ESS Lecture Series Schedule

Winter 2021 Term

Welcome to the Winter 2021 ESS Lecture Series and Film Fest! We are excited to screen several wonderful films tackling difficult sustainability topics: endangered right whales, indigenous food sovereignty, community resilience and the climate crisis. These are not easy issues so we have decided to launch the semester with a realistic discussion about the experience of eco-anxiety or eco-grief and how we can cope with the challenges of our times.

Watch the lecture each week on the College’s Vimeo channel or screen the film at the private link provided (usually active 7-10 days before the Thursday night Q&A on Zoom).

Members of the public are welcome to watch the films/lectures on the College Vimeo channel and to participate in the Zoom question and answer sessions. Send an email to to get the links!



Week 1 - Understanding Grief and Loss in the Climate Change Era  

ESS student Zinta Upitis and SRES student Sara Boyd

Zinta Upitis is a scholarship student at Dalhousie University, currently completing a BA in Sustainability and Urban Design. Zinta grew up in Kingston, Ontario, where she was continually influenced by, and exposed to, the outdoors. Her mother started an off-grid wilderness centre called Wintergreen Studios, located in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, where Zinta spent most of her time contemplating sustainable systems thinking. A love for the outdoors became a value that she implemented into her eco-anxiety research, which includes the psychological impacts of climate change and understanding grief during the climate change era. Zinta believes the outdoors, in combination with positive coping mechanisms and community can offer solace and creativity, elements that can help pave a path for a sustainable future.

Sara Boyd is pursuing a Masters of Resource and Environmental Management at Dalhousie University. Her master’s project, supervised by Dr. Melanie Zurba, focused on developing a typology of rituals and vocabularies for expressing and processing grief associated with climate change in Canada. This project also looked at the relationship between wellbeing and climate change policy. Having lived in different provinces across Canada, Sara is passionate about understanding the complex history of the land and people across this country. She aspires to work bridging government and local communities to grow towards a climate resilient society.


Week 2 - Film: Entangled (2020)

A film by David Abel & Andy Laub

  • Watch the trailer
  • Private screening link for film will be provided
  • After watching the film, attend a Zoom Q&A session Thursday 21 January at 7:00pm AST with David Able (Boston Globe) and Boris Worm (Dal Biology)
  • **Members of the public can view the film and attend the Q&A session by emailing for the links
ENTANGLED is an award-winning, feature-length film about how climate change has accelerated a collision between the nation’s most valuable fishery, one of the world's most endangered species, and a federal agency mandated to protect both. The film chronicles the efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction, the impacts of those efforts on the lobster industry, and how the National Marine Fisheries Service has struggled to balance the vying interests. Entangled, from the makers of Lobster War and Sacred Cod, won a 2020 Jackson Wild award, known as the Oscars of nature films. It also won Best Conservation Film at the Mystic Film Festival.
David Abel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers fisheries and environmental issues for The Boston Globe. Abel’s work has also won an Edward R. Murrow Award, the Ernie Pyle Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting. He co-directed and produced “Sacred Cod,” a film about the collapse of the iconic cod fishery in New England, which was broadcast by the Discovery Channel in the spring of 2017. He also directed and produced two films about the Boston Marathon bombings, which were broadcast to national and international audiences, on BBC World News, Discovery Life, and Pivot. His other films include “Lobster War” and “Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys.” “Lobster War,” which is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures, won the 2018 award for “Best New England Film” at the Mystic Film Festival and was runner-up for the Grand Prize for Best Feature Film at the 2018 International Maritime Film Festival. “Gladesmen” won the 2018 Made in Miami Award at the Miami Film Festival. Both of those films are also being distributed by Bullfrog Films. Abel, who began learning to make films as a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, is the film’s director, producer, writer, and director of photography.

Week 3 - Film: First We Eat (2020)

A film by Suzanne Crocker

  • Watch the trailer
  • Private screening link for film will be provided!
  • After watching the film, attend a Zoom Q&A session Thursday 28 January at 7:00pm AST with Suzanne Crocker
  • **This film is not available to be shared with members of the public at this time, but anyone interested in attending the Q&A event can email for access.

