Web Exclusives


Interview: Holistic Land Management

Allan Savory, founder of the concept of holistic land management, sees livestock-assisted grassland management as a key to sustainability and global well-being.

Portrait: Jack Myers.

Interview: The Gap Generation

Media ecologist Jack Myers shares his thoughts on the ideas and ideals of the first generation to have never known a world without the Internet.

Article: Gaining Momentum

Momentum – an independent publication of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) – is dramatically expanding its print and online magazine and event series, thanks to a two-year, $370,000 grant from the Palo Alto–based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Portrait: Paul Matteucci.

Interview: Making Change

U.S. Venture Partners venture capitalist Paul Matteucci has long been helping ignite the spark for promising entrepreneurs. In this interview, he describes his vision for helping build a better world by supporting initiatives that advance food security.

Portrait: Roger Barnett.

Interview: “The Right Thing to Do”

Think green business is a relatively recent innovation? Shaklee would beg to differ. The nutrition and personal care products company, founded on the principle “follow the laws of nature and you’ll never go wrong,” has been promoting environmental responsibility for more than a half century. Shaklee CEO Roger Barnett spoke recently about the company's role as a sustainability innovator.

Portrait: Klaus Leisinger.

Interview: Toward Health for All

How can a compassionate humanity meet the health care needs of the more than 2 billion people who live on less than $2 per day? Klaus M. Leisinger, chairman of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, shares his thoughts on how we can best work together to alleviate poverty-related health problems in the developing world.

Interview: Heading South (by Southwest)

Austin, Texas, is legendary for Longhorns football, night-flying bats and a bustling music scene. In 2011, the organization that founded the city’s most famous music festival—SXSW—took a leap into the sustainability space. The result, in true Austin fashion, was an event that brought together entrepreneurs, eco-geeks, sustainability visionaries, leading academics and more. This year’s conference promises to be even bigger and bolder.

Janine Benyus

Interview: Amoeba-Through-Zebra Innovation

From the first stirrings of life on this planet, nature has had the role of premier innovator and inventor. How might we benefit from tapping nature’s power of design? Author, biologist and innovator Janine Benyus explores how the solutions of biology can help solve the challenges of design in an environmentally friendly way.

Article: Would You Invite an Environmentalist to Your Party?

Inner-city youths participating in a focus group reported they wouldn’t invite an environmentalist to a party. And they’re probably right: environmentalists at times can be about as much fun as an endangered heron choking on an endangered frog. What would it take to make environmentalism fun?

William McDonough

Interview: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Architect and author William McDonough envisions a world without waste or toxic materials. What would it take to turn that vision to reality?

Article: Land Matters

Can we raise new biofuel feedstocks without displacing food crops, impairing biodiversity or competing with wildlife habitat? If so, how much? Check out this look at the bioenergy potential of marginal lands.

Martin Palmer

Interview: What would it take for faith communities to become leaders in solving global environmental challenges?

Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, answers the question: "What would it take for faith communities to become leaders in solving global environmental challenges?"

Enric Sala: National Geographic

Interview: Can We Eat Our Fish and Protect Them, Too?

It’s hard to not feel guilty about eating seafood these days, as reports of collapsed fisheries abound. Led by a group from the World Economic Forum, however, an exciting solution is beginning to emerge. Enric Sala spoke to Momentum and Forbes recently about “fish banks” as a tool for protecting biodiversity while providing food and jobs from the ocean.

Andy Bochman

Interview: What Would It Take to Develop a Smart Grid?

Andy Bochman, energy security lead with IBM, talks with Momentum about what a smart grid really is, how it can help provide a more energy-secure future, and what it will take to move it from a work in progress to full-blown deployment.

Ted Nordhaus

Interview: What Would It Take to Embrace Environmental Protection as a Universal Value?

Breakthrough Institute co-founder Ted Nordhaus talks with Momentum about the many faces of environmentalism and how we might move beyond cultural divides and partisan politics to solve the big challenges our planet faces.

Jonathan Patz

Interview: What would it take to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals?

To physician and global health expert Jonathan Patz, director of global environmental health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the health-related Millennium Development Goals are tied to environmental sustainability.

