This April, The New School holds its first Earth Week Festival, coordinated by the Office for Sustainability. This cross-disciplinary collaboration of administrative and academic departments and student groups raises awareness about sustainability, strengthens the campus community, and links The New School with the millions of people celebrating the 42nd annual Earth Day.
On April 26, Water Fight: A Teach-In on Fracking and Our Energy Future brings a panel of experts and activists together to discuss the impact of hydraulic-fracturing natural gas extraction. A Q&A with the audience follows. Moderated by Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons The New School for Design, the panel includes:
Al Appleton—A senior fellow at the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design and adjunct associate professor at Cooper Union, where he teaches an advanced concepts seminar on sustainability and economics. During the early 1990s, Appleton served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and director of the New York City water and sewer system.
Hilary Baum—President and founder of Baum Forum/Public Market Partners, Baum produces educational conferences and special events focusing on critical food and farming issues. As founding coordinating director of Food Systems Network NYC and the Public Market Collaborative, Baum has long been involved in the development of farmers’ and public markets, agricultural marketing programs, and community-supported agriculture. She co-authored Public Markets and Community Revitalization.
Ashok Gupta—Director of programs and former director of energy policy and a senior energy economist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Gupta specializes in global warming policy, energy efficiency, renewables, sustainable building design, smart growth, and transportation policy. He serves as NRDC's representative on Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability Advisory Board and Energy Policy Task Force and on the boards of directors of the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Citizen's Union Foundation, and Green Light New York.
Hilary Meltzer—Deputy chief of the Environmental Law Division at the New York City Law Department, Meltzer has worked extensively with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection on issues relating to the potential impacts—for public agencies and local stakeholders—of hydraulic fracturing on New York’s drinking water supply. Her work involves a combination of litigation and counseling, dealing particularly with enforcement cases intended to protect against contamination in the upstate New York watershed.
Louis Wright—A senior in Environmental Studies at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, Wright is active in the antifracking movement. He also works with Amp Up Youth Summit, Bill McKibben’s 350.org, and the university’s undergraduate environmental student organization, ReNew School.
Joel Towers—Executive dean of Parsons The New School for Design since 2009 and previously dean of Parsons’ School of Design Strategies. An associate professor of architecture and sustainable design, Towers leads the school’s initiatives in sustainability and in 2006 became the inaugural director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School and associate provost for Environmental Studies. In 1992, Towers co-founded SR+T Architects, a firm that extends the domain of traditional practice and undertakes environmental research through its practice. He received his Master of Architecture from Columbia University and his BS in Architecture from The University of Michigan.
Visit www.newschool.edu/earthweek for more information.