"Speaking Sustainably" Lecture Series

South Florida is host to some of the richest natural resources in the world. The balance of human and natural systems in our growing urban community is central to political, cultural, and academic dialogues regarding the environment.


Hosted by FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) and the Deering Estate at Cutler, “Speaking Sustainably” is a lecture series offered free to the public to engage the community with critical environmental issues of the twenty-first century and to inspire action. Lectures are held in the Visitor Center Auditorium and are free and open to the public.



7:00 pm
Visitor Center Auditorim
FREE & open to the public.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Natural Climate Variability: Contextualizing Persistent Drought
Presenter: Dr. Robert Burgman, Assistant Professor, FIU Department of Earth and Environmnet

The persistent drought conditions of the 2010- 2013 Southern United States drought have cost states billions in agricultural, livestock, and wildfire losses. Dr. Robert Burgman will discuss this extreme and persistent drought in the context of natural climate variability on inter-annaul to multi-decadal timescales.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Urban Environments: A Bird's-eye View
Presenter: Dr. John Withey, Assistant Professor, FIU Department of Biological Sciences

Balancing land-use change, climate change, and invasive species, South Florida is an ideal microcosm for urban ecologists to study the relationship between society and the environment. Dr. John Withey’s research focuses on how native and non-native birds respond to habitat and land use changes and each other. Dr. Withey will discuss the ecological value parks and reserves provide the avian residents and visitors, and how better design can create urban environments that benefit both human and natural systems.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Global Climate Change and Tropical Forests: Adapt, Migrate, or Die
Presenter: Dr. Kenneth Feeley, Assistant Professor, FIU Department of Biological Sciences

In the face of ongoing climate change, species are faced with limited options to avoid habitat loss or extinction: adapt, migrate, or die. Ken Feeley’s research focuses on tropical forests which harbor the majority of the Earth’s species and are facing especially rapid rates of climate change. Dr. Feeley will discuss why migration may be the only option for many of these tropical tree species, the inevitable realities of climate change and deforestation, and how as a society we can make better decisions to salvage and protect what is left.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Macroalgae: Hidden Colors of the Sea
Presenter: Dr. Ligia Collado-Vides, Lecturer-Researcher, FIU Department of Biological Sciences

Our coastal systems are changing in various ways and responding to disparate stressors and contexts. Dr. Ligia Collado-Vides’s present research focuses on understanding the shift of coral and seagrass dominated communities into macroalgae dominated communities as a result of changes at global and local scales. Dr. Collado-Vides, a marine botanist, will discuss the link between research results and applications in marine conservation, and her lab’s partnership with the Tropical Botanic Artists to present a unique bio-art exhibit which blends science and art to engage and inspire the community.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Restoring the River of Grass
Presenter: Tabetha Cale, Ph.D.
Everglades Policy Associate, Audubon Florida

The Everglades, the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the continental U.S., has been drastically altered by human activity. Restoring the Greater Everglades Ecosystem is vital to managing flood control, water supply, and ecosystem health in South Florida. Dr. Cale will discuss the impact of human-induced changes and the current projects to reverse those changes and improve the ecosystem.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Striking a Balance: The Future of Coral Reef Ecosystems
Presenter: Dr. Deron Burkepile, Assistant Professor, FIU Department of Biological Sciences

Deron Burkepile’s research focuses on how widespread changes in human systems endanger the integrity of ecosystems world-wide, particularly coral reefs. Dr. Burkepile will discuss the current status of coral reefs as well as how alterations in human communities and activities trigger a ripple effect which has the potential to alter the productivity and balance of these marine ecosystems.