ESS Lecture Series Schedule

Fall 2020 Term
ESS Lecture Series

Solutions will not come from environmentalists alone, or from economists, policy-makers or scientists. Complex challenges like urbanization, global inequality, sustainable energy and water supplies, and climate change require new thinking that transcends traditional disciplines and approaches to education and research.

NEW format: Unless otherwise noted, all lectures/films will be prerecorded and made available to students 1-2 weeks in advance, with followup Q&A sessions happening live via Zoom on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Atlantic Time.

Note: Due to the pandemic and the online learning situation for all Dalhousie students for the Fall 2020 semester, we regret that the ESS Lecture Series will not be available to members of the public until the semester is complete. We will post the recorded lectures and live Q&A sessions on the College of Sustainability’s Vimeo channel in December 2020. In the meantime, please enjoy previous semesters’ ESS lectures and speakers.


10 September on Zoom from 7-8 pm Atlantic time 
College Orientation event for all SUST Students

Meet the faculty, teaching assistants, staff and student societies on Zoom. Plus you’ll have a chance to meet the other 300 students enrolled in the first-year course (SUST 1000) as well as upper-year ESS students!


17 September - “Best of ESS Lecture Series” - There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities

Ingrid Waldron, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University, and the ENRICH Project (Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities and Community Health).

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Vimeo: 
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 17 September from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

In her book “There’s Something In The Water,” Ingrid Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities.

Ingrid Waldron is a sociologist, an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University, the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health (The ENRICH Project), and an Associate Research Scholar at the Healthy Populations Institute in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie. Ingrid's scholarship focuses specifically on the impact of inequality and discrimination on the health and mental health of African Canadian, Mi’kmaq, immigrant and refugee communities in Canada.

Her book has been made into a feature-length documentary by Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, in collaboration with Ingrid Waldron. The film brings attention to the injustices and injuries caused by environmental racism in her home province, in this urgent documentary on Indigenous and African Nova Scotian women fighting to protect their communities, their land, and their futures.

Other resources: 


24 September - “Best of ESS Lecture Series” - What's needed to sustain the Sustainable Development Goals? An Indigenous community-based research perspective

Debbie Martin, Health & Human Performance, Dalhousie University 

  • PREP: Watch the videotaped lecture on Vimeo:
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 24 September from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time 

The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals have been top-of-mind in recent years, as many communities and nations attempt to identify how to address health and social inequities, stem the onslaught of climate change, all while trying to maintain and grow healthy economies. In this lecture, Dr. Martin challenges us to consider that these things are not mutually exclusive and that Indigenous community-based and community-led research offers a critical lens through which to not only identify the interconnections between each of these issues, but that addressing them requires the wisdom offered by our Indigenous Elders and Knowledge-Keepers.

Debbie Martin is Inuk and a member of NunatuKavut. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous peoples’ health and well-being, and is an associate professor of health promotion, with cross-appointments in the Faculty of Dentistry and School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University. She chairs the Advisory Board for the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, is an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Public Health and sits on the board of Research Canada. She also leads the Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network, which offers funding and builds capacity for graduate trainees in the region to undertake Indigenous health research. 


1 October - Film: Water Be Damned

Dr. Romila Verma, Founder of Water Speaks, lecturer at School of the Environment/Geography Department, University of Toronto, Toronto ON

  • PREP: Watch the film (platform to be confirmed)
  • Attend the followup Q&A on Zoom, 1 October from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

We live on “the blue planet”, abundant with water. Yet, we are now facing a crisis created by decades of mismanagement, unlimited depletion and pollution of the earth’s water bodies, issues now accelerated by climate change. So how did we reach this crisis point?  Water Be Damned shows that by not following the four pillars of water sustainability – science, economics, governance AND spiritual connections – we have damned one of our most precious resources. Through the lens of the Satluj river in Punjab, India, the filmmakers trace the story of challenges, hopes and aspirations of water’s will to survive and rejuvenate.

Co-writer and producer of Water Be Damned, Romila Verma is one of the leading voices on environmental issues. Dr. Verma’s personal experiences growing up with resource inequity in India fuel her desire to educate, research, and find creative solutions to global challenges like freshwater shortage and climate change impacts. She received recognition from India’s Aadhi Aabadi Society for her 20 plus years of teaching and research in the environmental sustainability field. Dr. Verma lectures on water and environmental issues for the School of the Environment and Department of Geography at the University of Toronto.

Watch the preview


8 October - Ocean and Polar Awareness from a Landlocked Province

Jasveen Brar, Manager of Ocean Bridge Atlantic

  • PREP: Listen to the "My Oceans" podcast on Spotify or on
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on 8 October from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

After taking a trip to Antarctica six years ago, Jasveen Brar realized her calling: understanding and raising awareness about humans and our polar regions—how climate change is impacting people, communities, and the ocean in those places. Her main message to the older generation of climate decision and policy makers? Don’t underestimate the power of young people!

Jasveen is the Manager of Ocean Bridge Atlantic, a youth service program focused on oceans and created by Ocean Wise. Each year, 160 youth (ages 18-30) from a national team engaged in co-creating and delivering service projects for their home communities and two immersive expeditions addressing ocean health and ocean literacy in Canada. Jasveen is an alumna of tour own College of Sustainability, graduating in 2017 with a BSc in Biology and ESS and is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Governor General’s (Sovereign’s) medal for volunteers in 2018.


