Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates:


H2Otalks are an outgrowth of the popularity of TAFTtalks. These talks revolve around discussions on water rights, usage, and responsibility. In Creating Our Third Century, Taft is helping to forge the critical mass necessary for a sustained program in water studies.

Tara Houska II

Tara Houska

Tara Houska is Ojibwe of Saulteaux, Couchiching First Nation. She is the a founding board member of Not Your Mascots, non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the misappropriation of Indigenous identity, imagery and culture, and is also currently the National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth, an environmental justice group. Previously, Houska has served as the Native American advisor to the Bernie Sanders, Tribal Attorney, and lobbyist for Native American concerns. In her TAFTtalk, Houska discusses her work with Honor the Earth and fighting for trial rights and sustainable land practices.

Questions in this interview:

  • What is Honor the Earth? (0:14)
  • What is your role in Honor the Earth? (2:18)
  • What issue have you dealt with as a tribal rights attorney?(4:25)
  • What impact do racial stereotypes have on the Native American community? (6:30)


Amy Townsend-Small

Dr. Townsend-Small researches the human impacts on global carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles; feedbacks between the carbon cycle, the hydrologic cycle, and climate change; greenhouse gas emissions and water quality associated with energy production; stable isotopes and radiocarbon dating. Her current research explores the sources and fluxes of methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. For more on Dr. please see her research profile here.

Questions in this interview:

  • 0:16 Can you describe your research on water and climate change?
  • 2:05 How are human activities impacting the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?
  • 3:08 How do we know greenhouse gas emissions change the world’s climate?
  • 4:00 How does climate change impact the world’s water resources?
  • 4:57 How do you measure evaporation?
  • 5:23 Why should our generation care about these issues?


Vernon Scarborough

Distinguished Research Professor and Charles Phelps Taft Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Dr. Vernon Scarborough’s interests include settlement, land use, and water management in the context of the archaic state. Through the lens of ancient engineered water systems and landscapes, his research addresses sustainability issues from a comparative ecological perspective. Since 1992, he has been co-director of the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project, and is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee with IHOPE (Integrated History for the Future of the People of Earth), for both the global (Berlin meeting) and the regional Asia, and the Americas initiatives. Dr. Scarborough has published 7 books and over 70 book chapters and journal articles and is currently (at the time of production) editing the volume Water and Humanity: A Historical Overview for UNESCO, a major initiative of their International Hydrological Program (Delft). 

Questions in this interview:

  • What are your research interests? (00:15)
  • What can the Maya teach us about water conservation? (01:16)
  • How did the Mayans deal with dirty/gray water? (05:32)
  • What was the Maya approach to water management? (08:52)


Alison Auciello

An organizer for Food & Water Watch in Ohio, Alison Auciello has worked with Ohio Citizen Action on manufacturing, coal. and landfill pollution issues. Through community outreach and fundraising, Auciello has been an integral part of stopping new coal plants from being built in Ohio, and continues to advocated for closure of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants, as well as end mountaintop removal.

Questions in this interview:

  • Can you describe the work of Food and Water Watch? (00:16)
  • Why is fracking a concern for environmental justice advocates? (01:28)
  • How does fracking impact communities? (07:23)
  • What is Food and Water Watch doing to stop fracking? (13:02)


Bill Mckibben

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He is founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities; Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.” A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern. 

Questions in this interview:

  • How did you become involved in climate change politics?(00:10)
  • What impact does climate change have for life on earth? (07:36)
  • Is there any hope given the bleak outlook for life on a warming earth? (12:42)

malcolmlondongray (1)

Malcolm London

Called the Gil-Scott Heron of his generation by Cornel West, Malcolm London is an internationally recognized poet, activist, and educator. A member of the Young Adult Council of the prestigious Steppenwolf Theater, he has appeared on PBS for the first ever televised TED Talk with John Legend and Bill Gates, and has shared stages with actor Matt Damon and rapper Lupe Fiasco as a part of the The People Speak Live! cast. He also appears on Season 2 of TVOne’s Verses & Flow. In 2011, Malcolm London won the Louder Than A Bomb youth poetry slam in his native Chicago, in both individual and team performance. Malcolm’s work has been featured on national outlets including CBS, NPR, Huffington Post, The Root, and the Chicago Tribune. London attends University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a member and co-chair of BYP100 Chicago Chapter, a national organization of Black activists. London is currently devoted to being a youth advocate and coordinator of The Know Your Rights Project out of Northwestern Law School, a project dedicated to educating young people on their rights within the juvenile justice system, and continuing his work as teaching artist on staff at Young Chicago Authors, a program working to transform the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication, and performance education.

 "Detroit is the lost city of Atlantis, drowning in misappropriated funds" is London's compelling approach to the city's water issues being solved by means of privatization, while shutting down the service for nearly a third of its population, is interpreted in terms of de-humanization and moral bankruptcy.