FIRST WE EAT: Putting food sovereignty to the test in the far North of Canada – filmmaker Suzanne Crocker, living just 300 km from the Arctic Circle, removes absolutely all grocery store food from her house. For one year, she feeds her family of five with only food that can be hunted, fished, gathered, grown or raised around Dawson City, Yukon on the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Add three skeptical teenagers, one reluctant husband, no salt, no caffeine, no sugar and -40 temperatures. Ultimately the story becomes a celebration of community and the surprising bounty of food that even a tiny community in the far North can provide. First We Eat celebrates the ingenuity, resourcefulness & knowledge of Northern Canadians and our relationship to the land through the food that we hunt, fish, gather, grow and raise in the North.

Suzanne Crocker, a Yukon filmmaker, switched careers from rural family physician to filmmaker in 2009. Her feature-film-directing debut was with All The Time In The World (2014), a critically-acclaimed documentary film that has won 22 awards worldwide and screened in 25 countries (every continent including Antarctica). Suzanne lives in Dawson City with her husband and three children.


Week 4 - Film: Gather (2020)

A film by Sanjay Rawal

  • Watch the trailer
  • Private screening link for film will be provided!
  • After watching the film, attend a Zoom Q&A session Thursday 4 February at 7:00pm AST with Nephi Craig (White Mountain Apache Nation)
  • **Members of the public can view the film and attend the Q&A session by emailing for the links

GATHER is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river.

Nephi Craig is the founder of the Native American Culinary Association, a network of Native cooks, chefs, scholars, farmers, and community members devoted to the development and preservation of Native American foodways. He recently launched Café Gozhóó, a restaurant and nutritional recovery clinic under the auspices of the Rainbow Treatment Center.


Week 5 -The Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs Launch!

Kat Cadungog, Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES)
Steve Lee, UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY)

  • Prep: watch these 3-minute SDG videos on People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships.
  • Attend a Zoom Q&A session on Thursday 11 February at 7:00pm AST with Kat Cadungog and Steve Lee from the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship.
    *Members of the public can attend the Q&A session on Zoom by emailing for the link.
  • **The College of Sustainabiity has arranged free participation for all Dal/Kings students and alumni (with a valid Dal email address) in an SDG Launch Skills Training Workshop taking place February 17 & 18 on Hopin and Zoom. Email for registration details!

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force in January of 2017. The UN SDGs are intended to mobilize global efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

This week, join us for a presentation and Q&A with Kat Cadungog from the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES) and UN staff member Steve Lee, who will discuss how youth can use the SDGs to create action plans and effect change. FES is a youth-led, youth-serving sustainable development organization empowering youth to solve climate change, and create a more inclusive, fair, prosperous, and sustainable future.

Kat Cadungog played a leading role in transitioning the FES in-person SDG Youth Training program to an online experience — the SDGs Launch. At FES, she's worn many hats from working on 50 action projects throughout Canada and managing the organization's operations. Complementing her business background, she has worked on multiple consulting projects with engineering firms, hotels, and B-Corporations.

Steve Lee is a climate change activist, policy advocate to the United Nations, and a global speaker. He is the founder of the FES and its 3% Project, mobilizing Canadian youth on climate change and empowering them to take action on solving climate change in their local communities. Since then, he's moved on as a Capacity Building Officer to the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY).



Week 6 - WINTER STUDY BREAK 15-19 February (no lecture)  



Week 7 - What Does the Earth Ask of Us? (from 2020 Halifax Nocturne)

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment
Dr. Sherry Pictou, Bear River First Nation, Dal Schulich School of Law
shalan joudry, Bear River First Nation, artist and Dalhousie PhD candidate
Dr. Karen Beazley, Dal School for Resource and Environmental Studies

  • Prep: Watch Robin's 1-hour presentation on Vimeo.
  • Attend the Zoom Q&A with Sherry Pictou, shalan joudry and Karen Beazley on Thursday 25 February at 7:00pm AST.
  • **Members of the public can attend the Q&A session by emailing for the links

We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth and yet we are tied to institutions which relentlessly ask what more can we take? In this keynote presentation from Halifax Nocturne (2020), storyteller and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer draws upon both scientific and Indigenous knowledge to explore the covenant of reciprocity. How might we use the gifts and the responsibilities of human people in support of mutual thriving in a time of ecological crisis?

