Past Events

The Center for the Blue Economy has hosted many notable speakers and events, and below are a few that we would like to highlight. Click the links to learn more.

Heating Up:  Reports from the Front Lines of the Climate Fight, An Evening with Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben needs no introduction to the environmental community. The first author to bring the issue of climate change to the general public, Bill went on to co-found, the leading climate change advocacy organization in the world.  He continues to lead the climate fight both at home and abroad. Bill will provide an update on the challenges ahead as the U.S. federal government is in the grips of the most anti-environmental administration in modern history.

Event Date:  Thursday, November 2, 2017, Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Website:  Heating Up: An Evening with Bill McKibben

Event Video:  Pending

Attendee Questions:  Pending (all questions asked by text and hand-written card will be shared here)

The Sky is Not Falling, But the Seas are Rising

What is up with our climate? Arctic ice is melting fast with global impacts on sea level, weather, and agriculture. What is happening now and what can we do to protect ourselves and future generations? What can we expect locally and globally in the coming decades?  Dr. Brendan P. Kelly, Arctic climate researcher will discuss past and present drivers of the earth’s changing climate. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Blue Economy and the Hayward Sustainability Speaker Series.

Event Date:  Thursday, September 14, 2017, Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Website:   2017-2018 Hayward Sustainability Lecture Series Archive

Event Video:  The Sky is Not Falling, But Seas are Rising

Saving the Coast:  California's Legacy in a Changing Climate
A conversation with Charles Lester

California has been an international leader in coastal protection for more than four decades, but climate change poses an existential threat to California’s coastal resources and economy.   On the evening of Tuesday, April 25th, 2017,  former Executive Director of the Coastal Commission, Charles Lester, discussed the past, present, and future of the California coast in conversation with Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy.

Event Date:  Thursday, April 25, 2017, Morse Building room B104, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Website:

Setting the Course:  California Leadership in the Age of Trump
Panel Discussion with Senator Bill Monning, Assemblyman Mark Stone, and Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird

With the Trump administration looking to roll back progress on healthcare, environmental sustainability, civil rights, and social equity, California is charting a course in the opposite direction. With a large Democratic majority, the Golden State is poised to assume an even greater leadership role on the environment, economy, and social justice. On the evening of Thursday, April 13th, the community gathered at the Irvine Auditorium to hear a lively discussion with some of California's most visionary leaders as they set the course for the California in the Age of Trump.

Event Date:  Thursday, April 13, 2017, Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Website:  With more information on the panelists, bills and articles discussed during event:

Event VideoCalifornia Leadership in the Age of Trump

Audience Questions:  Questions were received throughout the evening via email, text, and hand-written form.   Audience Questions

10 Tips for Effective Advocacy:  Senator Bill Monning created this list of "10 Tips for Effective Advocacy."     10 Tips for Effective Advocacy

Secure Oceans:  Recommendations for the World's Largest Crime Scene

USS KITTY HAWK, At sea (Sept. 5, 2007) - Naval ships from India, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States steam in formation in the Bay of Bengal during Exercise Malabar 07-2 on Sept. 5.  The formation included USS Kitty Hawk, USS Nimitz, INS Viraat, JS Yuudachi, JS Ohnami, RSS Formidable, HMAS Adelaide, INS Ranvijay, INS Brahmaputra, INS Ranjit, USS Chicago and USS Higgins. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. RoweThe pillage of the world’s oceans represents threats to vital U.S. and global economic, environmental and security interests. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that our oceans are the world’s largest crime scene due to rampant illegal fishing, increased piracy, trafficking of drugs, arms, and persons, and growing conflict over fishing grounds.  Johan Bergenäs, Director of the Partnerships in Security and Development Program at the Stimson Center and co-author of “Secure Oceans” gave a fantastic presentation on this complex topic followed by a lively panel discussion on how best to amplify, accelerate and strengthen the global response to protecting our oceans.  A reception with the speaker and panelists followed the discussion.

Event Date:  Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Webpage:  With more information on the topic, speaker,  and panelists.

Event Video:   Now available on the above webpage.

Sonic Sea:  Film Screening and Panel Discussion

SonicSea_BannerThe oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. Sonic Sea is a film about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution. This was a free film screening followed by a panel discussion including Michael Jasny, Director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Brandon Southall, President and Senior Scientist for Southall Environmental Associates (SEA) Inc., and former Director of NOAAs Ocean Acoustics Program.

