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100 Exciting Lectures on All Things Green


While some may believe that going green is a passing fad, the reality is that thinking about sustainability and ways to reduce modern society’s impact on the environment is vital for the health of both the planet and the people on it. No matter what you may be studying in college, there is likely a connection to your field and sustainability. Whether you want to explore ways to implement these ideas in your own future career or are interested in finding out about sustainability efforts across a variety of fields, these lectures will give you insight.

Green Politics and Policy

Learn about the politics and policymaking surrounding sustainability and the environment with these lectures.

  1. Why We Can’t Leave the Planet to the Environmentalists. Michael Shellenberger discusses current climate change policy and what needs to happen to make green energy affordable and accessible.
  2. Saving the Environment: Community Consciousness. Several community leaders come together here to describe how other community leaders can raise public awareness of environmental responsibility.
  3. Blessed Unrest: The Environmental Movement. Paul Hawkin details the history of the environmental movement as well as the ideas and strategies behind the movement.
  4. Transitioning to a Sustainable Energy Economy. Learn what difficulties may be in store for America as the country moves toward a sustainable energy policy.
  5. Science, Politics, and Environmental Policy. Download these lecture notes from a class at MIT that explores the role of science in US environmental policymaking.
  6. Sustainable Development: Theory, Research and Policy. Check out these lecture notes from this political science class at MIT.
  7. Fundamentals of Public Policy. About one half of this class’ lecture notes cover public policy as it pertains to the environment, energy, and health.
  8. Reading Seminar in Social Science: The Geopolitics and Geoeconomics of Global Energy. Learn about global energy and market power in the notes from this poli-sci class.
  9. Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy. From the Sloan School of Management, get lecture notes that cover the scientific, economic, and ecological considerations that go into climate change policymaking.
  10. Resolving Public Disputes. Explore public policy disputes by examining some real-life examples, including disputes over waste management, wetlands, and endangered species.

Green Business

From running businesses with an eye on ecology or learning how venture capitalists are investing their money in green technology, these lectures cover several aspects of green business.

  1. How to Make Money and Save the World. Gary Hinsberg and Nancy Koehn discuss how companies are going green and making money at the same time.
  2. Rob Watson, Father of LEED, Talks Green. Learn about why the green building movement is so important from Rob Watson.
  3. Environmental Entrepreneurship Over Non-Profit. Learn why for-profit businesses will drive the change for solutions, leaving non-profits to make the important longer-term policy changes.
  4. European Advances in Green Energy. Listen to this lecture discussing the way Europeans are leading in the green energy technology and what it will take for America to catch up.
  5. The Role of Markets in Addressing Social Problems. This lecture focuses on the role of markets in addressing social problems, and more specifically, sustainability.
  6. Trends in Venture Capital Interest. Beth Seidenberg discusses the latest trends in venture capital investing–with the majority falling in green technologies.
  7. Sustainable Enterprise: The Next Industrial Revolution. Look at both sides of the issue as to whether the growth in industry and technology will contribute to climate change or work as a model for sustainable development.
  8. The Networks of (Green) Innovation. Learn what Professor Andrew Hargadon of the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis has to say about green innovations in energy.
  9. Can a "Green" Business Also be a Profitable One?. The CEO of Stoneyfield Farm provides his answer on the possibility of a business being both green and profitable.
  10. What is Low-Carbon Investing?. Jesse Fink explains clean tech initiatives and those in which MissionPoint Capital Partners are investing.
  11. The Business Of Wind – Bloomberg. Find out about the growing business of natural energy resources.
  12. Good Energy Films – Powering a Green Business. Discover how this small business owner uses renewable energy sources.
  13. Michael Dell Talks Green at IT Energy Efficiency Summit. Listen as Michael Dell talks about taking his company to carbon neutrality.
  14. The Thriving Green Economy. Investing in green economies can be a smart business move in addition to a good idea for the Earth.
  15. Green Business. Use this hotel as an example of going green and making a profit.
  16. Andrew Shapiro discusses Green Business. The founder and CEO of Green Order shares how businesses that are going green are ahead of the curve in business.
  17. Starting a Business: Making a Green Business. Learn what the founder of Sweet Leaf Tea has to say on starting a business using eco-friendly resources.
  18. Developmental Entrepreneurship. Examine real-life examples of successful and failed entrepreneurship ventures in developing countries where environmental concerns are often a consideration.