Richard Alley

Interview: Richard Alley on Challenges, Choices & Climate Change

Richard Alley is a glaciologist at Penn State University, a lead author for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and host of the new PBS series “Earth: The Operators’ Manual.” Read his thoughts about the state of Earth’s climate and what tools we might have to shift the trajectory in this exclusive interview with Momentum and Forbes.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Extended Interview: What would it take to create a thriving green economy?

The promise of the green economy seems to linger just out of reach for America. Why is the U.S. on the sidelines while other countries forge ahead? Here are some thoughts from Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green for All.

Brian Malow

Extended Interview: What would it take for scientists to become better communicators?

Science and comedy are two words you rarely see together—unless you’re Brian Malow. A science comedian, Malow entertains audiences across the country. He also shares tips for scientists interested in becoming better public speakers.

M. Sanjayan

Extended Interview: What would it take to stem the loss of biodiversity?

It’s hard to imagine how we might turn the tide on today’s sobering rate of biodiversity decline. But M. Sanjayan, a Sri-Lankan born, African-raised ecologist and lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, has some encouraging ideas.

Extended Interview: How can we stop the illegal trade in animal parts?

Belinda Wright, founder and executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, shares her thoughts on how we might help protect biodiversity by curbing poaching, illegal trade and other wildlife crime.

Interview: What would it Take to Solve Climate Change?

Princeton University physicist and climate change strategist Robert Socolow calls for setting well-considered goals and advancing policies, research, development and deployment that support the deployment of low-carbon energy sources.

Interview: Jeremy Rifkin on the 3rd Industrial Revolution

Economist and energy visionary Jeremy Rifkin says we're on the cusp of a Third Industrial Revolution, one that could transform energy production and distribution in the way the Internet has transformed communication. Learn more in this exclusive interview with Momentum and Forbes.

Article: Phosphorus Recovery

Phosphorus is a challenge both where it’s insufficient and where it’s overabundant. In this repost from Environmental Health Perspectives, Tim Lougheed explores technologies to limit adverse impacts through recovery or recycling.

EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Sandra Postel, Uncut

Whether it’s 500-year floods or 100-year droughts, water has been one of the top news stories in 2011. In an exclusive interview with Momentum, Sandra Postel, founder of the Global Water Policy Project, describes how we can shape a sustainable future for Earth’s freshwater.

VIDEO: Sandra Postel at TEDx

Global Water Policy Project founder Sandra Postel gave a stirring testimonial to the need to protect water resources for people and the rest of the planet at the TedX MidAtlantic event held Nov. 5, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

SLIDE SHOW: The People of Lamandau River

In 2009 Rare, an organization that empowers local people around the world to change the way their communities relate to nature, commissioned photographer Jason Houston and writer William deBuys to depict the social complexities of conservation in Indonesian Borneo.

SLIDE SHOW: Freshwater Photo Contest

Talented photographers around the world shared their views of what makes freshwater special through Momentum’s photo contest. View a few of the top picks.  

VIDEO: Lake Superior and Climate Change

Scientists at the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth explore the implications of climate change and other human activities for Lake Superior and the African great lakes.

PODCAST: Global Great Lakes

Project lead Robert Hecky explains how the Global Great Lakes project aims to improve management of large lakes around the world by improving our ability to acquire, interpret and share data.

ARTICLE: A Family Story

Over 65 years, three scientists—a father, daughter, and granddaughter—have compiled a remarkable record of the Lake Baikal ecosystem.

VIDEO: Adding Value Through Green Chemistry

Green chemistry founding father John Warner talks about learning what molecules want, reinventing chemistry education and more.

EXTENDED ESSAY: Fuelish Choices, Uncut

A fact-finding trip to Brazil’s Mato Grosso yields new insights on the interplay of biofuels, land use, politics and social justice.

SLIDE SHOW: Images of Mato Grosso

View scenes from a 10-day visit to Brazil exploring the diverse dimensions of land use and ethanol production.

VIDEO: Eating Aphids From the inside Out

Tiny wasps hold promise for helping control nonnative soybean aphids without pesticides. Watch how a similar wasp uses aphids as both nursery and buffet for its babies.

