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Learn more about speakers available to make public presentations.


Dr. David Karowe is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at WMU. Karowe's lab is looking into how the nutritional quality and defensive chemistry of plants change under elevated CO2 and how such changes affect the growth, survivorship, and behavior of insect herbivores and parasitoids. The ultimate goal of this research is to expand understanding of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of elevated CO2 to include higher trophic levels. This work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. 

Lecture topics: The Scientific Case for Urgent Action on Climate ChangeClimate Impacts on the Great Lakes.



Paul Clements is a professor of Political Science at WMU where he directs the master’s program in International Development Administration and the graduate certificate program in Climate Change Policy and Management. He received a BA in Social Studies from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Princeton. He has conducted evaluations of development projects and worked on evaluation systems in many Africa countries and in Bangladesh, Brazil, and the Philippines. In 2014 and 2016 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in Michigan’s Sixth District. He is a co-founder of the WMU Climate Change Working Group and a founding member of the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition, and with one of his classes he wrote the original draft of the Kalamazoo Climate Action Plan. His climate change-related publications include a book, Rawlsian Political Analysis: Rethinking the Microfoundations of Social Science, with a chapter on “The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change,” a book chapter on “Contractualism and Climate Change,” and articles on “Rawlsian Ethics of Climate Change” and “Beyond Ideal Theory: Foundations for a Critical Rawlsian Theory of Climate Justice.”

Lecture topics:  Ethics and Politics of the Climate Crisis; Climate Justice and International Climate Change Institutions 



Dr. Daniel Macfarlane is an associate professor in the School of the Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at WMU. His research on environmental history, political ecology, historical geography, and policy looks at climate change related to water and energy, particularly in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin. In 2023 he published a book on the history of US-Canada environmental and energy relations, which addresses bilateral climate change diplomacy. His book on the environmental history of Lake Ontario, in which a major theme is climate change, will be published in 2024. Dr. Macfarlane has also published academic and public-facing articles on the history of Canada-US hydropower trade and regulations, fossil fuel pipelines, and the history of Canada-US climate diplomacy. He has taught the ENVS Senior Seminar on topics such as campus climate emissions, solar power, and local greenhouse gas emissions,

Lecture topics: Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Policies; North American Energy Policies and Climate Change; US-Canada Environmental and Energy Relations; North American hydroelectricity 



Dr. Allen Webb is a professor of English at WMU. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The University of Oregon in 1992 and has conducted research and numerous publishings on teaching about the climate crisis in the humanities and social sciences. He teaches climate change-related courses such as cultural studies and climate change, and African literature. 

Lecture topics: Lecture Topics: Urgency of the Climate Crisis, Teaching the Climate Emergency, Cli-Fi Literature and Imagining Climate Futures; Climate Change and American Public Education; Taking Action on the Climate Crisis; Climate Breakdown and Refugees; Climate Breakdown and Civil Disobedience



Dr. Caroline Webber is a retired professor of Family and Consumer Science at WMU. Webbers’ research and focus works to connect dietetics with the environment, specifically sustainable food systems and diet. She was a part of the Hunger & Environmental Nutrition Practice Group (Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics) and the Sustainable Food Systems Division (Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior) - both of which she held positions in.



Dr. Cynthia Pietras is an associate professor of Psychology at WMU. Her research and scholarship involve using principles of behavioral psychology to better understand the human response to climate change. She is also conducting experimental research on climate-change decision-making and variables that influence choice. She is currently working on a book about behavioral psychology and its application to climate change. She has given multiple presentations on the contributions of behavior sciences to climate change and served as a Guest Associate Editor for a special section in the journal Behavior and Social Issues on Behavior and Cultural Systems Analysis for Climate Change.

Lecture Topics: Human Behavior and Climate Change



Dr. Heather McGee is a Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Industrial/Organizational Behavior Management M.A. and Ph.D. graduate programs at WMU, where she received her B.S. (1998), M.A. (2003), and Ph.D. (2004). Dr. McGee also consults with organizations, specializing in helping small businesses, non-profits & human service settings by providing a variety of performance analysis, performance improvement, and training services. Dr. McGee has designed, developed and implemented organizational performance solutions in a variety of industries and settings, including autism service agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, education, and health and human services. These solutions have included performance-based instruction, performance management, behavioral systems changes, and lean sigma initiatives. Dr. McGee is the former Executive Director of the Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) Network and serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM), and on the editorial board for Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for ALULA, and on Advisory Boards for Empower Behavioral Health, Intermountain Centers, and Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Lecture Topics: Behavioral Approaches to Addressing Climate Change



Dr. Kathryn Docherty is an associate professor of Biological Sciences at WMU. She has given public talks about soil microbial ecology and restoration, which relate to climate change to several public organizations, including Asylum Lake Preservation Council, Michigan Prescribed Fire Council, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Toledo Oak Openings MetroParks, and Pierce Cedar Creek Institute (webinar). Within the scientific community, she has given talks on this topic at the Ecological Society of America meeting, the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and the Soil Ecology Society. Currently, she is engaged in an ongoing project which explores best practices for below-ground soil restoration in reclaimed agricultural fields and in prairie conservation corridors within agricultural ecosystems; the main goal is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased soil carbon sequestration by restoring soil microbial communities.