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim. Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. She tours widely and has been featured on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett and in 2015 addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” Kimmerer lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Dr. 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. Her research interests include decolonizing treaty relations, Social Justice for Indigenous Women, Indigenous women’s role in food and lifeways, and Indigenous knowledge and food systems.

shalan joudry is a Mi’kmaw woman from L’sɨtkuk (water cuts through high rocks) known as Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia. shalan is an Interdisciplinary PhD student at Dalhousie University, and a storyteller, poet, artist and singer. She hosts a podcast, Trails, Tales and Spruce Tea, available online. Her most recent book of poems is Waking Ground, published in 2020.

Dr. Karen Beazley is a Professor at Dalhousie's School for Resource and Environmental Studies. Her research interests include biodiversity conservation system planning, Indigenous protected and conserved areas and co-production of knowledge, regional habitat connectivity planning, and environmental and research ethics. Her work is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and geared to both contributing to the academic literature and affecting change in landscape conservation planning and policy at transnational and provincial levels.



Week 8 - Amplifying the Impact of Youth Change-makers for Climate Action and Sustainable Development

Dr. Amelia Clarke, University of Waterloo, Founder of Sierra Youth Coalition

From the climate and biodiversity crises, to global inequity, there is an urgent need for us to transition to a carbon neutral and just world. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a direction, but it is essential for us all to take action within our spheres of influence, and youth have the potential to be our innovation engine. This ESS Lecture explores the types of action we can take, the levels of impact we might achieve, and the strategies that have proven to work for young change-makers (ages 15 – 25).

Dr. Amelia Clarke is the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Environment and an Associate Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED). She holds a PhD in Management (Strategy) from McGill University. Her current research interests include: community sustainable development strategies; corporate social and environment​al responsibility; youth-led social entrepreneurship; and youth and innovation. In 1996, she founded the Sierra Youth Coalition (SYC) and is proud of having launched SYC’s sustainable campus program, and of her efforts to help influence the creation of 10 new protected areas.


Week 9 - Lost River: The Waters of Remembrance, A Memoir

Harry Thurston, poet, journalist and author

Harry Thurston’s eco-memoir Lost River is an elegiac meditation on the way that fishing, the rivers he has fished, and the people he has fished with have shaped his life. It is a story that encompasses both significant loss—of his childhood homestead, of rivers, and of the Atlantic salmon stocks, as well as of family and friends—and significant reward. Whether he’s recounting his experiences fishing his way down his native rivers and streams, reflecting on family bonds and writerly struggles, or recollecting the long work of establishing Nova Scotia’s Kelley River Wilderness Area, Thurston reminds us how fully the human and non-human worlds are interconnected, and of the great value of a life based in attentiveness and affection. Like a fish finally rising to the fly, the beauty and insight of Lost River elicit a bolt of excitement and hope. As one of Thurston’s mentors would say, “It’s good to know that we’re not fishing over barren water.”
Harry Thurston is an award-winning poet and journalist and the author of more than two dozen books of poetry, natural history, and creative nonfiction. His articles have appeared in many of North America’s leading magazines, including Audubon, Canadian Geographic, National Geographic, and International Wildlife. His nonfiction books, specializing in environmental issues, have garnered four Evelyn Richardson Awards. Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy also won the City of Dartmouth and the Atlantic Booksellers’ Choice Awards, and, according to Island Journal, is “destined to become a natural history classic.” His eco-biography, A Place between The Tides, A Naturalist’s Reflections on the Salt Marsh, was a finalist for British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-fiction and a winner of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award in the United States. The Atlantic Coast, A Natural History won the Lane Anderson Award celebrating the best science writing in Canada. His latest book, Lost River, The Waters of Remembrance, is a memoir that looks at loss in our human family and the natural world through the lens of fishing. Harry has been active in conservation issues, helping Nova Scotia meet its protected area’s goal. He currently serves as a Mentor in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College.



Week 10 - Film: Once You Know (*5:00PM Q&A)

