Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content
Share |


#          #

Speaker Series


March 23, 2011

Click here to download the videos & audio podcasts of all of our speaker series events.




Bard Center Fellow in Environmental Science, Bard College
Associate Adjunct Research Scientist, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Learn more about Gidon Eshel.



International Program Director
Center for Food Safety



Director, Center for Global Food Issues
Hudson Institute

Learn more about Dennis T. Avery.

Moderated by



Associate Professor of Public Service
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
NYU Wagner School of Public Service

Learn more about Rogan Kersh.

Bios (PDF)

GIDON ESHEL examines numerically food production's impacts on the physical environment. His cutting edge research investigates the energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use, and biogeochemical cycle perturbations of animal and plant based diets. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency and private foundations, and he is a frequent commentator on food, the environment and global climate change. Gidon's training as an applied mathematician and geophysicist, coupled with his expertise in agriculture and climate change, make him a leader in food reform and environmental policy.

DEBBIE BARKER is the international director for the Center for Food Safety (CFS), a legal and public policy institute in Washington, D.C. She also serves in this role for Navdanya International, an organization founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva, based in India. She was formerly the director of the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), a think tank that analyses and critiques forms of economic globalization.

She recently authored The Predictable Rise and Fall of Global Industrial Agriculture, which highlights international policies causing ecological and social harm, and provides alternative strategies to the current food system. She was on the international committee of authors for the World Bank and United Nation major report released in 2008-the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Ms. Barker has edited, co-authored and contributed to numerous other publications including: Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture; Invisible Government-The World Trade Organization (with Jerry Mander); Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible; The Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security (2008) and other publications.

Currently serving on the board of the International Forum on Globalization, Ms. Barker is also a member of the Committee on the Future of Food and Agriculture commissioned by the government of Tuscany, Italy. She was formerly a board member of the Sustainable Cotton Project.

DENNIS T. AVERY grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan, and has been involved with agriculture throughout his life. He holds an outstanding performance award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and served 9 years as the agricultural analyst for the U.S. Department of State- where he won the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement in 1983. Avery has been a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute since taking early retirement from the government in 1988.

He currently writes a weekly column on environmental issues, which is distributed to newspapers across the country. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, Seattle Times, Des Moines Register, and dozens of other newspapers. He has also been featured in Fortune, Forbes, The National Journal, and in The Atlantic Monthly ("Will Frankenfoods Save the Planet?" [October 2003]).

Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming makes the point that a world dependent on low-yield organic farming would have little land left for wildlife. Avery first published it in 1995, with a 2nd edition in 2000.

His most recent book, co-authored with physicist Fred Singer, is Unstoppable Global Warming--Every 1500 Years. A New York Times best-seller, it presents the physical and historic evidence that earth has had hundreds of previous global warmings, including at least six during the past 9,000 years.

Dennis Avery lives on a small farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with his wife, Anne.

ROGAN KERSH, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, has been a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow in Health Policy, a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, and Luce Scholar. His publications include Dreams of a More Perfect Union (Cornell University Press, 2001), a study of U.S. political history; Medical Malpractice and the U.S. Health Care System (Cambridge University Press, 2006); and articles and op-ed pieces in numerous academic and popular journals. He is also a frequent television and radio commentator on U.S. political issues.

Prof. Kersh's professional activities include ongoing work with Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, where he was a Distinguished Fellow in 2006, and board memberships of the Critical Review Foundation and Nancy Susan Reynolds Foundation. In 2008 he was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Adminstration. At Wagner, Prof. Kersh is working with Dean Schall, the faculty, and the administration to recruit faculty, develop curriculum, and to attract, train and prepare the next generation of public service leaders who can accomplish sustainable impact on problems of great social importance. He teaches three classes per year while he is Associate Dean and continues his research activities, which currently focus on the politics of obesity and on interest-group lobbying. Prof. Kersh received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale, and his B.A. from Wake Forest University.