nova Scotia. The 50 art pieces, each by a different artist, are inspired by stories, places and themes related to EAC’s long history of environmentalism. They are embedded in 50 locations across Nova Scotia and discoverable through Zuppa’s NowHere app. The project aimed to give Nova Scotians an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of past generations of activists, and to get inspired about the future of environmental action across the province. Did it work? A reflection on the project with EAC, Zuppa and a participating artist.

Maggy Burns is the Executive Director of the Ecology Action Centre. Her involvement with EAC goes back almost 20 years and includes 10 years as the Managing Director (2007-2017). Maggy has a BA (Philosophy) and BSc (Biology) from Dalhousie University. Her non-profit career spans sub-sectors including entrepreneurship, international development, experiential education and inclusion as well as consulting work in facilitation, strategic planning and conflict resolution. 


Thursday 2 December - ESS Alumni Showcase (panel TBA)



For more information contact:

College of Sustainability Reception Desk            

Debra Ross                                                     
Manager of Outreach and Partnerships