Climate-Food-Energy-Water Nexus

The Environmental Science and Policy Program is launching a symposium series to explore the challenges and opportunities we face in enhancing human well-being while protecting the environment. This symposium will bring distinguished thinkers from around the world to explore what we know, what we need to know and what we must do as we move into a century of unprecedented environmental change, technological advancement and scale of human activity.

The event will include research focused seminars and discussion but will emphasize events and presentations that will speak to the broader MSU and Michigan community. In addition to live events and webcasts, the symposium will generate educational materials that can be used in classes and non-traditional education in the spring and beyond.

This symposium is made possible through the generous endowment of Barbara Sawyer-Koch and Donald Koch.


Wednesday-Thursday, April 12-13, 2017
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center
Michigan State University




Day 1: Public Symposium

Time Description
8:00am - 8:45 am

Breakfast and registration, Big Ten B, Kellogg Center

9:00 am - 9:15 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dean Rachel Croson, Dean of the College of Social Science, Michigan State University

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

9:15 am - 10:00 am

Joan Rose, MSU

"The Water Quality Crisis: Are We Risking Our Health?"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

10:00 am - 10:45 am

Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Research

"Water and Human Development"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

11:00 am - 11:45 am

Charles Fishman, author

"What Water Needs Now: Smart Water in the Era of Climate Change & Donald Trump"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch, Big Ten B & C, Kellogg Center

Lana Pollack, International Joint Commission

"No Clean Slate - Opportunities to Clean Up the Mess You Are Inheriting"

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Michael Mascarenhas, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

"The Revolution Starts Now! Making Water, Energy and Food Sustainable"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Flint Water Crisis Panel: Susan Masten (Civil and Environmental Engineering); Debra Furr-Holden ( Epidemiology and Biostatistics) and Kent Key (Office of Community Schlolars)

"What Have We Learned?"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm Break
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Joint Reception with The Fountain Challenge

Lincoln Room, Kellogg Center


Day 2: Scientific Colloquium

Time Description
8:00 am - 8:30 am


Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

8:30am - 9:15 am

Shahzeen Attairi, Indiana University

"Misperceptions of Water Use and Water Systems"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

9:15 am - 10:00 am

Jennifer Carrera, Michigan State University

"Water Poverty in a Land of Wealth: Considering the Implications and Coupled Resources in Low-income Communities in the United States"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

10:00 am - 10:15 am Break
10:15 am - 11:00 am

Rainer Horn, Christian-Albrechts University at Kiel

"Effect of Landuse Management Systems on Coupled Hydraulic Mechanical Soil Processes"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

11:00 am - 11:45 pm

Megan Konar, University of Illinois

"Food is Groundwater in Disguise: Aquifer Depletion, Food Security and Drought"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Poster Session 12:45 - 1:45 pm (concurrently with lunch)

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Vincent Tidwell, Sandia National Laboratories

"Evolving Nexus in Climate, Energy, Water and Waste"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

2:45 pm. - 3:30 pm

Sergio Villamayor-Tomas, Autonomous University of Barcelona

"Bottom-Up Nexus Adaptations Through the Lenses of Polycentric Governance"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm - 4:30 pm

David Zilberman, University of California-Berkeley

"Climate Change, Water and Energy"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center


Special thank you to our steering committee: Dr. Thomas Dietz, Dr. R. Jan Stevenson, and Dr. Julie Libarkin. All your hard work has been appreciated.

Public Symposium Speakers

See Speakers by Day:

Charles Fishman

Charles Fishman is a long-time reporter for the Washington Post, Orlando Sentinel and the News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. His book "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water" explores our stange and complex relationship to water. He previously wrote the New York Times bestseller "The Wal-Mart Effect." He currently reports for the innovative business magazine Fast Company.

Dr. Joan Rose

Dr. Joan Rose is the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University Dr. Rose is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety, publishing more than 250 manuscripts. She has been involved in the investigation of numerous waterborne outbreaks world-wide. Her work has examined new molecular methods for waterborne pathogens and zoonotic agents such as Cryptosporidium and enteric viruses and source tracking techniques. She has been involved in the study of water supplies, water used for food production, and coastal environments as well as drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment and reclaimed water.

Dr. Lyla Mehta

Professor Lyla Mehta is a Professorial Research Fellow at IDS and a Visiting Professor at Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She trained as a sociologist (University of Vienna) and has a Ph.d. in Development Studies (University of Sussex). Her work focuses on water and sanitation, forced displacement and resistance, scarcity, rights and access, resource grabbing and the politics of environment/ development and sustainability. More recently, her projects have addressed peri urban dynamics, the politics of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Africa and uncertainty and climate change from below in India. She has extensive field research in India studying the politics of water scarcity, the linkages between gender, displacement and resistance, access to water in peri urban areas and climate change and uncertainty. Additionally, she has worked on water management issues in southern Africa and studied the cultural and institutional aspects of sanitation in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia and the scaling of community-led total sanitation. Her work uses the case of water to explore conceptual and empirical questions concerning scarcity, power, politics, uncertainty, rights and access to resources, the contested nature of the 'public' and 'private' and the cultural politics of development. She is currently the water and sanitation domain convenor of the STEPS centre.

Dr. Michael Mascarenhas

Dr. Michael Mascarenhas is Associate Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a sociologist with scholarly interests in the fields of Post-colonial and Development Studies, Environmental Justice and Racism, and Science and Technology Studies. His research examines the political, social, and environmental tensions and controversies surrounding recent transnational changes in the governance of water regimes.