Green Urban Development

Designing and developing urban living spaces must be done with sustainability in mind. These lectures provide a glimpse into how that is currently being done.

  1. Creating Green Cities. Learn how cities can be designed to become economically and environmentally sustainable.
  2. Creating Green Cities & More Sustainable Landscapes. This panel discusses how urban and suburban living spaces can become more green.
  3. This Land: Development in America. Anthony Flint discusses the negative effects of urban sprawl on the environment.
  4. Planning for Sustainable Development. These lecture notes are rather brief, but include awesome links to real examples of sustainable development going on across the US and Europe.
  5. Introduction to Urban Design and Development. Explore the processes that go into designing and developing urban spaces.
  6. International Environmental Negotiation. These lecture notes cover some of the obstacles of achieving sustainability and some actual treaty negotiations that attempt to overcome these problems.
  7. Civil Society and the Environment. Get two sets of lecture notes from this graduate-level class at MIT including an introduction to the course and a look at social movements and NGOs.
  8. Ecologies of Construction. These lecture notes offer a look at the field of industrial ecology where materials and energy are considered in making ecologically sound practices.
  9. Urban Transportation Planning. Take an in-depth look at all the considerations that must go into balancing the planning of urban transportation, including economics, public approval, and the environment.
  10. Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Planning in Developing Countries. Examine ways to design water and sanitation infrastructure in developing countries by considering social, ecological, economic, and health issues.
  11. CityScope: New Orleans. Explore practical and sustainable solutions for solving design and redevelopment problems within the city of New Orleans.

Green Lifestyle, Art, and Architecture

From designing eco-friendly buildings to creating a carbon-free home to the greening of museums, discover how lifestyles, art, and architecture are being changed by the green movement.

  1. Confessions of an Eco-Sinner. Fred Pearce explores the impact on the environment of living a Western lifestyle.
  2. Carbon-Free Home. Listen to this couple who wrote the book, Carbon-Free Home, as they describe ways homeowners can remodel their home without relying on fossil fuels.
  3. Sustaining Life: A Conversation. Learn why humans can no longer afford to view themselves as separate from the natural world.
  4. Alex Steffen sees a sustainable future. Steffen argues that with the Western lifestyle spreading around the world, it is vital to reduce humanity’s footprint now.
  5. Green Museum. Sarah S. Brophy discusses the greening of museums, the progress the curators have made, and what they need to do for the future.
  6. Artists in Context: New Conversations, Ideas, and Projects I. This panel discussion revolves around art and its role in protest and policy-making when it comes to social issues such as the environment.
  7. This Land Is OUR Land . . . Greening Architecture, Ethics and the Environment. UK-based architect Ian Ritchie discusses his work in sustainable design.
  8. Energy Roundup 2009 Keynote – Toby Hemenway (1 of 6). Hemenway discusses permaculture as a solution to sustainable design and lifestyle.
  9. Grand Designs Live: Building with straw bales 1. Find out about the eco-friendly practice of building with straw bales.
  10. Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature. Learn about sustainable designs that are inspired by nature in this entertaining lecture.
  11. Edward Burtynsky on manufactured landscapes. This professional photographer discusses his hope that his landscapes that show humanity’s impact on the land can inspire viewers to begin thinking and talking about sustainability.

Food and Sustainability

These lectures talk about something near and dear to many–food. The impact of food and agriculture can be devastating to the planet, so learn how sustainable eating can reverse these effects.

