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Climate Change Initiative Events


The event flyers are in pdf format and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view any pdf files. It can be download for free from the Adobe website

March 18, 2019, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m, Olney 202 "Energy/Water Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities in the Water Sector" Madeline Snow, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production.

This interactive seminar will explore: (1) energy use in wastewater and drinking water facilities; (2) a process to identify opportunities for reducing energy use; and (3) real-world examples of sustainability practices, equipment and technology.

Madeline Snow is a staff member of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production. She works with organizations to improve energy performance, environmental compliance and sustainability.  She facilitated energy workshops for wastewater and drinking water facilities in all 6 New England states. She is currently working with a public transit authority, public school district, and food/beverage processors to change practices to become more environmentally, fiscally and socially sustainable.  She has a B.A. in Biology/Environmental studies from New College of Florida and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School. Sponsored by the Climate Change Initiative and the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

April 8, 2019, 2 – 3 p.m., Olney 202, "Renewable Energy or Worse Than Coal? The Real Climate Impacts of Wood Bioenergy," with Juliette Rooney-Varga,

The US, EU, China, and other governments around the world define wood as a carbon-neutral, renewable energy source and, in many cases, actively encourage its use through subsidies and other policies. In Massachusetts, wood bioenergy is subsidized by taxpayers and included in the energy mix used by corporations and institutions seeking carbon neutrality. We used a dynamic life cycle analysis to determine the carbon and climate impacts of wood bioenergy over policy-relevant time horizons. We find that the climate impacts of wood bioenergy are far from carbon neutral and is often worse than coal.

Juliette Rooney-Varga is an expert on climate change and sustainability. She is the director of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative and associate professor of environmental science. Sponsored by the Climate Change Initiative and the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

A colorful sign that reads "Earth Day" is exposed on the street during the Lowell Earth Day festivities. Photo by Meghan Moore of MegPix
A colorful sign that reads "Earth Day" exposed on the streets of Lowell during the local Earth Day festivities.

Sunday, May 5, 2019, The 2019 Lowell Earth Day Festival & Parade, at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. Get the most up-to-date 2019 Lowell Earth Day information on the Lowell Earth Day website

Celebrate Earth day with over 50 organizations that stage events to celebrate Lowell’s sustainability in all of its aspects – environmental, artistic and cultural and participate in Lowell's Earth Day Festival & Parade at the end of April or beginning of May.

To learn more about the event and to see photographs of past events please visit the Lowell Earth Day website.

Earlier Events


November 29, Sowing SEEDs of Sustainability
A presentation of both student research in sustainability and pertinent resources on campus, followed by a SEED Fund brainstorming session. Free refreshments.  

December 5, Invisibilities: Seeing and Unseeing the Anthropocene
An exploration of how images can shape our understanding of climate and environment. Presented by Peter L. Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, and Caroline A. Jones, Professor of Art History at MIT, followed by a panel discussion with Juliette Rooney-Varga, Climate Change Initiative and EEAS, and Misha Rabinovich, Art & Design. No registration required, just show up!

September 25, 2018, Gina McCarthy “Environmental Protection, Health Equity and Impact: Investing for a Sustainable Future”

Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years. She served under President Barack Obama as the 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 2013–2017.

Gina is currently Professor of Practice of Public Health and Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard School of Public Health. She leads the development of the School’s strategy in climate science, health, and sustainability.

She also currently acts as an Operating Advisor at Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm in New York focused on the intersection of global sustainability, health and wellness.

The Lunchtime Lectures are co-sponsored by the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series and the UMass Lowell Office of Community Relations. Additional UMass Lowell Co-Sponsors include Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, Francis College of Engineering, Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Climate Change Initiative.

September 20, 2018, Dartmouth historian, Annelise Orleck, " We are all Fast-food Workers Now: Global Uprising against Poverty Wages." Historian Annelise Orleck will speak at a forum for students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

  • Professor Orleck will explore globalization as seen through the eyes of the worker-activists in cities and countries around the world, and illustrate how workers have been fighting back against exploitation and precarious working conditions in a variety of industries. Orleck is professor of history at Dartmouth College; she has written on women's activism, black mothers in the war on poverty, Soviet Jewish Americans, and more. The book "'We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now:' The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages" will be available for purchase and signing after the event. This event is co-sponsored by: American Studies, the Bachelor of Liberal Arts, the Center for Asian American Studies, the Center for Women and Work, Economics, Gender Studies, GRACE/MTA, History, the Labor Education Program, NEJB-UNITE HERE, Peace and Conflict Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Race and Ethnic Studies, SEIU 888, Sociology, the Climate Change Initiative and the Tsongas Industrial History Center.