Infographic: Electronic Waste

Every year we discard 20 million tons or more of consumer electronics. What kinds of problems does that cause? What can we do about them?

Web Feature: Companies & Climate Change

Farsighted private companies are adjusting and adapting to climate change even in the absence of strong government leadership globally and nationally. Understanding, anticipating and managing their risks are becoming those companies’ new, and challenging, reality.

Infographic: The Future of Solar

How big a role does solar play in our overall energy picture? What kind of promise does it hold? This infographic, produced for visualizing.org, provides a snapshot of solar energy’s past, present and future.


Book Review: Hot by Mark Hertsgaard

Mark Hertsgaard’s new book, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, offers abundant examples of what individuals, communities, and countries are doing to prepare for a warmer world.

Article: Who Lives Where—and So What?

A just-published book, Human Population: Its Influence on Biological Diversity, provides intriguing insights into the connections between human population clusters and the well-being of species and ecosystems.

President Nasheed

Interview: Keeping Above Water

The Republic of Maldives, a popular tourist destination in the Indian Ocean, has drawn attention in recent months because its average altitude is 1.5 meters—alarmingly close to predictions of climate-change-induced sea level rise by the end of this century. In an interview with Momentum, Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed, talks about his country’s response to the threat of climate change.

Majora Carter

Video: Building a Better Neighborhood

Eco-entrepreneur Majora Carter transformed a neighborhood waste dump into a community-boosting waterfront park. Now she's transforming the world by sharing the vision of environment-centered urban renewal far and wide. This 40-minute video captures Carter’s inspirational Momentum 2011 presentation, "You Don't Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One."


The mountain pine beetle is pushing whitebark pine toward the endangered species list. 

Sylvia Earle

Article: Oceans of Inspiration

National Geographic explorer in residence, deep-sea diver and ocean advocate Sylvia Earle addressed a crowd of more than 500 May 12 at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis. With lyrical words and stunning underwater images, Earle conveyed not only her passion for what she calls "the blue heart of the planet," but also her conviction that we must - and, encouragingly, can - rescue it from overfishing, climate change and other onslaughts it faces today.

Water for Mulobere

Video: Water for Mulobere

In 2009, an Engineers Without Borders group designed, built and installed a solar-powered water supply system for Mulobere, Uganda. This award-winning documentary by videographer Beth M. Anderson captures their challenges and successes.

Article: Climate Change Adaptation at COP16

Last fall’s COP16 international climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, disappointed some by not producing binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction standards. However, it did give rise to one of the most significant developments in international climate change adaptation, with special relevance to the least-developed countries: adoption of the Cancun Adaptation Framework.

Wangari Maathai

Extended Interview: Wangari Maathai, Uncut

Wangari Maathai has made environmental preservation in Africa her life’s work. Momentum recently had the honor of speaking with Maathai about climate adaptation in Africa, the role of women in the environmental movement and her hopes for the future. Read the complete, unedited version of that interview here.

Podcast: Islands in the Sun

The tendency of pavement and rooftops to soak up sunlight and radiate it back into the atmosphere means big cities are warming faster than the rest of the planet. University of Minnesota climate scientists Peter Snyder and Tracy Twine talk about their research aimed at reducing adverse impacts of the urban heat island effect.

Extended Interview: Allan Carroll, Uncut

Mountain pine beetles are transforming western North America as they gnaw their way through vast expanses of northern forest. Allan Carroll, a member of the forest sciences faculty at the University of British Columbia, describes the devastation and discusses the extent to which climate change might be playing a role.

Slide show: Favorite Places Photo Contest

What memorable view, near or far, has left you in awe of our amazing Earth? Momentum photo contest top-pick photographers answered that question with images from mountaintop to seashore and more.

Article: Climate and Cholera

Increasing evidence points to an environmental component to cholera epidemics. In this article from Yale 360, science writer Sonia Shah explores evidence that climate change could increase the threat of cholera as it warms surface waters.

Report: Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010

DARA, an independent organization committed to improving aid for vulnerable populations suffering from conflict, disasters and climate change, provides a visual view of the vulnerability of countries around the world to various dimensions of climate change and outlines ways to limit adverse impacts.

