The Sustainability Leadership Council (SLC) was formally announced on Earth Day 2019 and charged with providing advice and recommendations to university leaders on policies, programs, and initiatives that will build a greater role for Johns Hopkins in teaching, research, and leadership focusing on sustainability. On April 17th, the SLC hosted its first Annual Symposium, “Earth Day at 50: Renewing JHU’s Commitment to a Livable Planet” as a virtual eventan exciting opportunity for members of the Johns Hopkins community to come together and discuss sustainability issues as they relate to the university, our broader community, and the planet. View symposium session and hear from sustainability experts in a variety of fields and reflect on both our collective action and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Video links and session details below.



Andrew Revkin, former reporter on the environment for the New York Times and founding director of the Columbia University’s Initiative on Communication and Sustainability, spoke to making information matter on a noisy, polarized but deeply observed and connected planet.

Andrew Revkin is one of America’s most honored and experienced environmental journalists and the founding director of the new Initiative on Communication and Sustainability at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. There he is building programs, courses, tools and collaborations bridging communication gaps between science and society to cut climate risk and boost social and environmental resilience. Revkin has written on climate change for more than 30 years, reporting from the North Pole to the White House, the Amazon rain forest to the Vatican – mostly for The New York Times. He has held positions at National Geographic and Discover Magazine and won the top awards in science journalism multiple times, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship. Revkin has written acclaimed books on the history of humanity’s relationship with weather, the changing Arctic, global warming and the assault on the Amazon rain forest, as well as three book chapters on science communication. Two very different films have been based on his work: “Rock Star” (Warner Brothers, 2001) and the triple-Golden-Globe-winning 1994 HBO film “The Burning Season,” based on Revkin’s biography of slain rain forest defender Chico Mendes. A lifelong musician, he was a frequent accompanist of Pete Seeger and is a performing songwriter.

This session was be moderated by Dr. Benjamin Zaitchik, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Co-Chair of the SLC Research Subcommittee.


Remarks from Provost Sunil Kumar and an update from the Sustainability Leadership Council Co-Chairs, Peter Winch and Bob McLean, on the achievements of the SLC in its first year.

A group session with Professor Anand Pandian and Dr. Nicole Labruto, Department of Anthropology, on the dimensions of defining “sustainability.” Attendees collaborated using an interactive conceptboard tool to develop a collective, evolving thought-map defining “sustainability,” the final version of which can be accessed HERE.

A collection of engaging, lightening talks delivered by faculty and students addressing sustainability, in its various forms, across the university. Presentations from:

  • Tracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Baltimore and Across the Globe | Professor Scott Miller; Whiting School of Engineering, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering | VIDEO RECORDING HERE
  •  Enabling Renewable Energy Penetration Through Modeling and Control | Professor Dennice Gayme; Whiting School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering | VIDEO RECORDING HERE
  •  EN – ROADs: A New Way to Inspire Climate Action | Talia Henkle; School of Medicine, Department of Immunology | VIDEO RECORDING HERE
  • The Global Politics of Decarbonization | Professor Bentley Allan; Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science | VIDEO RECORDING HERE
  • Why We Need Fossil Fuel Divestment to Beat Climate Change | Colin Bowen; Whiting School of Engineering, Department of Applied Mathematics & Statistics | VIDEO RECORDING HERE
  • Taboos as the Key to Sustainability | Mariama Morray; Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Spanish | VIDEO RECORDING HERE
This session was moderated by Professor Susanna Thon; Whiting School of Engineering, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Irena Steiner; Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

A round-robin poster session featuring sustainability-focused research and initiatives across the institution.



Eric Zhang, Whiting School of Engineering; “Electroreduction of Carbon Dioxide with Nanocatalysts”

Smiti Nathan, Life Design Lab; “Designing Your Sustainable Experience” | POSTER LINK HERE



Rui Shi, Whiting School of Engineering; “How to Monitor Intra-Urban Temperature More Efficiently?”

Tarek Meah, Krieger School of Arts & Studies; “Eco-Friendly Housing for Migrant Workers in the UAE”



Eric Rong, Whiting School of Engineering; “Engineering New Hole Extraction Materials for Colloidal Quantum Dot Solar Cells”

Elizabeth Mensah, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences; “Coarse Grained Models of Nanoparticles at Biological Interfaces”



Nancy Wang & Shreya Wadhwa, Whiting School of Engineering; “Connecting Green” | POSTER LINK HERE