GreenTalk Speaker Series

Wednesdays Noon to 1:15 pm, ENG 189

Practicing engineers, scientists, and technical experts deliver up-to-date briefings on how engineers deal with environmental issues.

For questions please contact Barbara Murphy-Wesley, Coordinator GreenTalk Speaker Series, College of Engineering:

Fall 2017

  • Sept 13

    Eugene Cordero

    SJSU, Meteorology and Climate Science

    Global Warming & Climate change

    Dr. Eugene Cordero is a climate scientist and professor in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San José State University. His science research is focused on understanding the processes responsible for long-term changes in climate through the use of observations and atmospheric models. Eugene is also interested in the design of educational experiences that encourage social change in students to produce environmental benefits. Currently, Eugene is the founder and director of Green Ninja, an enterprise that creates educational experiences that help students design a more sustainable world.


    Chapter 9 (Cunningham and Cunningham 2017), Climate

  • Sept 20

    Forrest Melton

    Senior Research Scientist, NASA

    The U.S. Climate Explorer: Increasing Access to Climate Data for Climate Resilience Planning

  • Sept 27

    Dr. Samuel Obi

    SJSU Technology Professor

    Management of Green and Sustainable Manufacturing

    Dr. Obi is a popular professor here at San Jose State University where he has taught since 1989. A native of Nigeria, Dr. Obi earned his degrees at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the University of Northern Iowa. His specialties are manufacturing and sustainability, and his courses focus on a wide spectrum of manufacturing systems topics. He also teaches courses in the areas of industrial ethics and technology and civilization. He has written two books in these areas: Introduction to Manufacturing Systems and A Handbook of Productive Industrial Ethics.

    Dr. Obi's presentation will involve a review and examination of manufacturing systems' components and how the various components and subsystems are managed and audited to maximize or boost their green content.

    Management of Green and Sustainable Manufacturing [PPT]


    Chapter 15 (Cunningham and Cunningham 2017), Economics and Urbanization

  • Oct 4

    Max Dunn

    Director of Engineering, Ohm Connect

    Clean Energy

    The price of clean energy keeps falling and is becoming competitive with fossil fuel power plants. But integrating increasing amounts of intermittent renewable energy on the grid is causing problems. Can we move to a sustainable energy future, or will fossil fuels always be our dominant source of energy?

    Paper: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy - Can We Reach a Sustainable Future?

  • Oct 11

    William Dunckel

    Senior Quality Assurance Engineer, PG&E

    Energy, Environment and Engineering

    "Energy, Environment, and Engineering" is a pragmatic overview of the relationships among these three elements. It is a high level conceptual discussion of how the US has come from the Energy Crisis of the 1970’s to where we are today. The intent is to provide engineering students some perspective for planning careers that will help protect the health and welfare of the public through environmental stewardship.

    Energy, Environment & Engineers Presentation [PDF]

  • Oct 18

    Mandeep Khera

    Chief Marketing Officer, Arxan Technologies

    Internet of Things/Environmental Impact

    IoT or Internet of Things is becoming mainstream and making a significant impact on various sectors across the globe. One of the areas IoT's positive is already felt strong is the environment. From sensors for collecting data to smart farming to energy efficiency, IoT has automated a number of processes with technology resulting in savings and efficiencies that were never achievable before. In this talk, we'll explore some of the technologies that are helping in these areas and what's coming in the future.

    IoT and the Environment [PDF]

  • Oct 25

    Dr. Siddharth Narayan

    University of California, Santa Cruz / The Nature Conservancy

    Environmental Systems

    Coastal flooding causes significant economic damage globally and in the USA and these risks are projected to increase over the next few decades1 (Hallegatte et al., 2013). States like Florida and Louisiana on the US Gulf Coast are vulnerable to increased damage and loss of land due to hurricanes, subsidence and rising sea levels2 (Woodruff et al., 2013). Even California saw aggravated beach erosion during the last El Niño year, a trend that could worsen due to climate change3 (Barnard et al., 2017). In addition to high densities of high-value human assets, all these coastal regions also have rich, yet severely threatened coastal ecosystems like salt-marshes, mangrove wetlands or oyster reefs. It is now being increasingly recognized that these ecosystems can, under the right conditions, act as natural defenses and reduce extents of coastal flooding and erosion4 (Arkema et al., 2013). However, there is a lot that needs to be done, in terms of transferring our general understanding of the ecological and engineering conditions that determine the effectiveness of these ecosystems to practical action in conserving, or even designing and building specific nature-based solutions for a specific problem of coastal risk.

