Institute for Sustainable Development


Our Sustainable Future - CSU, Chico

This Way to Sustainability Conference XIII
Keynote and Featured Speakers


This page continues to be updated as planning continues.
Please join us in welcoming the following keynote and featured speakers this year:

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Cheri Chastain

Cheri Chastain, Sustainability Manager
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Brewing a Successful Sustainability Program

11:00-11:45 in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co has been nationally recognized as a leader in sustainability. With craft brewing’s largest solar array, the first HotRot composter in the US, and the City of Chico’s first public electric vehicle charging stations, Sierra Nevada serves as a role model for other businesses – demonstrating what is possible when you put your mind to it. Sierra Nevada also works outside their walls to impact sustainable change within their communities and lend their voice to sustainable policies at the federal level. Cheri Chastain has been at the helm of Sierra Nevada’s sustainability efforts since 2006 and will share her lessons learned along this journey. She will share successes, not so successes, and leave you inspired to take action.



Thursday, March 15th, 2018

David Montgomery

David Montgomery, MacArthur Fellow, Author, and Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

2:15-3:00 in the Bell Memorial Union, Rm 203

David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki. 

In Growing a Revolution David R. Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing soil back to life remarkably fast.  Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores why practices based on theprinciples of conservation agriculture help restore soil health and fertility. Drawing on visits to farms in the industrialized and developing worlds he finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides a profitable recipe to rebuild soil organic matter. Farmers using these unconventional practices cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while relying on far less, if any, fertilizer and pesticides.

These practices are good for farmers and the environment. Using less fossil fuel and agrochemicals while maintaining crop yields helps farmers with their bottom line. Regenerative practices also translate into farms that use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions—and stash an impressive amount of carbon underground. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Growing a Revolution lays out a case for an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet and restore life to the land.

Growing a Revolution cover Hidden Half of Nature cover

Book signing to follow



Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail, Independent Reporter, Journalist and Author

Update on the State of the Planet: How Then Shall We Live?

3:30-5:00 pm at the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium

In late 2003, weary of the overall failure of the US media to accurately report on the realities of the war in Iraq for the Iraqi people, Dahr Jamail went to the Middle East to report on the war himself, where he has spent more than one year in Iraq as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country. Dahr has also has reported from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. He has also reported extensively on veterans’ resistance against US foreign policy, and is now focusing on anthropogenic climate disruption and the environment.

Dahr’s stories have been published with Truthout, Inter Press Service, Tom Dispatch, The Sunday Herald in Scotland, The Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, The Huffington Post, The Nation, The Independent, and Al Jazeera, among others. Dahr’s writing has been translated into French, Polish, German, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Turkish. On radio as well as television, Dahr has reported for Democracy Now! and Al-Jazeera, and has appeared on the BBC, NPR, and numerous other stations around the globe.

Dahr’s reporting has earned him numerous awards, including the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism, The Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, and five Project Censored awards.


Friday, March 16th, 2018

Matthew St. Clair

Matthew St. Clair, Director of Sustainability
University of California's Office of the President

Carbon Neutrality and Why Universities Should Be Trying to Attain It

9:00-9:45 in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium

Matthew St.Clair is the first Director of Sustainability for the University of California's Office of the President, leading sustainability efforts across the 10-campus UC system since 2004.

Mr. St.Clair was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Strategic Energy Innovations, a non-profit organization implementing energy conservation and sustainability education programs in California.

Mr. St.Clair has delivered lectures at numerous universities, been an invited keynote speaker at several regional and national conferences, and has advised the U.S. House of Representatives on the formation of an Office of Sustainability for the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. St.Clair has a Masters degree in environmental policy from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley and a Bachelors degree in economics from Swarthmore College. He is a LEED Accredited Professional.


Friday, March 16th, 2018

Kimberly Prather

Kimberly Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, UC San Diego

How are Humans Contributing to Climate Change and What Can We Do to Make a Difference?

1:15-2:00 in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium

Kimberly Prather holds a joint appointment as a Distinguished Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego. She is the founding Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation, Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment ( Professor Prather has co-authored ~200 peer-reviewed publications and holds 5 patents for novel instruments currently being used to determine the sources of air pollution in Asia, India, South America, Europe, Mexico City, and the United States. In addition to their use in air pollution research, these instruments are now also being used in a wide range of areas including health-related research, pharmaceutical industry, nanomaterial characterization, and on-line single cell analysis for diseases including cancer.

Research in the Prather group involves studies which are improving our understanding of the sources of air pollution and the role of aerosols in climate change, including aircraft-based measurements of aerosol impacts on cloud properties and precipitation processes. Recently, the Prather group discovered that dust from as far away as Africa increases the amount snowfall over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. They are now exploring the factors contributing to the increased frequency of floods and droughts.

Professor Prather has received a number of prestigious awards including most recently the Haagen Smit Clean Air Award, UC San Diego Faculty Research Lecturer, and the American Chemical Society Eminent Scientist Lecturer, ACS Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology.  She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the American Geophysical Union.