Environmental Speaker Series

A signature program now in its 16th year, the Environmental Speaker Series brings national and global experts and thought leaders to the Blue Hill Research Center (and online) to hear updates and engage in dialogue on critical environmental and human health concerns in a public forum setting. Each talk is followed by a Q&A session.

Environmental Speaker Series Returns to Shaw Institute
New People, New Ideas Mark 2022 Inaugural Event

The Shaw Institute’s Blue Hill Research Center reopens with the launch of its 2022 Environmental Speaker Series. With deep appreciation to Dr. Susan Shaw, we continue her legacy with Charles Rolsky, PhD, the Institute’s new senior research scientist. Dr. Rolsky’s talk will highlight the critically important work of the Institute, the plans to build upon Dr. Shaw’s legacy, and the introduction of new ideas, partners and initiatives for community-based research in 2022 and beyond. 

Advancing Science at Shaw Institute: A Community-Based Imperative
Charles Rolsky, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at the Shaw Institute.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022
5:00 pm—Reception | 6:00 pm—Lecture
The Shaw Institute Blue Hill Research Center, 55 Main St, Blue Hill, ME 04614
This event is free and open to the public. 
NOTE: Masks are recommended.

A zoom link is available for those unable to attend in person but wish to watch the lecture and participate in the Q&A. 

Additional speakers and dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

2020 Environmental Webinar Series

Today, science is more critical than ever in our fight to protect human health and heal the natural world that sustains us. 

Join us for Planet In Crisis: Science and Survival, an exciting new webinar series connecting you with the top minds in science tackling the world’s greatest challenges. Starting with Paul Andrew Mayewski’s July 1 forum on surviving rapid climate change, the series spotlights leading scientists engaged in the race to save our planet from unchecked plastic pollution, global warming, environmental cancer and pandemic disease. 

Sign up now for a lively discussion of these pressing issues and solutions in this series of free public forums. After each talk, please join us for an informal Q&A session on Zoom. 

We hope the Planet In Crisis: Science and Survival series will inform and inspire actions we can all take to protect our world and ensure a healthy future for all human beings.

Click here to see Environmental Speaker Series videos

Wednesday, July 1
The Arctic, Maine and the First Abrupt Climate Change in the Modern Era
with Paul Andrew Mayewski, Ph.D., Director of the Climate Change Institute and Distinguished Professor at the University of Maine

Can we adapt to the effects of accelerating climate change? As Arctic ice melt transforms the Northern Hemisphere climate, are we prepared for violent storms, flooding, sea level rise, extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and famine? Don’t miss this special evening with Paul Andrew Mayewski, Journey Into Climate and The Ice Chronicles author and climate scientist, who warns of dangers ahead and suggests ways we can mitigate the damage.


Wednesday, July 22
Our Ocean Planet in Three Acts: Staggering Diversity, Scary News & Reasons for Hope
with Nancy Knowlton, Ph.D., Sant Chair Emerita for Marine Science at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life

Coral reefs dying, fish populations collapsing, diversity loss and acidic oceans choking with plastic. A torrent of frightening news suggests we have done irreparable damage to marine life. But have we inflicted permanent harm? Renowned marine biologist Nancy Knowlton thinks not. The 2020 recipient of the International Coral Reef Society’s Darwin Medal brings us a picture of resilience, recovery and hope.


Wednesday, August 5
Plastics, Politics, and Public Health 
with Susan Shaw, Dr.P.H., Founder/Director, Shaw Institute and Professor of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany, NY

Has COVID-19 produced a plastic pandemic? From disposable PPE to plastic on-line shopping, US consumption has increased up to 300%, exacerbating an already dire plastics crisis worldwide. A glut of unrecyclable plastic is flowing to oceans and landfills, while some 40% goes to open-burning dumps. When plastic burns, the toxic smoke poses a cancer risk for fire fighters and millions of people worldwide. Dr. Shaw takes a realistic look at the toll of rising plastic on human health and our natural world. 


Wednesday, September 2 
COVID-19 and the Environment
with Jeremy Jackson, Ph.D., Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution and Professor of Oceanography Emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Could the COVID 19 catastrophe help us meet the ultimate scientific challenge of the 21st century? When the pandemic forced industries into lockdown, the global environment dramatically improved, giving us a glimpse of what a better, more sustainable world could be. Professor Jackson looks at a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow back our economies without imperiling the planet. The question is, do we have the vision and capacity to achieve this?


2019 Environmental Speaker Series

Welcome to the 15th annual Environmental Speaker Series! This year, our theme is Planet In Crisis: Agents of Change. We will be shining a spotlight on the individuals pioneering innovation and science to solve the world's most urgent environmental issues

June 5: The Devil We Know: Chemistry of a Cover-Up (film screening)

The Devil We Know Film Poster | Shaw Institute Environmental Speaker Series

June 19: Sarah Redmond, Aquaculturist & Founder of Springtide Seaweed
"Farming The Future: The Promise of Ocean Seaweed:​​​​​​"

July 3: Environmental Speaker Series: Dr. Leo Trasande, MD & Author
"Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: Chemicals Hacking Hormones and Fueling Epidemics"

July 31: Environmental Speaker Series: Margaret Mulholland, Oceanographer
"Measuring The Muck: Water Quality, Coastal Flooding and Sea Level Rise"


August 21: Environmental Speaker Series: Dimitri Smirnoff, Biologist
"More Good Not Less Harm: Advancing Sustainability with Biomimicry​​​​​​"

Sept. 4: The Devil We Know: Chemistry of a Cover-Up (film screening)

The Devil We Know Film Poster | Shaw Institute Environmental Speaker Series

2018 Environmental Speaker Series

The theme of the 2018 season is "Climate Change, Exposure and Human Health." The  series features an eclectic mix of scientists, researchers and journalists from across the U.S.  A signature program now in its 14th year, the Environmental Lecture Series brings national and global experts and thought leaders to the Blue Hill Research Center (and online) to hear updates and engage dialogue on critical environmental and human health issues.