    Filling these gaps in our understanding and practice is an inherently multi-disciplinary exercise. It involves civil and coastal engineers, flood risk mappers and managers, ecologists, economists and even policy-makers. Our team at UCSC and TNC, led by Dr. Michael Beck of TNC, are a mix of engineers and ecologists. We work together with several partner public and private sector institutions to understand when, where and how natural ecosystems can be effective and viable as defenses and how best to advance their conservation and restoration for the purpose of risk reduction. A substantial part of this work involves communicating our key findings to stakeholders and agencies responsible for managing our coastlines. For example, we recently partnered with Lloyd’s – a multi-national consortium of private insurers – to quantify the value of marshes in the northeastern USA, in reducing flood damages during Hurricane Sandy5 (Narayan et al., 2016). The findings from this study have since been communicated in various forms to private and public sector institutions in the US and around the world and will, hopefully, play a part in influencing future conservation and restoration activities on the US Atlantic seaboard. In this GreenTalk I will give an overview of recent and on-going projects within our team and elsewhere in this field, and provide examples of different ways of communicating the results of our research and converting theory to action.

    Nature-Based Solutions for Coastal Risk Reduction [PDF]


    Cunnningham and Cunningham (text book), Chapter 2 Environmental Systems, Chapter 6 Conservation, Nature Reserves

    Narayan, S., Beck, M. W., Reguero, B. G., Losada, I. J., Wesenbeeck, B., Pontee, N., Sanchirico, J. N., Ingram, J. C.,Lange, G, Burks-Copes, K. A. (2016). The effectiveness, costs and coastal protection benefits of natural and nature based defences, PLosONE 11(5):e0154735.doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0154735

    University of California, Santa Cruz; The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society in association with Risk Management Solutions and Guy Carpenter and Company (n. d.), Factsheet: The Value of Coastal Wetlands for Reducing Property Damage

  • Nov 1

    Dustin Mulvaney

    Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Department, SJSU

    Exploring Tensions between Solar Innovation and Environmental Justice

    There are emerging tensions between solar innovation and environmental justice. Photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing processes involve hazardous chemicals similar to those found in the electronics industry, where impacts such as groundwater contamination, worker exposures to chemicals, and other air and water emissions overlap with environmental inequality. In the US, cadmium-based thin-film PV was financed with support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act producing new political ecological configurations of energy procurement and generation, linking Malaysian thin film PV fabs to public lands in the US desert southwest. By integrating traditions in global commodity chains, political ecology, and science and technology studies, this research shows how life cycle assessment was used to shape the debate about cadmium pollution from thin-film PV. As metrics have the power to obscure environmental injustice, the findings call for humility when interpreting life cycle assessment.

    Exploring Environmental Issues along the Life Cycle of Solar Power [PDF]

    Dustin Mulvaney Website
    Twitter: @DustinMulvaney

  • Nov 8

    Dr. Jerry Gao

    Professor, Computer Engineering at SJSU

    Smart Cities

    Professor Jerry Gao teaches in Computer Engineering and mentors many students in topics related to the cutting edge of big data, Cloud application, and the Internet of Things. As stated within Professor Gao's background materials, this world "is set to be the next important stage in human history. It consists of numerous 'smart things' that can be endowed with different levels/forms of intelligence and even capable of thinking."

    Smart Cities [PDF]

    More information about Dr. Gao

    Suggested textbook reading: Chapter 15 (Cunningham and Cunningham 2017), Economics and Urbanization.

  • Nov 15

    Sonja Huang

    Bay Area Director, Factory Farming Awareness Coalition

    Food and Agriculture

    Additional information coming soon.