Institute for Sustainable Development


Our Sustainable Future - CSU, Chico

This Way to Sustainability Conference X
Keynote and Featured Presentations

Thursday - Scott McNall Thursday - Dennis Dimick Thursday - Dune Lankard
Friday - Jose Gonzalez Friday - Second Nature Friday - Patricia Dutcher
Friday - Marissa Mommaerts Full Thursday Schedule Full Friday Schedule
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scott McNall


Scott G. McNall, Founder of the Institute for Sustainable Development

Keynote Presentation:

Inequality: Why it doesn’t work, can’t work, and why it threatens resiliency

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
BMU Auditorium

Democracy and an agenda for sustainability are threatened by inequality.  All humans, regardless of where they live, have basic needs that must be met if they are to be full participants in the societies in which they live.  Inequality destroys human and social capital, reduces trust, weakens societies, and threatens their ability to adapt and change.  The conditions that threaten our future include not just climate change but a political agenda that seeks to destroy social safety nets while at the same time reducing environmental regulations.  The political and economic forces driving an agenda that imperils all of us are outlined and an agenda for resilience is offered.

Scott G. McNall was the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at California State University, Chico and served as the University’s provost from 1994-2007.  He served as Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Toledo, before coming to Chico State.  He has held professorial positions at the University of Minnesota, Arizona State University, and the University of Kansas, where he served as chair of the Department of Sociology.  He now lives with his wife Sally and their two cats in Missoula, Montana where he is an Affiliated Faculty Member at the University of Montana.  Over his career he has written extensively on issues related to equality, social class, sustainability, and resilience.  His most recent publications include, Rapid Climate Change: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions; The Business of Sustainability (ed.); and the forthcoming The Problem of Inequality: Why It Threatens Democracy, Reduces Resilience, and Creates Mistrust. Recent articles include “Teaching the Sociology of Climate Change” and “A New Narrative for Sustainability.”
See Thursday 3:00 - 2nd Presentation


Dennis Dimick

Dennis Dimick,
Executive Editor, Environment / National Geographic Magazine

Keynote Presentation:

Stewardship in the Anthropocene

Thursday, March 26, 2015
BMU Auditorium
2:00-2:50 pm

A narrated visual tour and provocation: For most of human existence we survived on current sunshine – wood, water, and wind – to power society. Then over the past few hundred years we discovered fossil sunshine – coal, oil, and natural gas – to power our lives. We now primarily rely on this ancient sunlight, the fossilized carbon remains of ancient plants and animals, to turn our wheels and light our world. Fossil fuels have allowed an extraordinary expansion of our food supply, our material wealth, and our population. We have transformed our finite planet – the land, seas, and atmosphere – with a seemingly infinite expansion of our dominion over Earth. Scientists and others have begun calling this new human-dominated era The Anthropocene, or "Age of Man." Trend lines show our conquest isn't sustainable, wild habitats and species are disappearing, and our planet is slowly being polluted and cooked by the effluent of our expanding aspirations. Is it possible to create a soft landing for civilization? What will it take? How can ingenuity, wisdom, and those same fossil fuels build a bridge to a sustainable future powered primarily once again by current sunlight? 

Dennis Dimick serves as executive environment editor at National Geographic magazine. He has guided creation of several major projects including an April 2010 issue on global freshwater, a 2011 series called “7 Billion” on global population, and the 2014 Future of Food series on global food security. In Sept. 2004 he originated and orchestrated creation of a 74-page three-story project on climate change called “Global Warning: Bulletins from a Warmer World.”

Dimick co-organized the Aspen Environment Forum from 2008-2012, and regularly presents slide show lectures on global environmental issues. He holds degrees in agriculture and agricultural journalism from Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For 17 years he has been a faculty member of the Missouri Photo Workshop, and in 2013 received the Sprague Memorial Award from the National Press Photographers Association for outstanding service to photojournalism. He is a native of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he grew up on a sheep and hay farm, and was a member for many years of 4-H and Future Farmers of America (now FFA.)


Dune Lankard

Dune Lankard,
Eyak Preservation Council

Keynote Presentation:

Green Race: Building Sustainable Economies and Resilient Communities for Our Future

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
BMU Auditorium
4:00-5:00 pm

The world economy and environment is changing at such a rapid rate that we as a human race need to re-define what is important to us and needed. We have to be aware and dedicated in order to thrive and coexist in a world where fresh air and clean healthy water is traded in for profits, and where ocean acidification and loss of critical habitat could lead to chaos and mass extinction in our lifetimes. Although a serious and perilous topic, Dune has amazing experiences and successful outcomes, and he wants to share ideas and stories on what's possible and is happening during these earth changing times. The race to be Green is on, so come on board!      

