Join the TSE for our 2020-2021 Seminar Series!
The Trent School of the Environment Seminar Series is a casual way to meet colleagues, professors, and guest speakers, and to learn about ongoing research and issues related to the environment.
This year's seminar series events will be delivered online via Zoom and typically happen the first Friday of the month from October through April. These events are free and open to all members of the Trent Community and the public. Trent School of the Environment students, faculty and staff will receive Zoom links for each event in their Trent email. If you are not a member of the TSE community and are interested in attending one of the events, please email Ian Power.
2020-2021 Seminar Series Schedule
TSE Seminar Series presents Guelph University professors Emily Chiang and Rafael Santos, “Minerals for carbon sequestration in agricultural soils.”
Friday, November 6th, 3:00 pm on Zoom. More information coming soon!
Anne Pasek | Friday October 2 | 3:00 PM EST
Making Carbon Count: A History of Footprinting and Feeling About Carbon
Climate action is often frustrated by the invisibility of greenhouse gases. In order to address the problem politically, it is frequently assumed, we must first measure, represent, and take ownership of our personal or collective emissions. Yet, these processes of calculation are themselves a site of politics; how carbon is counted affects the social possibilities of data.
This lecture discusses the stakes of such metrics by contrasting two rival forms of climate communication: ecological footprinting and carbon footprinting. Ecological footprinting was developed at UBC in the 1990s in order to evaluate comparative environmental resource costs through the common metric of hectares of land. Given the fixed quantity of land on the planet, the system sought to model and insist on interconnected limits to growth and obligations of transnational equity in trade and waste. Carbon footprinting, by contrast, parses matter only in terms of tons emitted into a placeless sky. Its ascent into popular and scientific practice was won through a combination of significant marketing efforts by BP—the second largest non-state fossil fuel company in the world—and targeted attacks on the ecological footprint concept by The Breakthrough Institute—an American thinktank with a radically different vision for environmentalism in the 21st century.
This history reveals how the science and politics of carbon intersect both within given systems and in the adoption of some systems over others. It also highlights how racial and national disparities, and the difficult emotions they stir up, are made to surface or disappear from in everyday metrics.
About Anne Pasek
Anne Pasek is an Assistant Professor at Trent University cross-appointed between the Department of Cultural Studies and the Trent School of the Environment. Anne researches how people communicate about the social challenges and material complexities of global warming, particular as they concern the carbon cycle. She is also interested in the prospects of low carbon research methods across the social sciences and humanities. She teaches courses in the TSE and Department of Cultural Studies on environmental media, digital culture, and the politics of climate change.
More session details TBA.