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Sustainability Solutions Café

The Sustainability Solutions Café - an interdisciplinary speaker series supported by the Porter Family Fund for the Sustainability Minor - features practitioners and scholars who are pioneering solutions to a diversity of sustainability problems, sharing their ideas through café-style discussions with interested members of the Dartmouth and broader community.

Cafés feature practitioners and scholars whose work pursues viable and innovative solutions to a pressing sustainability challenges and may focus on specific topics, such as energy, food systems, or climate change; issues of health, equity and social justice; or engage with wider themes, such as Sustainability and Business or Sustainability in Higher Education.



Nominate a speaker:

Faculty and students are encouraged to nominate a practitioner or scholar for a Sustainability Solutions Café.  To nominate a speaker, please fill out the following form:

Upcoming Cafés:

Monday, October 20 - "Food Rebels, Guerilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin' Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agriculture"


Mark Winne has worked for 40 years as a community food activist, writer, and trainer. From organizing breakfast programs for low-income children in Maine to developing innovative national food policies in Washington, DC, Winne has dedicated his professional life and writing to enabling people to find solutions to their own food problems as well as those that face their communities and the world.

Monday, October 20, 2014
4:00 - 5:00 PM
105 Dartmouth Hall

Sponsored by the Porter Fund for the Sustainability Minor

Mark Winne


Thursday, October 23 - “The Big Pivot: Doing Business in a Hotter, Scarcer, More Open World”"

Andrew Winston is a global thought leader on business strategy and speaks globally about how companies can profit in a volatile world. He advises many of the world’s leading companies, helping them develop new strategies through his provocative ideas and next generation frameworks. Known for his bestselling book, Green to Gold, he joins us to discuss his new book, The Big Pivot, a groundbreaking look at the world’s mega-challenges and how corporate strategy and tactics need to change to manage the risks and seize the opportunities.

Thursday, October 23
4:00 - 5:00 PM
Georgiopolous Classroom, Raether Building

Sponsored by the Porter Fund for the Sustainability Minor; the Environmental Studies Program; and The Center for Business & Society at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.  Free and Open to the Public.



Past Cafés:


Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - EcoLogic - "What Makes Conservation Stick?"

Featuring guests from the EcoLogic Development Fund: Barbara Vallarino '98, Executive Director, and David Kramer '96, Senior Manager for Impact, Learning and Innovation

EcoLogic's mission is to empower rural people to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico. EcoLogic's fundamental theory of change is that if rural communities of Mesoamerica have the ability, incentives, and support to provide for themselves in sustainable ways, then they can improve their well-being and quality of life while conserving biodiversity at a scale well beyond that of their own village. Since 1993, EcoLogic has worked with local partner NGOs and rural associations to serve over 700 communities in Mesoamerica.



Helen van Hoeven

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - Helen van Hoeven - "Transforming Markets To Mitigate Environmental and Social Impacts"

Trade and economic growth have improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world, but it has come at a high cost to the environment. As market demand for food, fibre and fuel increases in the coming decades, so will the impact on our planet's natural resources. During this session we will discuss, amongst other topics, if big brands can help save biodiversity and if consumers should have a choice about sustainable products.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - John Ehrenfeld - "Flourishing, Not Sustainability, Should Be Our Goal"

John Ehrenfeld, a leader in industrial ecology, has drawn deeply on philosophy and psychology to make the case that rekindling genuine care for ourselves, other humans, and other life on earth is the key to transitioning our consumerist culture from pervasive unsustainable trends to sustainability.

Following his visit to Dartmouth, John wrote a blog post about his experience:


John Christopher

April 8, 2014 - John Christopher - "Psychological Well-Being and Sustainability: What's the Connection?"

John Christopher is a Professor of Psychiatry in the Psychiatry Department at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and specializes in deepening the theory, research, and promotion of well-being, focusing on health psychology and behavioral medicine. With the Café audience John explored the intersections of psychological well-being and the pursuit of sustainability.

Last Call

April 1, 2014 - Planetary Limits: A Last Call?

Screening of Last Call, a documentary about Limits to Growth, the groundbreaking, inspiring, and controversial study of planetary limits. Discussion and Q&A followed the screening, with featured guests Dennis Meadows (Limits to Growth co-author) and Enrico Cerasuolo (film director).

Learn more:

Rich Sullivan talks the audience through the operation of a biochar retort.

March 3, 2014 - Michael Low from Green Fire Farm; Steve and Rich Sullivan from Sullivan Center for Sustainable Agriculture - "Biochar: A Sustainability Solution As Business and Practice."

Michael, Steve and Rich described how their individual backgrounds prompted their interests in biochar, and how they are making use of the many positive aspects of biochar as a farming tool and as the product of a business.

Learn more about Michael Low and the Green Fire Farm at

Learn more about the Sullivan Center for Sustainable Agriculture at

Anne Kapuscinski and Salman Rajput '14 hold a lively discussion with the Dartmouth community over lunch.

