Keeping YSU Informed: Skype Lecture Series

The Skype lecture series hosted by Ray Beirsrdorfer will continue throughout the month of September into November. Photo by Gabrielle Fellows/ The Jambar.

Youngstown State University is offering a free Skype lecture series on energy and the environment, taking place every Wednesday night from Sept. 3 through Nov. 12 in Room 2000 in Moser Hall.

The series is being hosted by Ray Beirsrdorfer, a professor of geological and environmental sciences at YSU.

“The September speakers will be looking at scientific and public health research related to shale gas. The focus for October will be on policy, with two political scientists and two attorneys speaking,” Beirsrdorfer said. “In November, we move to renewable energy with solar and wind. YSU has a solar electricity expert on the faculty in chemistry: Dr. Clovis Linkous.”

Most of the lectures will be shown by streaming video of the speech via Skype, but there will also be three lectures that are delivered by the professors live.

Beirsrdorfer said that this series is based on the video lectures he had organized last spring by Tony Ingraffea of Cornell University and Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and that the topics will focus mostly on the same subject.

“The talks will focus on peer-reviewed research — the only real exception to that will be when Thomas Linzey, the founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, speaks about the community rights movement,” Beirsrdorfer said. “This will be an exciting lecture — the whole community rights versus corporate rights issue is what Ralph Nader refers to in his left-right coalition.”

Although the lecture series has a main theme, Beirsrdorfer said that he hopes to see people attend all of the showings because they work together to convey a message.

The lecture on Wednesday was over the biodegradation of organic additives in hydraulic fracturing fluids, presented by Paula Mouser, the assistant professor of the department of civil, environmental and geodetic engineering at Ohio State University.

Katie Huffling, the director of programs at the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, will be speaking on Oct. 29 about the role of nurses concerning the impacts of shale gas development.

“I am glad to be able to add the nursing perspective to this lecture series. In communities near fracking sites, we are now seeing increases in a number of health problems such as asthma, headaches, maternal health issues and birth defects,” Huffling said. “Nurses and other healthcare providers have an essential role to play in assessing and treating exposures caused by gas and oil development as well as advocating for the health of their communities.”

Due to the differing subject matter of each speech, Beirsrdorfer said he hopes to see a large amount of students and public attending the series throughout the ongoing dates.

“It’s free and open to the public,” he said. “With a 7 p.m. start time there should be ample free parking at the on-street, metered parking spaces along Lincoln Avenue and adjacent streets.”

The dates of the speakers and what topics they are speaking on are available online at