Lecture Topics: Toward Belowground Restoration: Understanding the effects of land management on soil microbial communities in a tallgrass prairie



Laiyin Zhu is an associate professor of Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at WMU. His research focuses on extreme weather and climate change, hydro-climatology, and weather disaster risk analysis. His teachings include courses such as Climate Change: Past, Present, & Future,  World Ecology Problems, Data Analysis in Climate Science, and Extreme Weather under Changing Climate. Zhu uses climate data and different models to understand the mechanisms and impacts of extreme weather/climate events. Much of his past work involved observing variations of hurricane precipitation and flooding, seasonal forecast and long-term prediction of hurricane activity, modeling hurricane power outages, agent-based models of hurricane mitigation, and assessment of future biofuel adaptations. 

Lecture/Presentation Topics: Hurricanes and Climate Change; Climate Change and Mitigation


Dr. Lei Meng is an associate professor of Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at WMU and a physical geographer who received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M, 2009. He has research interests and expertise in climate variability and climate change as well as land-atmosphere interactions and lake-effect snow. He uses the Community Earth System Model to investigate hydrological and biogeochemical processes that are interactive with climate.

Lecture Topics: Land-Atmosphere Interactions; Lake-effect Snowfall and Teleconnections



Dr. Lynne Heasley is an environmental historian and professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at WMU. Her research focuses on the Great Lakes, including how the twinned biodiversity and climate crises are reshaping the region’s ecological, political, and binational relationships. Making sense of complex eco-cultural relationships, and a concern for community well-being, are both characteristics of her writing. Dr. Heasley’s new book, The Accidental Reef and Other Ecological Odysseys in the Great Lakes (MSU Press, 2021), foregrounds the St. Clair River, a critical binational connecting water for lake sturgeon and myriad aquatic lives, and a maritime corridor with a long history of petrochemical and other extractive or polluting industries.



Dr. Mariam Konaté is an associate professor of IIAS at WMU. She is interested in exploring the invaluable insights that can be gained when we include a gendered and intersectional perspective in the climate change and environmental justice discourse, analysis, policy-making, and activism. Konaté is doing so through the teachings of the course Gender and Environmental Justice: A Global Perspective.




Dr. Steve Bertman is a professor in the School of Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at WMU. Dr. Bertman is investigating the impact of changing climate on the biogenic emissions of VOC from Michigan's northern forests. He is also interested in looking at the impact of climate change on the brewing industry. His teachings include environmental courses like Climate Challenges and Solutions and Sustainable Agriculture.

Lecture Topics: Climate Change Impact on Brewing; Why are electric vehicles the way of the future and what should you do about it? 



Dr. Ron Kramer is a professor of Sociology and former Director of the Criminal Justice Program at WMU. He explores climate change from a criminological perspective. Kramer is the co-author of "Crimes of the American Nuclear State: At Home and Abroad" (Northeastern University Press, 1998), "State-Corporate Crime: Wrongdoing at the Intersection of Business and Government" (Rutgers University Press, 2006), and co-editor of "State Crime in the Global Age" (Willan Press, 2010). His new book, "Carbon Criminals, Climate Crimes", analyzes climate change from a state-corporate crime perspective. Dr. Kramer also covers climate crimes teaching the course Corporate and Government Crime.

Lecture Topics: Carbon Criminals, Climate Crimes; Climate Change from a Criminological Perspective



Dr. Todd Kuchta is an associate professor of English and chair of the English Department at WMU. His research and teaching focus on modern British and postcolonial literature. He is particularly interested in English-language fiction from India and Pakistan that address the climate crisis. He was an inaugural member of the WMU Climate Change Working Group Teaching Fellows program (2020) and a member of the Climate Change Across the Curriculum Learning Community (2022). He regularly incorporates fiction about climate change into his courses on postcolonial literature and the history of the novel. He has also taught a 5000-level seminar on the Anthropocene Novel. His essay "Reading Reef in the Anthropocene" appeared in a special issue of the journal South Asian Review. 



Jeff Spoelstra is the Director of the Office for Sustainability within Academic Affairs at WMU. As such, he helps students to implement sustainability and climate change University-wide. Students pay an annual "fee" that provides funding for Office operation (base funding), student "green jobs", and on-campus projects and grants. This unique funding provides students with several physical and digital platforms they can use to pursue their ideas that have the potential to advance campus sustainability across research, teaching, facilities, administration, in-reach, and outreach. Students fix bikes, rent bikes, collect food waste for composting, grow food, conduct research, host meetings, and the list goes on. This has infused sustainability and climate change content across the curriculum (research and teaching) and helps us strengthen ties with local community to advance town/gown climate-related initiatives, plans, and projects. Students research, quantify, record, and document sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions data and publicly report using tools unique to the higher education sector.



Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook is professor of Environment, Geography, and Sustainability. She has conducted climate change research in terms of environmental effects on and from sports as well as the broad category of environmental geography with emphases on geomorphology, natural hazard, and perception.

Lecture Topics: Climate Change Impacts on Natural Hazards and Disasters; Climate Change and Sports




Dr. Cybelle Shattuck is associate professor in the School of Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at WMU, studying the role of religion in promoting responses to climate change and factors that affect faith-based climate action. She is also secretary for Hope for Creation, a grassroots interfaith group that supports climate action among individuals and congregations in the Kalamazoo area. Shattuck also teaches a course on Environmental Justice that addresses Climate Justice issues. 

Lecture Topics: Faith-based Climate Action