October 31, 2013 - Salman Rajput '14 – Founder of the food enterprise Solving Dinner

Can business motivate social change in food choices? Salman hosted a lively discussion over a catered Solving Dinner lunch.


Growing Cities

September 25, 2013 - Dan Susman '10 – Producer/Director of Growing Cities

Growing Cities: A Film about Urban Farming in America movie screening with Dan Susman '10, Producer/Director

See Dartmouth Now article: 2010 Graduate's "Growing Cities" to Screen at Dartmouth

Hal Hamilton, Sustainable Food Labs

July 24, 2013 - Hal Hamilton – Founder of the Sustainable Food Lab

Hal Hamilton founded and co-directs the Sustainable Food Laboratory. The purpose of the Sustainable Food Lab is to mainstream sustainability in global food supply, and its projects are all aimed at practical supply chain tools and shared learning among peers. Are small farms better than big farms? Is organic always better than conventional? Is Fair Trade the best route for small farmers in developing countries? Hal led us on a discussion around these questions and more.

Tsomo Cuomoji

May 9, 2013 - Tsomo Cuomaoji '15 – "Translating Sustainability: Cross Cultural Understanding"


Dr. James McCarthy

April 22, 2013 - Dr. James McCarthy - "How might marine ecosystem functions be altered if populations of the great whales were to recover to pre-harvest stocks?"

Notable oceanographer and environmentalist, Dr. McCarthy is a Nobel Prize winning member of the IPPC, past president of the AAAS, Chair of the Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and a Professor at Harvard University.

Jeremy Richardson

February 21, 2013 - Jeremy Richardson - "West Virginia's Love Affair with Coal"

Dr. Jeremy Richardson is a Kendall Fellow in Clean Energy Innovation at Union of Concerned Scientists.

This was a follow-up event to the class of 2016 summer reading, , by Ann Pancake - an interactive lecture and informal discussion over a plate of spaghetti cooked by students going on the Alternative Spring Break to West Virginia.

Leehi Yona

January 24, 2013 - Leehi Yona '16 - "Youth Involvement in International Climate Negotiations"

Leehi Yona is a member of the Class of 2016 aiming to pursue an Environmental Studies major, with a particular interest in Sustainability, and observing how youth involvement in the multilateral process plays a role within the context of solving the larger issues of climate change and sustainability. Fresh from attending the UNFCCC COP 18 Climate Change Conference in November 2012, her discussion brings to life the various ways young adults are currently being impacted by environmental challenges and international talks, focusing on their actions and participation at such conferences, but also on the learning opportunities found within these experiences.

Mark Leighton

November 1, 2012 - Mark Leighton - "The Art of the Possible: Oil Palm, Pulp and Paper, and Rainforest Conservation in SE Asia"

Dr. Mark Leighton is an associate in Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard. He is the director of the UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape World Heritage Project.

Dr. Leighton is one of the leading experts in the ecology, conservation and sustainable management of rain forests, with special expertise in SE Asia. Tropical rainforests are home to >50% of the Earth's species and are being rapidly converted and degraded. Dr. Leighton discussed creating and implementing conservation opportunities in collaboration with the palm oil and pulp/paper development in rainforests of SE Asia. The conversation about forest management and environmental governance included participation from undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty.

Beth Sawin

October 11, 2012 - Dr. Beth Sawin – "Climate Modeling Tools for Learning and Integration"

Dr. Beth Sawin is Co-Director of Climate Interactive. She is a scientist, writer, teacher, and public speaker whose work for the past fifteen years has combined analysis with coaching, teaching and communication approaches that help people transform systems towards sustainability.For more on the Climate Interactive, check out

Dr. Beth Sawin shared a climate model with the audience. Participants played with combinations of renewable and non-renewable energy sources to model the effects of energy use on climate change.



April 19, 2012 - Hugo Chandler and J. Charles Smith - "Integrating Renewable Energy"

Speakers Hugo Chandler (founder, New Resource Partners) and J. Charles Smith (director, Wind Utility Integration Group) spoke about their work addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating renewable energy sources into different scale energy systems while Dartmouth's energy engineer, Steve Shadford, shared a glimpse of the college's energy future. Participants discussed in small groups the path towards a more sustainable energy future at Dartmouth and in the larger New England region.

Inaugural Cafe

February 3, 2012 - Mark McElroy and Jed Davis '83, Tu'85 - "Taking Sustainability Literally"

The inaugural Sustainability Solutions Café was a terrific start to the new discussion series and saw over 40 participants – students, faculty, staff, and community members – engage with guests Mark McElroy (author of Corporate Sustainability Management) and Jed Davis (Sustainability Director, Cabot Creamery) in round table conversations over café refreshments in the unique setting of Fairchild Tower.


Contact Information:

Alex Sitek
Sustainability Minor Assistant
Phone: 603-646-2721

Last Updated: 10/16/14