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Taking Action

New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia (courtesy drsmith)

Justin Mankin, (PhD 2nd) and Kaitlin Shilling (PhD 2011) spoke at the recent National Council for Science and the Environment's
Energy and Security Conference in a symposium titled Climate Change and Security: Making the Connections. In an interview with the New Security Beat, a blog of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Kaitlin called on the environmental security community to move beyond simple causal pathways towards finding solutions.

"After all, rolling back climate change is not an option at this point," she said; "to find solutions, therefore, we need more detailed analysis of the pathways to violence."

Justin also suggested that a better way to assess climate-conflict risk might be mapping human vulnerability to climate change rather than predicting conflict risk in a given place.

Austin Becker (PhD 4th) was invited to join a team of experts that will provide technical input to the coastal chapter of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) report to be released in 2013. Sponsored by NOAA's Coastal Services Center and the US Geological Survey, the Technical Input on Coasts Chapter is led by a Steering Committee of federal agencies engaged in the US Global Change Research program. The Technical Input on Coasts is a synthesis of relevant work published since 2009 and identifies major issues and gaps related to the impacts of climate change on the nation's coastal zones.

Heather Lukacs (PhD 6th) co-authored the article, Something in the Water, in National Parks magazine on conservation efforts at her 'home' river in West Virginia. As a program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, Heather has been deeply involved in local water issues. She also founded the New River Clean Water Alliance, a local advocacy group.

"Although it may not be glamorous work, it's crucial to the health of this national park unit."

In January, Aiga Stokenberga (PhD 1st) presented a paper she co-authored with the late Lee Schipper on Trends in Mexico's Passenger and Freight Transport Activity, Energy Use, and Carbon Footprint in a climate change workshop at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC. Reflecting on her brief but productive collaboration with Lee, Aiga reports:

"The conference was also a great opportunity to meet my old EMBARQ colleagues and attend a memorial service for Lee, EMBARQ's founder. The date of the memorial event was symbolic, since on this day Lee traditionally had a big party at his house, taking advantage of the fact that the TRB drew so many of his colleagues and friends to one place."