May 3, 2018, "Which energy source has lower carbon emissions: renewable wood or fossil coal? Dynamic life cycle analysis of wood bioenergy" by Juliette Rooney-Varga, Associate Professor of Environmental Science. Juliette N. Rooney-Varga directs the Climate Change Initiative at UMass Lowell and is an Associate Professor of environmental science. Her research in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry has included marine algal blooms, climate change-carbon cycle feedbacks in Arctic peatlands, and anaerobic microbial community dynamics and performance in microbial fuel cells. Her recent work, funded by NASA and NSF, is focused on climate change education, communication, and decision support.

April 12, 2018, "Dancing Madly Backwards Into the Third Carbon Era: Fracking, Climate Denial, and The New Energy Backlash Under Trump," by Anthony E. Ladd, Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and The Environment Program at Loyola University New Orleans. Ladd’s recent work analyzes the impacts of natural gas fracking, and the growing socio-environmental threats posed by our continued reliance on fossil fuels and unconventional energy development. He serves as an advisor to an NSF grant on wastewater induced seismicity in Colorado and Oklahoma, and is researching the growth of “Frackademia” and the influx of corporate oil and gas funding into higher education.

April 19, 2018, "The Sustainable Urban University" Panel Discussion. The meaning of sustainability is evolving. Colleges and universities are at the forefront of efforts to preserve the earth’s resources for current and future generations. These include the pursuit of carbon neutrality, adoption of renewable energy technologies, green building strategies, and related initiatives. For the urban university, this process cannot be done in a vacuum. Universities must work together with their host, and surrounding, communities to find inclusive ways to collectively approach sustainability, resiliency, and climate mitigation. Information at our Facebook events page.

Panelists : Karen Cirillo, Lowell City Councilor; Ger Mullally, Department of Sociology, University College Cork; John O'Halloran, Deputy President and Registrar, University College Cork; Ruairi O'Mahony, Director, Office of Sustainability, UMass Lowell; John Saltmarsh, Professor of Higher Education, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Moderated by: John Wooding, Climate Change Initiative, UMass Lowell

April 18 - 22, 2018, Earth Week Festival of Learning, Various locations and times throughout Lowell and on the university campus. April 19 events include: a Panel Discussion of The Sustainable Urban University (see above), a workshop on Bike Maintenance, and a walk in Lowell that covers 300 Years of History within 300 Yards, a tour and discussion of UMass Lowell Greenhouse and Urban Agriculture at UMass Lowell, and more. Find out more about the Lowell Earth Day Events.

April 24, 2018: "Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance" by Frank Ackerman, Environmental Economist; co-sponsored by Economics Department. Frank Ackerman is a principal economist at Synapse. An environmental economist who has written widely on energy, climate change, and related issues, he is well known for his critiques of overly narrow cost-benefit analyses of environmental protection, among other topics. He has directed studies and reports for clients ranging from Greenpeace to the European Parliament, including many state agencies, international organizations, and leading environmental groups. His books include Climate Change and Global Equity (2014), Climate Economics: The State of the Art (2013), Can We Afford the Future? (2009), and Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing (2004). His latest book is Worst Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance (2018). Information: Frank Ackerman's Worst-Case Economics website page, Facebook events page.

April 7, 2018: The mission of The Climate Race is to raise funds to advance renewable energy research for a sustainable future. Funds will support UMass Lowell groups leading research and education efforts on renewable energy and climate change: the Center for Wind Energy, Energy Engineering Program, and the Climate Change Initiative. You can help their efforts to make renewable energy cheaper and more widespread and thereby help mitigate the effects of climate change. Visit the Climate Race Climate Race website for info. Many community members, faculty and students shall be participating, and we hope you will join them! This family friendly event is located at the Sampas Pavilion, part of Lowell Heritage State Park.

April 5, 2018: "Massachusetts State Energy Policy," by Rachel Evans. Rachel Graham Evans is Deputy General Counsel at the MA Department of Energy Resources, where she promotes energy efficiency, system reliability, and renewable energy sources, and represents these interests before federal and state administrative agencies. Rachel is also the Massachusetts designee to implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first carbon cap and trade program. The comments presented are her own personal view, and she is not speaking on behalf of her agency or the Commonwealth.

February 12, 2018: "Climate change adaptation and mitigation in the private sector: A review of the current research in the management discipline" by Peter Tashman, Assistant Professor of Management, UMass Lowell.

January 18, 2018: CCI Faculty Annual Retreat

January 11, 2018: Faculty Showcase: Climate Change, Internationally renowned climate-change expert Juliette Rooney-Varga will lead an interactive program to demonstrate what it would take to create a stable climate and a thriving “green” economy. Rooney-Varga, director of UMass Lowell’s Climate Change Initiative and an environmental biology professor, is the developer of role-playing exercises that show what it’s like to negotiate international climate-change agreements.