Read the latest installment of The Commons, a bi-monthly newsletter for Nelson Institute alumni and friends.

The Commons

For Nelson Institute Alumni and Friends

January/February 2017
Seeking nominations for 2017 Alumni Awards
Nearly 4,000 Nelson Institute alumni apply their knowledge and skills to make the world a better and more sustainable place each and every day.

Our alumni awards spotlight these accomplishments and impacts. The winners will be honored at the 11th Annual Earth Day Conference.

Know someone making a difference? Please submit nominations by Feb. 1.
Keller brings passion for environmental humanities
Lynn Keller comes into CHE leadership with 35 years under her belt in the English department. She’s been a CHE faculty associate for several years, first getting involved when she turned her study of contemporary poetry toward environmental studies and ecocriticism.

In 2015, she was named a Guggenheim Fellow, resulting in a book titled Nature’s Transformations: North American Poetry of the Anthropocene. Meet Lynn, and get her latest reading recommendations. 
Earth’s oceanic conveyor belt at risk
A new study co-authored by Zhengyu Liu, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, shows that Earth’s oceanic conveyor belt, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, could collapse as carbon dioxide levels rise and lead to abrupt climate change.

Zhengyu explains that rising temperatures can melt ice sheets. This can change the salinity of the waters and the way they move, and cause instability when the cold waters of the North Atlantic warm as carbon dioxide rises – leading to less mixing and reduced freshwater transport over the Earth’s surface. Read more.
Save the date: 
Earth Day 2017

Can our fixation on end-of-the-world scenarios help us understand today's environmental challenges and stimulate ideas to build a sustainable future?

Hope and Renewal in the Age of Apocalypse, April 18, features an exciting line-up of provocative thinkers. Join us to explore fresh ideas about climate change, conservation, economic growth, social justice and other challenges that drive our anxieties and test our resolve.
Gaylord Nelson Lecture Series to feature Ventura
Join us Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Discovery Building to hear from Steve Ventura, the UW-Madison Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor and  director of the Nelson Institute Land Tenure Center. A professor of environmental studies and soil science, Ventura is known widely for his work in land and food systems.

His talk, "We have come a long way; we have a long way to go," is the latest Gaylord Nelson lecture presented by the institute - a public lecture series launched in 2005 to honor Nelson's legacy.
NSF grant bolsters CESP program
The Nelson Institute’s Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP) was recently awarded nearly $1 million to continue its mission in supporting, educating and graduating students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The five-year grant will provide two-year scholarships of $8,000 for 36 students in CESP, a service-learning-oriented, need-based scholarship program. To qualify, students must be enrolled in a STEM major along with either the environmental studies major or certificate.
Read more.

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Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison · 550 N Park Street · Madison, WI 53706 · USA