Dune Lankard is a strategic and guiding force for the Eyak Preservation Council (EPC). The morning he found his homelands covered with crude from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster he turned from full-time commercial fisherman to dedicated and determined social change artist/community activist. Dune was named an Ashoka Fellow, Prime Movers Fellow, Future of Fish Cohort and awarded an Alaska Marketplace for his social entrepreneurial work. He was recently chosen to join Patagonia's Wild Salmon Sourcing Team and sits on numerous boards such as EPC, the Native Conservancy, RED OIL, FIRE Fund, Bioneers, International Funders for Indigenous Peoples and on the advisory board of the Seva Foundation. 


Friday, March 27, 2015

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez,
Latino Outdoors

Featured Presentation:

Yo Cuento: Storytelling for Inclusion and Connecting with Communities

Friday, March 27, 2015
BMU 203 11:00-11:45

Join us to identify the stories, the narratives, embedded in the work we do as conservationist and how they connect, or disconnect with different communities. Find ways to connect the power of stories to validate community experiences and how they relate to the science and sociology of how communities connect with nature and the outdoors. We’ll reflect on examples of cultural relevancy and how stories are entry points for discussions of bias, privilege, diversity, and inclusion.

José G. González is an educator with experience in formal and informal education in the arts, education, conservation, and the environment. He has broad experience as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. His recent work is founding and developing Latino Outdoors. Latino Outdoors is a growing community as a network and volunteer-run organization. Latino Outdoors exists to “connect cultura with the outdoors”. The focus is on promoting a network of like-minded professionals, supporting outdoor leadership capacity-building opportunities for youth and young adults, and serving as a storytelling platform for defining the ambicultural identity connecting Latino communities and the outdoors. This is done by leveraging the Latino Outdoors professional community for career and training opportunities, using volunteer staff positions to build the leadership of young professionals, providing family-oriented outings, and other workshop and speaking engagements. 






Anne Waple, Second Nature
Thresholds of Change: Creating Positive Impact in a Changing Climate

Friday, March 27, 2015
BMU Auditorium 12:00-12:50

Second Nature logo


This presentation will address how creating a leadership network, and crossing a threshold of participants, can spur a broader change. We will also address how climate thresholds themselves have influenced action, and how action itself is evolving and becoming 'mature' at a variety of levels. 

Dr. Anne Waple is the Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Second Nature where her main focus areas are climate resilience and novel approaches to data systems and exchanges. Before joining Second Nature, Anne worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for over 12 years where she led global 'state of the climate' reports, led monthly, seasonal, and annual U.S. climate monitoring, and most recently, directed NOAA's climate assessment program for the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA). Anne chaired the NCA Technical Support Unit, was Vice Chair of the Interagency National Climate Assessment Task Force, and co-chaired the development of the brand new interagency Global Change Information System. Anne received her PhD in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts, assessing the role of greenhouse gases versus changes in solar irradiance in recent and likely future climate change.



Patricia Dutcher

Patricia Dutcher,

Featured Presentation:

Building Resilient Communities through Community-Based Research

Friday, March 27th, 2015
BMU Auditorium 2:00-2:50 pm

This presentation describes case studies of local perspectives on water, energy, and climate.  I discuss how local views can contribute to the policy and technology developments needed to promote community resiliency and sustainability on a larger scale.

Patricia Dutcher is a native of Northern California, having graduated high school in Marysville, CA, just an hour southeast of Chico. She is a pioneer alumnus of California State University Monterey Bay where she studied environmental education, as well as ecology and policy, during its inaugural years.  She received her Masters of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She taught at the University of Nevada Las Vegas for ten years where she developed several introductory courses for climate change and environmental studies. She has extensive experience working with public lands conducting outreach, education, and interpretation programs. She also has experience with the non-profit sector working with the Sierra Club and the renewable energy community in Southern Nevada.  She will be presenting her dissertation research during her presentation discussing community-based research with conservative stakeholders.


Marissa Mommaerts

Marissa Mommaerts,
Transition US

Keynote Presentation:

A Resilient Response to Our Planetary Crisis

Friday, March 27, 2015
BMU Auditorium 4:00-5:00 pm

We live in uncertain times, but across the country and around the world people are taking practical, creative action to slow climate change and regenerate communities and ecosystems, at the same time building resilience to the converging ecological and economic challenges we face. From learning how to work with nature and getting to know our neighbors, to reclaiming the commons and re-thinking our economy, learn about practical and inspiring models for sustainability that can truly change the world."

Marissa Mommaerts is the Communications Manager at Transition US and the former Communications Manager at Post Carbon Institute. She joined Transition US after six years working with government, civil society, and the private sector to promote just and sustainable solutions to poverty and public health crises. Previously she worked at The Aspen Institute coordinating a global communications project on reproductive health and population growth. Marissa has a Master’s Degree in International Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she co-founded a sustainable development partnership between UW students and an island community in Lake Victoria, Uganda.