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Spotlight on Green Chemistry at Augsburg

An organic chemist with a focus on systems-level thinking, Associate Professor Michael Wentzel is out to make science more sustainable.

“Chemistry doesn’t have to be the solution to the problems it created—it could just not create them,” he says in the June 2022 cover story in Private University Products and News Magazine.

Read the full profile to learn more about Wentzel’s path from his family’s Iowa hardware store to chairing Augsburg’s chemistry department, how green chemistry is “benign by design,” and why he’s on a mission to improve science communication.

World leaders meet March 6-8 in Minneapolis for
Nobel Peace Prize Forum

Global leaders, top U.N. experts to address inclusive, sustainable peace building

2015 NPPF (MINNEAPOLIS) – The 27th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum will explore the world’s most pressing peacemaking issues faced by people across the globe. The March 6-8 event, at the Radisson Blu Downtown, will explore different aspects of peace building including human rights and democracy, disarmament, sustainability and inclusivity. Speaker highlights include:

  • March 6 – Human Rights and Democracy
    • Honored Laureate U.S. President Jimmy Carter in a moderated discussion, “Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.”
    • Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders and Former Prime Minister of Norway, will discuss human rights and democracy.
    • Monica McWilliams, former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and signatory to the Good Friday Agreement.
  • March 7 Disarmament and Sustainability
    • Honored Laureate the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons represented by Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü will discuss disarmament and peace.
    • Adama Dieng, the United Nation’s special adviser on prevention of genocide, will discuss the murder, torture, looting, and destruction of property that likely is a war crime and ethnic cleansing.
    • Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye of Kaduna, Nigeria, work to resolve conflicts between warring religious youth militias, but a decade ago the two men were mortal enemies.
    • Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of our Nature, will talk about four human motivations that can turn us away from violence and toward cooperation and altruism.

Continue reading “World leaders meet March 6-8 in Minneapolis for
Nobel Peace Prize Forum”

Festival of the Commons slated October 7-8 at Augsburg College

thecommonsEvery day we use and benefit from resources we all share—elements of “the commons” such as water, land, technology, public parks, and even culture. How society creates, uses, and manages the commons will be the theme of The Festival of the Commons, held October 7-8 at Augsburg College.

Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics, will be the keynote speaker. This professor of political science at Indiana University won the 2009 Nobel for research that demonstrates the worldwide importance of the commons.

She found that—counter to conventional wisdom—people could collaborate to use and manage natural resources, intellectual property, and other shared resources. Her work runs counter to current ideas about common property management, regulation, and privatization. Continue reading “Festival of the Commons slated October 7-8 at Augsburg College”

350 — the most important number in the world

Aug350There are three numbers you need to really understand global warming, 275, 390, and 350.

For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Parts per million is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules per million other molecules in the atmosphere. 275 ppm CO2 is a useful amount without some CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for humans to inhabit. Continue reading “350 — the most important number in the world”

Auggies traverse the concrete jungle

ecotripIn summer 2008, Professors Lars Christiansen and Nancy Fischer led students to Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia to explore sustainability in an urban context. The professors and students from the “Sustainable Cities in North America” course, will share insights gained in these cities and our own Twin Cities on Thursday, Oct. 16 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Lindell 301. The event will be of particular interest to those concerned about environmental issues, cities, business practices, comparative government, and the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading “Auggies traverse the concrete jungle”

Auggies traverse the concrete jungle

ecotripHow can a major metropolitan area — with all its concrete, glass, and steel — be green? How can it be eco-friendly and implement measures that will ensure its healthy future? That is precisely what students in the Sustainable Cities summer course are attempting to discover. Sociology professors Nancy Fischer and Lars Christiansen are leading a group of students through Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia to examine different facets of sustainability in an urban context. The course is a faculty-led seminar through Augsburg Abroad. Continue reading “Auggies traverse the concrete jungle”

Neighborhood Sustainability Conference at Augsburg

sust_confWith the goal of reducing our environmental impact and inspiring people to take practical action to achieve sustainability, the Neighborhood Sustainability Conference will allow community groups and more than 500 participants to discuss issues surrounding sustainability. This free event is hosted by Augsburg College and will be held at various locations around campus from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on March 8.

Several speakers are scheduled, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Part of the purpose of the conference is to connect government and citizen efforts so they can work in concert to build sustainable communities.

Topic Tracks workshops are offered on several subjects, including: Continue reading “Neighborhood Sustainability Conference at Augsburg”