  1. Louise Fresco on feeding the whole world. Fresco offers an entertaining lecture explaining how mass-produced bread can help feed the world while also leaving room for traditionally made breads.
  2. Dan Barber’s foie gras parable. Get a lesson in sustainability from this lecture about a farm in Spain that humanely raises geese to produce some of the most delicious foie gras in the world.
  3. Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food. Discover a massive seed bank buried deep in a frozen mountain in Norway that serves as a protective storage site for every type of seed available.
  4. Slow Food Nation: Re-Localizing Food. Explore the idea of building a local food system with this panel discussion.
  5. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – A Lecture by Michael Pollan. Michael Pollan talks about information from his book, including where our food comes from and how it gets to us.
  6. Michael Pollen gives a plant’s-eye view. In in another lecture given by Michael Pollan, he asks the audience to see the world from a plant’s perspective.
  7. Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat. Mark Bittman talks about how Americans eat and what’s wrong with it in this entertaining and highly informative lecture.
  8. Ann Cooper talks school lunches. Ann Cooper is the Director of Nutrition Services for Berkeley schools and discusses why she feels it’s important to serve local, sustainable, and organic food to students.
  9. Alicia Silverstone: Sexiest Vegetarian Alive. Silverstone discusses the benefits of eating a plant-based diet here.
  10. Greg Page on Global Food and Agriculture Markets. Listen to Greg Page, President and CEO of Cargill, discuss global food, agriculture markets, and energy.
  11. Building a Slow Food Nation (1 of 2). Several leaders in the Slow Food movement discuss the importance of building a slow food nation.
  12. Building a Slow Food Nation (2 of 2). The second part of this series continues the conversation on the importance of slow food.

Wildlife, Ecosystems, and Conservation

These lectures discuss the ways in which wildlife and ecosystems are suffering and how they are being saved.

  1. Natural History, Aesthetics, and Conservation. Harry W. Green answers the question of why should we care about nature in his discussion that draws off the teachings of Charles Darwin and Immanuel Kant.
  2. The Acoustic World of Whales. Dr. Marsha Green works with humpback whales in Hawaii and discusses both their communication and the ill-effects of noise pollution on marine mammals.
  3. Vernal Pool Conservation. Learn about conservation in forested wetlands and vernal pools from expert, Aram Calhoun.
  4. Saving Georgia’s Dolphins. Find out how The Dolphin Project is working to save Georgia’s coastal ecosystem as well as the bottlenose dolphins’ habitat.
  5. Sea Turtles as Sentinels of Ecological Health: Linking Sea to Shore. Explore the connection between the health of animals and the health of the ecosystem using sea turtles as an example.
  6. After the Hunting Stopped: Whales and Wildlife in the Auckland Islands. The wildlife in the Auckland Islands provides a unique opportunity to see oceanic animals in an environment not affected by widespread human activity.
  7. Coral Reefs in Danger. Learn about the state of coral reefs and how they could be entirely destroyed in the near future.
  8. Water War: Georgia vs. Florida vs. Alabama. Find out about the 18 year struggle between these three states for water rights.
  9. Gorilla Conservation and the Karisoke Center. The Karisoke Center is the longest-running field research programs in the world, and Katie Fawcett discusses the current work being done there.
  10. Into Myanmar: A Tiger’s Eyeview. Examine the tiger’s fight for survival in the country of Myanmar.
  11. David Helvarg: Fifty Ways to Save the Ocean. Helvarg provides his ideas for how communities can save the oceans, from preventing agricultural run-off to eliminating overfishing.
  12. Ocean Exploration and Conservation. Gregory S. Stone provides information on research and conservation efforts going on around the world.
  13. Study in Ecology: Decline of the Sugar Maples. Richard Hallett looks at the current decline of the sugar maples in the context of issues facing national forests.
  14. Frontline: Poisoned Waters. This presentation includes a sneak peek at Frontline’s upcoming feature and a panel discussion exploring why the waters of two of the nation’s great coastal estuaries are in the condition they are some 30 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act.
  15. Dr. Wangari Maathai’s Unabridged Lecture at Concordia University, Sep. 28, 2009. This world-renowned activist talks about her vision of change that can take place in the realm of environmental conservation. Dr. Maathai starts about 18 minutes into the video.

