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Humanitarian Engineering and Science Colloquium

The Humanitarian Engineering and Science (HES) Colloquium series is an opportunity for our HES students, faculty, partners, and allies to come together as a community and share thought leadership related to our interdisciplinary efforts across Mines and more broadly. We will connect on an approximately monthly basis on the first Tuesday of each month, and colloquium videos will be posted here for later reference. 

Corporate Social Responsibility: Putting Values into Action or The New Look of Capitalism?

Eleanor Allen, CEO of Water For People, and Rich D’Amato, CEO and President of Brown and Caldwell

Brown and Caldwell is an employee-owned company focused on the water and environment business. Our 1,700 employee-owners are all working toward a common purpose: to make a positive impact on our people, clients, the communities we serve, and the environment. As a purpose-driven company, deliver innovative technical projects that improve water, wastewater, and environmental needs. Making a fair profit enables our business strategy, which is closely aligned with our philosophy around social and environmental responsibility. Our values drive our business decisions. In short, profit is not our primary goal, rather a means to allow us to achieve our purpose of making a difference in the world.

March 1, 2021

Promising Resilience: Research, Downsizing, and Survival in Contemporary British Columbia

Dr. Thomas Özden- Schilling, Johns Hopkins University

In recent years, the ecological concept of ‘resilience’ – the idea that environmental systems and social forms can be designed to ‘bounce back’ from disasters and other disruptive changes – has influenced a rapidly growing range of planning strategies in historic logging regions like northern British Columbia. For many of the scientists involved in these programs, Resilience-based research has spurred new questions about how to “adapt” to a rapidly changing landscape, including what kinds of relationships to construct in the process. Özden- Schilling discusses how researchers have sought to deploy the terms of resilience theory in the ongoing construction of a new development assessment process called the BC Cumulative Effects Framework, examining how different scientists have reconciled the ambiguous legacies of their research in the face of uncertain futures.

February 1, 2021

RETOS and Solutions in Humanitarian Engineering and Science

Diana María Duarte Gómez, RETOS

RETOS is a platform that connects South American communities with students around the world. Five years ago, the RETOS team identified the potential of working with university partners. The team initiated a two-year-long pilot that ended in 2019 when RETOS was selected as a winner of the cSOLVE-MIT competition from 1400 pro-social innovators. Today, with their support, the platform has become a powerful digital tool that combines in-person social work, community-based co-creation, learning experiences and impact measurement. In the near future, the RETOS team looks forward to further developing Artificial Intelligence tools to consolidate a database of challenges building an open ecosystem that learns in order to adapt solutions to local needs. In this talk, Diana María Duarte Gómez will discuss the beginnings of RETOS, its trajectory, and the future of the platform.

December 1, 2020

Climate Change from the Streets

Dr. Michael Méndez, University of California, Irvine

Although the science of climate change is clear, policy decisions about how to respond to its effects remain contentious. Even when such decisions claim to be guided by objective knowledge, they are made and implemented through political institutions and relationships? and all the competing interests and power struggles that this implies. Michael Méndez explores the perspectives and influence low-income people of color bring to their advocacy work on climate change. Arguing that environmental protection and improving public health are inextricably linked, Méndez contends that we must incorporate local knowledge, culture, and history into policymaking to fully address the global complexities of climate change and the real threats facing our local communities.

November 10, 2020

Problems We’ve Been Ignoring

Dr. Chris Caskey, Delta Brick & Climate Company

This colloquium is about inequality, innovation, climate change, and waiting for someone else to fix a problem. Dr. Chris Caskey gives a short history of Delta Brick & Climate Company, a business venture developed to solve climate and agricultural challenges in Colorado’s North Fork Valley. With mines generating methane gas and waterways clogged with sediment, a brickmaking process that uses those gasses and sediments offers a promising opportunity to solve multiple problems at once. Caskey describes the process, promises, and tradeoffs of building such a company. The talk also explores the conditions of possibility for his work as a scientist and business owner.

October 6, 2020

Convergence: Trends, Experiences, and Reflections on Collaborative Science

Dr. Corrine Noel Knapp, Haub School of Environmental & Natural Resources, University of Wyoming

This talk offers a historical and personal window into the practice of collaborative, or transdisciplinary, science. It will summarize research on the confluence of collaborative science in disciplines as diverse as natural resources, public health, education, engineering and medicine. It will provide examples of collaborative science Knapp’s work and summarize some of the critical questions that have emerged. Finally, it will provide an opportunity for the learning community to reflect on the collaborative dimensions of their own work.

September 1, 2020