Emmanuel Cappellin, film director

  • Prep: view the trailer.
  • Private screening link for the full film will be provided.
  • Attend the Q&A on Thursday 18 March at 5:00pm ADT (NOTE that the start time is different from most weeks!).
  • **Members of the public can screen the film and attend the Q&A by emailing for the links.
Once You Know, directed by Emmanuel Cappellin, is a feature length documentary film on energy depletion, runaway climate change, and our capacity for personal and collective resilience in the face of systemic collapse. Today, like a ship entering the storm, the world faces climate change induced collapse. Emmanuel's voyage into this uncharted territory is that of a whole generation turning to climate scientists, local democracy, grassroots initiatives, and mass rebellion in a desperate search for an exit.
Emmanuel Cappellin is an associate producer at Pulp Films where, over seven years, he has been tirelessly directing Once You Know, his first feature-length documentary for the big screen. After growing up in France and the US, studying environmental sciences (McGill University, Canada), and Producing & Directing (Berkeley Digital Film Institute, California), Emmanuel chose filmmaking to creatively explore the complex relationship between humans and planet Earth. His work began with early environmental activist and Oscar-winning film animation master Frédéric Back. He then co-edited To the Tar Sands (2007, DOXA and Calgary International Film Festivals) and went to China to direct Thoughts & Reflections (2010, commission).



Week 11 - ESS Alumni/Activist Panel

On Thursday 25 March at 7:00pm ADT, join us for a 90-minute panel discussion with six ESS alumni who are all actively engaged in climate justice, environmental activism, and living their best lives! Members of the public can attend this Q&A by emailing

Siobhan Takala grew up in Saskatoon, SK (Treaty 6, Plains Cree territory and part of the Métis Nation homeland) but has resided in Mi’kma’ki (unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Mi’kmaw people and Wabanaki Confederacy) for many years now. Siobhan completed a BSc, Combined Honours degree at Dalhousie University in Environment, Society and Sustainability and Environmental Science. Siobhan was recently named one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 in 2020 by The Starfish Canada, for her work as Co-Founder and Co-Director of Let’s Sprout. Let’s Sprout is a by youth / for youth initiative started in 2016 as an action project in the RBC Sustainability Leadership Certificate hosted by the College of Sustainability. Its mandate is to create spaces for youth to explore their whole selves, question the world with an empathetic and critical lens, and demand action. Siobhan is just starting her professional career and is excited to see where her passion for the intersections of environmental and social justice brings her. What sparks her up? Surfing, admiring the sky and the natural world, dancing, being silly with friends, and trying her hand at new creative endeavours -- next up, quilting!

Isaac Greenberg (they/he) is an innovator, gardener, and “food person” living in Kjipuktuk. They have been working with the Province of Nova Scotia, co-founding the Outpost for Public Sector Innovation. The work is dynamic, ranging from designing biodiversity policy to co-creating rural transportation technology. After graduating with a BA in economics and ESS, Isaac became a superstar TA, coordinated the construction of an urban farm, and co-led quality of life research at Halifax Global Shapers. Co-creating a just and equitable world with Nova Scotians is what motivates Isaac, especially in work related to housing and food.

Sheena Parris is a social justice advocate and energy policy nerd. Originally from Calgary, her past work includes positions with research institutions, industry organizations, NGOs, and government in both Alberta and Nova Scotia. She is currently on leave from her Policy Analyst role with the Government of Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy and Mines (DEM) pursuing a Master of Science in Environment at the University of Ottawa. In her role, Sheena administered solar programs, developed electricity policies, and supported community and commercial sustainability projects. She has worked to improve social outcomes of climate policies by advancing initiatives focused on improving the representation of women and African-Nova Scotians, reducing energy poverty, and increasing collaboration with First Nations communities. In addition to her studies at UOttawa, Sheena works as a Research Fellow for the Smart Prosperity Institute. When not working, she can be found playing complicated board games, watching Star Trek or practicing her watercolour painting.

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 the Engagement Director 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.

Kate Pepler (she/her) graduated in 2016 with a BA in ESS and ENVS. In 2018, she opened the Tare Shop, Nova Scotia’s first package-free café and bulk store. Alongside its retail business, the store hosts community events, workshops and public talks. The Tare Shop opened their second location in downtown Dartmouth this past January! “One of the coolest things I have found about living a low-waste lifestyle is the ripple effect – I see some of my friends and family making their own daily changes because they see what I’m doing and become interested. I always encourage people to do what works for them.”

Uytae Lee produces videos that inform and engage the public on the complex issues surrounding our cities. He’s the creator of the CBC series ‘About Here’, where he explores topics such as underground streams, zoning reform, public washrooms, streetfood, and much much more. In addition to his CBC series, Uytae also works with government organizations and advocacy groups to develop educational videos and hosts his own YouTube channel. Check out more of his work at



For more information contact:

College of Sustainability Reception Desk            

Debra Ross                                                     
Manager of Outreach and Partnerships