Climate Change

Explore the topic of climate change with these lectures.

  1. Connecting Corals and Climate Change. Assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology Kim Cobb discusses corals and what they say about climate change.
  2. Plan B 2.0. Lester Brown speaks on the contents of his book where he outlines solutions for a society and environment facing problems such as oil and water shortages and climate change.
  3. Is Global Warming Impacting North Atlantic Right Whales?. Learn about how global warming is affecting the highly-endangered right whales and the implications that go beyond just these whales.
  4. London Climate Diet: Guide to Tackling Global Warming. Allan Jones discusses proven ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will also save money.
  5. Global Warming: Communicating Science Through Film. This panel discussion focuses on how filmmakers can raise awareness and engage the public in reducing their impact on the environment.
  6. Arctic Warming. National Geographic sent photographer Jonathan Waterman to the Arctic on assignment, and what Waterman discovered there as a result of global warming and Arctic oil drilling was shocking.
  7. Daniel Schrag: Geoengineering. Harvard professor, Daniel Schrag, states global warming is much worse than people realize, offers suggestions specifically for the Boston area, and discusses the practice of geoengineering to reverse the effects of global warming.
  8. Assessing the Health of the Environment I. Robert Watson discusses evidence of global warming with scientists in this series of lectures based on the results of the 2005 report of the U.N. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
  9. Assessing the Health of the Environment II. Part two of the series finds Watson asking what the Earth would look like if current trends continue and what can be done about climate change.
  10. Assessing the Health of the Environment III. The last of this series focuses on changes in ecosystems and the effects on humanity.
  11. Red Sky at Morning: Crisis of the Global Environment. Yale professor, James Speth discusses data on global warming, why some initiatives have failed, and what may happen if the problem is not addressed.

Sustainable Energy

One of the biggest contributors to global warming is the use of fossil fuels. Discover what is happing in the field of sustainable energy here.

  1. Hopeful Future: Alternative Energy and Transportation. CEO of PlugPower, Roger Saillant discusses why America should be hopeful about the future of alternative energy.
  2. Jay Hakes: Declaring Energy Independence. Hakes outlines how America can reclaim energy independence with the ideas from his book.
  3. Learning from the Past: Sustainable Life with Renewable Energy. Discover what can be learned from Shakers when it comes to renewable energy and sustainability.
  4. Meeting Global Energy Demands Sustainably. Two professors from MIT discuss America’s dependency on fossil fuels and attitudes that are hindering progress away from this dependency.
  5. New Technologies in a Sustainable Energy Economy. Learn about living fuel cells and other new energy technologies in this discussion with Dan Nocera and Angela Belcher from MIT.
  6. The Quest for Energy Independence: From Nixon to Reagan. Listen as Jay E. Hakes discusses information from his book about America’s movement towards energy independence.
  7. The Culture of Green Transportation: BioDiesel Explained. An expert describes the way biodiesel fuel works in cars.
  8. Alternative Options: Where Will You Fuel Up in 2015?. This panel discussion focuses on alternative fuels for transportation in the near future.
  9. Future of Driving: What Will Be on the Road in 2015?. Hear about cars powered by natural gas, all electric, and hydrogen fuel cells in this video.
  10. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies in New England. Find out what it would take to move toward a hydrogen economy in the New England.
  11. Sustainable Energy. Get several lecture notes from this class offered at MIT that looks at current and potential future energy sources.
  12. Energy, Environment, and Society. These notes include lecture topics on energy consumption, climate, and preparing for public speaking on these issues.

November 18th, 2009 written by Staff Writers

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