MIT ESI Newsletter, Issue 1
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Issue 1 | February 10, 2017

Director's Message

John E. Fernández

Introducing the first issue of the ESI newsletter!

We hope you will welcome this regular update on the activities of the ESI and important developments on climate change and the environment, human settlements and infrastructure, resources and society, here on campus and in the world. This newsletter will be one of the ways we will connect with you regularly and strategically as we continue to expand our programmatic portfolio and engage with every segment of our community and with our partners far and wide. 

These are trying times; disruptive times. Recent successes to protect our wild lands and natural capital as well as move toward long term stabilization and reduction of global carbon emissions are facing the prospect of rollbacks and wholesale repudiation. The nation’s commitment to climate action is downshifting even while a massive crack in Antarctica’s Larsen ice shelf continues to grow. Only months after its designation, the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah may see expanded mining of oil, gas, potash and uranium threatening a unique American place. The US commitment to the COP21 climate agreement is uncertain and many efforts to rescue and archive valuable scientific data from dozens of government agencies are underway. For the foreseeable future we can be most certain of great uncertainty in policy-making despite the constantly mounting evidence of ever more dire consequences of climate change.
Yet, despite the dramatic swing of the federal pendulum away from strong and sustained commitments to steward the environment and tackle climate change head-on, the ESI is doubly motivated.  Read more...
ESI is now on Facebook
check out photos of our recent events...and more!
photo: Jake Belcher
photo: Hannah Loomis

2nd Annual Hackathon for Climate

Minerva Teli, ESI Programs Intern

On Friday January 27th, ESI and Conservation International joined up to host ESI’s second annual Hackathon for Climate Change. About 50 people devoted a full day to combating critical climate change issues by inventing nature-based solutions.  Read more about the day...


Upcoming Proposal Deadlines

Research Seed Grants: February 17 by 5pm
Martin Fellow Nominations:  February 28 by 5pm
Curriculum Grants: March 17 by 5pm



Spring 2017 MIT Faculty Lunches: four Wednesdays from 12 – 1pm.  
  • Feb 15: Prof. Antoine Allanore, Dept of Materials Science and Engineering
  • March 8: Prof. Janelle Knox-Hayes, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning
  • April 5: Prof. Steven Barrett, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • May 10: Prof. Tom Peacock, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
MIT faculty members are cordially invited to join ESI and other faculty at a regular series of faculty lunch discussions.  These informal lunch gatherings offer an opportunity to discuss environment and sustainability activities with colleagues from across the Institute and include one presentation on a project or topic of interest.  MIT faculty may email for location and more information.

ESI People and the Planet Lecture: Tuesday, April 25th, E14-633, 4 - 6pm

Featuring Bob Inglis, Founder and Executive Director of republicEn.  More information to be announced soon.


DataRescue at MIT: Saturday, February 18th, 37-252, 8:30am-5pm

DataRescue at MIT is an opportunity for civic hackers, scientists, activists, and volunteers of all kinds to identify, back-up, and help preserve at-risk federal data resources in the public interest, before they are suppressed from public view and use. Register here.


Study tracks “memory” of soil moisture (Jan 16) – MIT News
Study: Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use (Jan 19) – MIT News
What Trump Can and Can’t Do to Dismantle Obama’s Climate Rules (Jan 26) – New York Times
Mangroves and marshes key in the climate change battle (Feb 2) - The Huffington Post

Companies from Chanel to Ben and Jerry's are Benefiting from the new “Carbon Insetting” Trend (Feb 1) – Ensia

Copyright © 2017 MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, All rights reserved.

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