15 October - Sustainability and Legacies of Resilience in Rural Nova Scotia

Karly Kehoe, Canadian Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax NS

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Vimeo
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 15 October from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

Karly Kehoe is the Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities. Karly’s primary research areas are religion, migration, and minority identities in the British Atlantic, but she is also interested in sustainable development and rural change in Nova Scotia and the Scottish Highlands. In addition to co-editing (with Chris Dalglish) the Histories of the Scottish North Atlantic book series with Edinburgh University Press, Karly is the board chairperson of the Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies and a passionate advocate for displaced and at-risk academics.


22 October - Reauthoring Our Stories

Sobaz Benjamin, Founder and CEO of iMOVe, Halifax NS

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Vimeo
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 22 October from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

More details will follow.

Sobaz Benjamin is an independent documentary film writer, director, producer, and picture editor. For over 18 years, Sobaz has used video and audio production as tools of identity and community development in diverse educational and community settings. Sobaz is the founder, Executive Director, and past Program Director of In My Own Voice (iMOVe), an innovative arts-based youth engagement, empowerment, and reintegration program run in partnership with the Community Justice Society and funded by the Federal Justice Department. His work has been screened across Canada and in venues and Festivals in New Zealand, Bermuda, and New York. He has completed documentaries for the National Film Board and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).  


29 October - Principles of a Just Recovery

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network / Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac)

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Brightspace
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 29 October from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

Dylan Penner, Council of Canadians explains the push for six principles of a just recovery: “The pandemic has exposed and entrenched the deep inequities of our existing system and left us with a pathway to leave these injustices behind.  The 1% are looking to profit from this crisis, and a just recovery will protect the rest of us by addressing the interconnected crises we face, including the climate emergency. We need a just recovery for communities that ends these injustices by laying the foundations for a Green New Deal.”

Cat Abreu leads Climate Action Network, a network of 130 organizations working on climate change and energy issues. She is an internationally recognized, award-winning changemaker whose work centres on building powerful coalitions to advance transformative action on climate change. One of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy as named by Apolitical in 2019, Cat was also the recipient of the 2020 Jack Layton Progress Prize.  


5 November - Happiness and Social Sustainability: Lessons from Carnival

Martha Radice, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Brightspace
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 5 November from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

More details to follow.

Martha Radice is a social anthropologist whose work focuses on the social, spatial and cultural dynamics of cities. She has investigated social relations, especially interethnic relations, and the production of space in multiethnic commercial streets in Montréal. She is currently undertaking an ethnography of carnival practices in New Orleans. Her ongoing areas of interest are urban anthropology, public space, public art and public culture, happiness studies, multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism, applied urban research, and ethnographic methods.


19 November - Do Whales Judge Us? Interspecies History and Ethics

13th Annual Ransome A. Myers Lecture on Science and Society, presented in collaboration with Dalhousie Dept. of Biology 
Dr. Bathsheba Demuth, Institute at Brown University for Environment & Society

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Brightspace
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 19 November from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

More details to follow.

Bathsheba Demuth is an environmental historian who specializes in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her interest in northern environments and cultures began when she was 18 and moved to the village of Old Crow in the Yukon. For over two years, she mushed huskies, hunted caribou, fished for salmon, tracked bears, and otherwise learned to survive in the taiga and tundra. In the years since, she has visited Arctic communities across Eurasia and North America. From the archive to the dog sled, she is interested in how the histories of people, ideas, places, and non-human species intersect. Her writing on these subjects has appeared in publications from The American Historical Review to The New Yorker.

26 November - “Best of ESS Lecture Series”: Emerging From Emergency: From Local to Global

Caroline Merner, Founder of Climate Guides and Youth4Nature, Vancouver BC

  • PREP: Watch the lecture on Vimeo:
  • Attend the followup Q&A session on Zoom, 26 November from 7-8 pm Atlantic Time

With the natural world and climate in crisis, the coming decade is critical for action. How do we emerge from emergency? How does local action contribute to international aspiration? How can taking action help alleviate climate grief? How can youth co-design our future? In this talk, Caroline will address these questions with practical examples of mentorship, storytelling, capacity-building, and knowledge-sharing. Caroline will draw from her experience co-founding a youth-led non-profit in Vancouver, BC and mobilizing youth at the United Nations COP25 on the international stage. 

Caroline Merner is a climate communicator and environmental educator. She is the Co-Director of Climate Guides, a non-profit that engages and empowers youth addressing climate action.  Caroline is also a Project Lead with Youth4Nature with a mandate to mobilize youth advocating for nature-based solutions.  Caroline’s undergraduate thesis at Dalhousie University (ESS/IDS) focused on effective climate communication. Her past work with the federal government, environmental organizations, and DSUSO has taken her to the Canadian Arctic, Chile, Greenland, Peru, Poland, Spain, and the US, as a facilitator and international delegate. Caroline has been named a Young Women for Nature by Nature Canada, Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader by Corporate Knights, and a Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalists by Starfish Canada.



For more information contact:

College of Sustainability Reception Desk            

Debra Ross                                                     
Manager of Outreach and Partnerships