Sidenote: Rocking the Planet

Back in the 1970s Marvin Gaye sang about “oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas” and “fish full of mercury.” Today’s rockers are going a step further with eco-friendly merchandise, carbon-neutral concerts and biodiesel buses. Here’s a snapshot of some of the artists who are mixing music and the environment.

Download: You'll Be Bright

Enjoy a free download of “You’ll Be Bright” from Cloud Cult’s new “Light Chasers” album, and watch the eco-friendly indie-rock group’s music video “Running With the Wolves.”

Video: Just the Facts

Check out the winner of Dialogue Earth’s international competition to develop a factual, user-friendly educational video on ocean acidification. Watch the video

Video: China's Challenges

Scientist’s Soapbox writer Elizabeth Wilson talks about the context, policies and challenges shaping the Chinese energy revolution. Watch the presentation

Slide show: Changing Times

Tropical dry forests are growing back in northwestern Costa Rica, giving ecologist Jennifer Powers a living laboratory for studying how nature heals.

Article: Red, White and Green?

The General Services Administration advises the U.S. government on purchasing $425 billion worth of goods and services annually, and manages more than 10,000 buildings and 217,000 vehicles. Institute on the Environment resident fellow Tim Smith shares insights gained while helping GSA explore how to achieve its “zero environmental footprint” goal.

Article: Living in the Anthropocene

What’s in a name? In this article, reprinted with permission from Yale Environment 360, Nobel Prize–winning scientist Paul Crutzen and colleague Christian Schwägerl, explore how thinking of and talking about the times we’re in as the “Anthropocene” could make all the difference.

Article: Planet of the Microbes?

How do microorganisms really rate in the biodiversity derby? Responding to Momentum’s article “Planet of the Insects,” University of Minnesota bacterial physiologist Jeffrey Gralnick shares some interesting observations about species diversity among some of the smallest organisms alive.

Extended Interview: Into the Wild Blue Under

Water covers nearly 71 percent of earth, yet we know more about deep space than the deep ocean. Oceanographer Sylvia Earle aims to change that. Momentum sat down with this legend of the sea for an eye-opening discussion of why the oceans truly matter to the health of the planet, and us.

Slide show: Biodiversity Photo Contest

Costa Rica, Snowball Lake, a South African conservatory, and Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Canada, are among the places participants in Momentum’s biodiversity photo contest found an abundance of life.

Video: What is Nature Worth?

Plants, animals, even entire ecosystems are disappearing So what? "What Is Nature Worth" offers a three-minute look at what we’re REALLY losing – and what we can do about it.

Article: Wealth of Nations

Natural resources form the foundation for all we do, yet we often fail to include their value when we make critical decisions that affect our global environment.  In this article, reprinted with permission from Seed Magazine’s Global Reset 2010, Seed editor Maywa Montenegro and Veronique Greenwood call for a new way to measure human progress that acknowledges and protects the value of goods like biodiversity and clean air.

Visual: Marine InVest

Marine InVEST, a scenario assessment tool, allows users to explore how proposed changes to a coastal region might affect nature's ability to provide food, protection from coastal hazards, and other services. This run is looking at how installation of devices to capture wave energy might impact the view from various protected areas on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Slide show: Planet of Insects

As part of National Geographic’s One Cubic Foot project, photographer David Liittschwager focused his camera on one cubic foot of fynbos on Table Mountain in South Africa—and encountered a delightful array of insects and other living creatures.

Article: Revolution by Natural Affection

Can conservation succeed if humans don’t love the Earth? University of Minnesota conservation biology graduate student Brandon Breen, who’s currently working as a condor biologist in Ecuador, argues for reconnecting with nature as an important step in achieving sustainability while securing the benefits biodiversity provides.

Video: Biodiversity Research at Cedar Creek

In this two-minute video, ecologist David Tilman explains what his internationally acclaimed research at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve has to tell us about the value of biodiversity.

Multimedia Archives

For more videos produced by the Institute on the Environment please visit youtube.com/UMNIonE.

Powered By

  • University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment



Stay Connected

  • Facebook Twitter
    Bookmark and Share

Event Series

  • Momentum 2011
    The Momentum event series brings today’s leading environmental visionaries to the Twin Cities to deliver thought-provoking presentations.