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Peter Schwartzman


Peter Schwartzman

Professor of Environmental Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Professor of Environmental Studies

Peter Schwartzman

General Interests
"The interaction between human society and the environment is a vital interest of mine. Trained as a climatologist, I study the influence of humans on future climate change. Early on, I compared historical records of climatological variables in order to tease out trends and their sources (natural, anthropogenic, instrumental, error). More recent, I have focused on the role that energy and food systems can play on the future of our civilization.

More generally, I am examining how environmental problems can best be understood, organized, articulated, and tackled. One thing I have learned through this work: our society is just beginning to understand and appreciate the complexity of the world's various spheres (biosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, etc.), and that more curious and dedicated people are sorely needed to improve our awareness and protect our Earth from further degradation."

Years at Knox: 1998 to present

Ph.D., Environmental Sciences, 1997, University of Virginia.
M.S., Science and Technology Studies, 1993, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
B.S., Physics, 1991, Harvey Mudd College.

Teaching Interests
Environmental studies, climatology, environmental justice, energy, science and technology studies, sustainability.

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Mike Kroll Community Service Award, Galesburg Public Library Foundation, 2019
  • Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Travel to Cuba for book research, 2016-2017.
  • 1st place in Journalism, Community Service Division (series on Hunger), Illinois Press Association, 2010.
  • Mayor's Appreciation Award (for the Lunch Spot & Community Dinners), 2009 & 2010.
  • Who's Who Among American Teachers.
  • Rockefeller Brothers Foundation Program Grant, 1999-2002.
  • Research Grant, Global Change Program, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, 1996-1998.

Publications (podcast & articles (published in The Register-Mail Newspaper), 2019-present; topics include: cannabis, consumerism, faith, music, and climate change. (blog), 2016-Present.

“Does BLM + EM = LM?,” Green Horizon, 42, Win/Spr (2021).

The Earth is Not For Sale, World Scientific, 2018.

with David Schwartzman and X. Zhang. "Climatic implications of a rapid wind/solar transition.", March 22, p. 1-17. (2016)

”In Our Town: Urban Agriculture” (Video interview), Trinity Broadcasting Network (2015)

The Zephyr & The New Zephyr, newspapers (2001-2010, 2013)

Select titles: "Whose Rights Count?", "Will Money Solve Our Problems?", "Our Assumptions Need Examination.", "The Ivory Tower is Turning Green.", "Our Plastic World.", "The Center: A New Place for Connecting in Galesburg.", "The Fascination Called Life and What is Happening to It.", "The Sun: An Answer to Many of Our Problems.", “Bioneers: Not Just Another Field Trip in October.”, "Our Environmental Health and Well-Being Depend on a Thriving Democracy."

with David Schwartzman. "A Rapid Solar Transition is not only Possible, it is Imperative!." African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, DOI:10.1080/20421338.2013. 809260, p. 1-17. (2013)

“Renewable Energy” (Audio Interview), KMUD-Redwood Community Radio (2011)

with David Schwartzman. "A Solar Transition is Possible." Institute for Policy Research and Development, March. (2011)

with David Schwartzman. "Is the World Overpopulated?" Green Horizon Quarterly, 4 (2, Winter, 2007)

"Is the World Overpopulated?" Green Horizon Quarterly 4.2 (2007).

"Coal Power in Chicago." Brochure.

“Coal and Air Pollution” (Audio Interview), Eight Forty-Eight, NPR-Chicago (2006)

"Global Warming Isn't the Trend in Galesburg?" Galesburg Register-Mail, December 20, 1999.

with P. Michaels & P.C. Knappenberger. "Observed changes in the diurnal dewpoint cycle across North America." Geophysical Research Letters, 25(July 1), p. 2265-2268. (1998)

with P.C. Knappenberger & P. Michaels. "Observed changes in the diurnal temperature and dewpoint cycles across the United States." Geophysical Research Letters, 23(Sept. 15), p. 2637-2640. (1996)

"The population growth debate in the public sphere." Social Epistemology, 9(4), p. 289-310. (1995)


“What happens when students take a class into the world,”  ACM Environmental Education Symposium, May 2021

 “The ‘Fight’ over the Melting Arctic”, Great Decisions 2021, AAUW, May 2021.

“Dreams for Galesburg”, Sunrise Rotary (Galesburg), May 2021.

“The History of Earth Day and Environmental Myths”, Noontime Rotary (Galesburg), April 2021.

"Urban Agriculture" & "Education & Careers," GEM Academy, Chicago. May 2017.

"Local Foods & Sustainable Farming," Social Justice Series, Galesburg Public Library, Galesburg, IL. April 2017.

"The Future of Energy (100% renewable and sooner than anyone expects)," Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL. April 2017.

"Local Foods & Land Preservation," Prairie Land Conservancy, En Season, Galesburg, IL. August 2016.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Co-advisor, Galesburg History Project, Summer 2021-present
  • Mayor, Galesburg, 2021-present; Galesburg City Council, Ward 5, Galesburg, 2011-2021
  • Chair, Campus Diversity Committee, Student Life Committee, and Curriculum Committee, Knox College.
  • Faculty Advisor, Students for Sustainability.
  • Member Minority Concerns Committee, Executive Board, Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM).
  • Participant, Precaution Academy, West Dundee, Illinois.
  • Participant and Presenter, Technology Fair, Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, Illinois.
  • Columnist, The Zephyr, The New Zephyr, & The Register-Mail (Galesburg newspapers).
  • Coach, Geography Bowl and fifth grade boys and girls basketball, Silas Willard Elementary School, Galesburg, Illinois.
  • Participant, National Scrabble Championship (five times).

What Students Say
"Peter Schwartzman has always been, and continues to be, a great inspiration both inside and outside the classroom. His strong understanding of subject matter, coupled with his enthusiasm for teaching makes Peter a truly exemplary academician. What distinguishes Peter from others is his keen interest in environmental studies and his desire to make a change. "
-Rish Bir Singh, Economics and Environmental Studies Major

"Professor Schwartzman is extremely passionate about Environmental Studies and somehow he formulates that passion into his students. He believes in making changes by actually doing things; and has proved so by growing food in his own garden. He is a learned Professor, a kind social worker, an inspirational Journalist, a hard working farmer and most importantly a great human being. He is spectacular."
-Kusum Hachhethu, Environmental Studies Major

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Printed on Saturday, May 18, 2024