Event Date:  Thursday, April 21, 2016 at the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Webpage:  With more information on the film and panelists.

Upcoming Screenings:  Sonic Sea can be viewed at upcoming screenings around the world.

Take Action:   You can take action on this important issue by signing up on the Sonic Sea Alert List.  You'll get a series of alerts for taking action on this issue, starting with a petition to major shipping lines.

Event Video:  You can see the panel discussion and Q&A session with our guests Dr. Michael Jasny and Dr. Brandon Southall, also archived on:  http://centerfortheblueeconomy/sonic

The Arctic in the Mirror:  Closer Than It Appears

ArcticMirror_Banner_1650x375_v2The Arctic seems remote and disconnected from lower latitudes, but it is rapidly approaching as a force influencing life all over the planet. Like an object in the rear view mirror, the Arctic is closer than it appears. Dr. Brendan P. Kelly, Executive Director of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change, shared his knowledge based on four decades of studying Arctic ecosystems with indigenous and scientific teachers at this March 29th event. He offered perspectives on how changes in energy use and economics are altering the Arctic environment challenging our ethical responses.

Event Date:  Tuesday, March 29, 2016,6:30-7:30PM, at the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Webpage:  With more information on the speaker. 

Event Video:  Available on Request (video has poor sound quality)--contact

Upcoming Lectures/Webinars:      Dr. Kelly will give a talk on climate change and the influence of the poles on the Monterey Bay, Monday, May 16th, 2016.  Details are included in the flyer for the event:  Truth, Wisdom, and the American Way Lecture/Dinner event (click to download flyer—$18.00 dinner and lecture)

Dr. Kelly will part of the 2016 Polar Prediction Workshop hosted by the Sea Ice Prediction Network, May 4-6, 2016 at Columbia University.  
More information can be found on the Sea Ice Prediction Network website.

Webinar, Wednesday, May 4th, 12pm PST (free event) :  Next Generation Earth System Prediction: Strategies for Sub-seasonal to Seasonal Forecasts, exploring a recent report that presents a 10-year research agenda to strengthen weather and ocean predictions.  You can also download the full report at that website.

Further Reading on this Issue:  

Scientists are floored by what’s happening in the Arctic right now,” Washington Post, February 18, 2016
Climate Model Predicts West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Melt Rapidly,” New York Times, March 30th, 2016


An Evening with Sylvia Earle, Featuring a Screening of Mission Blue

Sylvia.1.600The Center for the Blue economy is honored to have Dr. Sylvia Earle as a member of our Advisory Council and hosted this special evening to screen her recent documentary: Mission Blue. The film was followed by a Q&A session with Dr. Earle moderated by Center for the Blue Economy Director, Dr. Jason Scorse.

Event Date: October 21st, 2015, 6:30-8:30pm at the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Webpage:  With more information on Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue

Event News Article: Legendary Ocean Researcher Sylvia Earle Inspires, courtesy of the MIIS Newsroom, originally posted on October 22, 2015.

Learn More: Mission Blue and the Sylvia Earle Alliance

Event Video: You can stream the video of the introduction and Q&A session below, or you may download the Sylvia Earle Q&A session.

An Evening with Deborah Cramer, Author of The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, & An Epic Journey

Deborah Cramer, author, at Wingersheek Beach in Gloucester, MA, November 13, 2014. © 2014 Shawn G. Henry • 978.590.4869The Center for the Blue economy hosted Deborah Cramer, author and environmental activist to discuss her new book: The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey. Deborah accompanied tiny sandpipers, called red knots, along their extraordinary 19,000 mile annual migration. She tracked the birds on remote windswept beaches along the Strait of Magellan; bug-infested hunting preserves and gleaming oyster banks in South Carolina; and onto the icy Arctic tundra where they nest. In this lecture and slideshow presentation, Deborah gave her firsthand account of the tenacity of life along the sea edge, and an inspiring portrait of loss, resilience and renewal, and the courage of humans.

Event Date: November 3rd, 2015, 7:00-8:30pm at the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Webpage:  With more information about the event.

Learn more: Deborah Cramer's Website

Event Video: You can stream the video of the presentation below.