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Peter Schwartzman


Peter Schwartzman

Professor of Environmental Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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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. Particularly, I compare historical records of climatological variables in order to tease out trends and their sources (natural, anthropogenic, instrumental, error).

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


  • 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 Blog, produced 29 Blogs from May 2016-June 2017.

43 articles, The Zephyr, 2009.

"Energy Dependence: How Do We Get There From Here?", "I'm Pro Life and I'll be Voting that Way, Too.", "We Need to Enhance the Local.", "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." The Zephyr, 2008.

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

"Looking for Green Presents?", "What Are We Really Thankful For?", "When Should One Scream, 'Fire'?", "Never Doubt the Power of Seemingly Small Things", "What I Learned This Summer", "Everything is Environmental", "Climate Change: What Really Matters", Statistics 101: Everyone Needs to Grapple with Stats.", "A Simple Ride", "There is a Better Way. Nature Will Tell Us. Let's Listen. Let's Start Mimicking It." The Zephyr, 2007.

"Coal Power in Chicago." Brochure.

"Environmental Leaders -- Thank You for Your Vision, Commitment, and Sacrifice." The Zephyr, 2006.

"Bioneers: Not Just Another Field Trip in October." The Zephyr, 2006.

"Our Environmental Health and Well-Being Depend on a Thriving Democracy." The Zephyr, 2006.

"Continued Energy Woes or a Secure Energy Future?" Co-authored with Tim Montague. The Zephyr, 2006.

"Who's Killing all the Little Girls?" The Zephyr, 2006.

"Chicago Through Environmentalist Eyes." The Zephyr, 2006.

"Take a Deep Breath. It's Time to Clean the Air." The Zephyr, 2006.

"Do You Really Want to Eat That? A Closer Look at the Food Industry." The Zephyr, 2006.

"Beware of Good News." The Zephyr, 2006.

"A Little Quiz with BIG Revelations." The Zephyr, 2006.

"New Technology: Does it Cost More Than it is Worth?" The Zephyr, 2006.

"Holiday Shopping: Making It a Rewarding and Environmentally-Friendly Experience." The Zephyr, 2005.

"Science is Very Concerned, Perhaps We Should Be Too." The Zephyr, 2005.

"Katrina: Seeking Answers." The Zephyr, 2005.

"A Trip to Mexico (Un Viaje A México)." The Zephyr, 2005.

"The Environmental Justice Movement: Its Accomplishments and Its Future." The Zephyr, 2005.

"The Environmental Justice Movement: What It Is and Why It Matters." The Zephyr, 2005.

"Is Nuclear the Answer?" The Zephyr, 2005.

"We All Need a Birdie - One to Remind Us." The Zephyr, 2005.

"Is Climate Change Occurring in Illinois? Do We Care?" The Zephyr, 2005.

"Feel Safe? What Contributes to Our Security?" The Zephyr, 2005.

"Just When We Thought Humans Were Intelligent." The Zephyr, 2005.

"A view of the world: tinted glass, a cubical box, or a macroscope." The Zephyr, February 21, p. 8, 2002.

"Ozone: a very misunderstood gas." The Zephyr, January 24, p. 14, 2002.

"The Power of One Dollar." The Zephyr, December 20, p. 14, 2001.

"Get the Lead Out." The Zephyr, August 16, p. 15, 2001.

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

"Observed changes in the diurnal dewpoint cycle across North America." Co-authored with Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger. Geophysical Research Letters, 1998.

"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.

"Bioneers, 17th Annual Conference." Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2009.

"Going for the Green." Interviewed for article, Galesburg Register Mail.

"Climate Change: Is it happening? What are we doing?" Second Annual Environmental Summit, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, 2005.

"Environmental Summit." Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois.

"Bioneers, 16th Annual Conference." Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.

"Introduction to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Workshop." Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Chair, Campus Diversity Committee, Knox College.
  • Faculty Advisor, KARES (a Knox environmental organization).
  • Member Minority Concerns Committee, Executive Board, Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM).
  • Ward 5 Alderman, Galesburg City Council.
  • Member, Union of Concerned Scientists.
  • Speaker, Earth Week, University of Chicago.
  • Participant, Precaution Academy, West Dundee, Illinois.
  • Participant and Presenter, Technology Fair, Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, Illinois.
  • Columnist, The Zephyr (Galesburg newspaper).
  • Coach, Geography Bowl and fifth grade boys and girls basketball, Silas Willard Elementary School, Galesburg, Illinois.
  • Participant, National Scrabble Championship.
  • Member, Amnesty International.
  • Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity.
  • Opening Speaker, Public Hearing on Chicago's Coal Power Plants, Chicago Clean Power Coalition.
  • Interview, NPR-Chicago program.
  • Speaker, LVEJO, Chicago, Illinois.

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 Monday, June 21, 2021