Environment

Paying for Perennialism: A Quest for Food and Funding


Sarah Whelchel, Elizabeth Popp Berman


Perennial crops hold great potential for long-term agricultural sustainability, but researchers are walking away from work on perennials because federal funding is too focused on short-term improvements and increases in yield. When Wes Jackson looks out across the wild prairie of Kansas, he sees far beyond the limits of his vision. “I’m surrounded by prairie […]




This article is in Perennial Agriculture, Fall 2011

Tapping Talent in a Global Economy: Closing the Environmental Data Gap


Robin O'Malley, Anne S. Marsh, Christine Negra


Information limitations are severely constraining our ability to identify and understand emerging environmental problems, devise interventions to address them, and evaluate whether our responses work. The compelling evidence that the global climate is changing significantly and will continue to change for the foreseeable future means that we can expect to see similarly significant changes in […]




This article is in Tapping Talent in a Global Economy, Spring 2009

Perspective: Disappearing Bees and Reluctant Regulators


Sainath Suryanarayanan, Daniel Lee Kleinman


Imagine this: You’re a commercial beekeeper, who relies entirely on keeping honeybees for making a living. You head out one morning to examine your bees and find that thousands of your previously healthy hives have “collapsed” mysteriously, after your bees pollinated crops in the fields of one of the farmers with whom you contract. Your […]




This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

Restoring and Protecting Coastal Louisiana


Gerald E. Galloway, Donald F. Boesch, Robert R. Twilley


The challenges facing the Gulf Coast reflect a national inability to come to grips with the need to deal with neglected infrastructure, both natural and built. The sustainability of coastal Louisiana is critical to the nation. It is the location of a large part of the nation’s oil and gas industry and its largest port […]




This article is in Practical Pieces of the Energy Puzzle, Winter 2009

Perspective: Agriculture’s Role in Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions


William J. Parton, Stephen J. Del Grosso, Ernie Marx, Amy L. Swan


Agriculture is responsible for 7% of total emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the . Although agriculture is not the major source of greenhouse gas emissions—that title belongs to industrial plants that burn fossil fuel—it is nevertheless an important one and deserves increased attention. The good news is that useful remedies are at […]




This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

Strengthening the Global Environmental Treaty System


Lawrence Susskind


Despite the huge media attention environmental treaties receive, the system of making and implementing them is barely functioning. The global environmental treaty-making system—the set of mechanisms by which countries fashion agreements to promote more sustainable development—is not working very well. More than 400 multilateral agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change now exist, […]




This article is in Questions That Blur Political Party Lines, Fall 2008

Science for Natural Resource Management under Climate Change


Patrick Gonzalez


Emerging applications of climate change research to natural resource management show how science provides key information for agencies to take action for vulnerable ecosystems. Climate change poses a fundamental challenge for natural resource management: Climate patterns are shifting in space and time, but national parks, national forests, and other natural areas remain at fixed locations. […]




This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

Animal Migration: An Endangered Phenomenon?


David S. Wilcove


Timely international action can sustain this inspiring natural process before it becomes a crisis. Animal migrations are among the world’s most visible and inspiring natural phenomena. Whether it’s a farmer in Nebraska who stops his tractor on a cold March morning to watch a flock of sandhill cranes passing overhead or a Maasai pastoralist who […]




This article is in Health Care Touchstones: Cost and Quality, Spring 2008

Investing in Perennial Crops to Sustainably Feed the World


Peter C. Kahn, Thomas Molnar, Gengyun G. Zhang, C. Reed Funk


The dramatic increases in yields of annual crops are approaching their limits. But similar advances are possible in hundreds of underused perennial species. The world’s food supply is insecure and inadequate and growing more so. But that gloomy prospect could be altered dramatically if the world adopted a novel but simple strategy: supplement the annual […]




This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

Perspective: Forging a New, Bipartisan Environmental Movement


Newt Gingrich, Terry L. Maple


Although our passion for the living Earth dates to our joyful youth spent outdoors, in Pennsylvania and California respectively, our intellectual commitment to the environment as a political and social issue can be traced to the first Earth Day, an event we witnessed as graduate students. We were enthusiastic participants in many Earth Days during […]




This article is in Ending the Inertia on Energy Policy, Winter 2008

Perspective: Reassessing Conservation Goals in a Changing Climate


Alejandro E. Camacho, Holly Doremus, Jason S. McLachlan, Ben A. Minteer


Climate change poses a hierarchy of significant challenges for conservation policy. First, the sheer scale of climate change calls for conservation efforts to be vastly stepped up. Second, the pace and extent of expected climate change will probably undermine the effectiveness of traditional conservation tools focused on protecting designated areas from human intrusion. The search […]




This article is in Making College Affordable, Summer 2010

Sharing the Catch, Conserving the Fish


David Festa, Diane Regas, Judson Boomhower


To end the urgent problem of overfishing, we need a new approach in which fishermen are given a share in—and take responsibility for— a fishery’s total allowable catch. The mid-1990s were tough times to be a Pacific rockfish fisherman on the West Coast of the United States or a groundfish fisherman in Canada’s British Columbia. […]




This article is in Ending the Inertia on Energy Policy, Winter 2008

Perennial Grains Food Security for the Future


Jerry D. Glover, John P. Reganold


Developing perennial versions of our major grain crops would address many of the environmental limitations of annuals while helping to feed an increasingly hungry planet. Colorful fruits and vegetables piled to overflowing at a farmer’s market or in the produce aisle readily come to mind when we think about farming and food production. Such images […]




This article is in Better U.S. Health Care at Lower Cost, Winter 2010

Buying Whales to Save Them


Ben A. Minteer, Leah R. Gerber


Current policy approaches to manage whaling and protect whales are failing. It’s time to try a new approach that combines economic pragmatism and ethical principles. Since the beginning of the conservation movement in the late 19th century, decisionmakers facing environmental issues have struggled to square the impulse to respect nature’s dignity with more anthropocentric calculations […]




This article is in Health Care That's Not for Dummies, Spring 2013

On the Trails of the Glaciers


Fabiano Ventura


Retracing the steps of a famous early 20th century expedition through the South Asian Karakorum Range near the lofty peak of K2 reveals that the region’s glaciers are shrinking in response to a warming climate. On the Trails of the Glaciers is a multidisciplinary project, combining photography and science, to study the effects of climate […]




This article is in Better U.S. Health Care at Lower Cost, Winter 2010

Decoupling Water and Violent Conflict


Ken Conca


Decoupling Water and Violent Conflict A basic human need, water can be the source of social conflicts. With safeguards, including informed government polices and management decisions, the dangers can be defused. As the saying goes, water is the stuff of life. It is a basic human need, the lifeblood of critical ecosystems, and a basis […]




This article is in Applying New Research to Improve Science Education, Fall 2012

The Sustainability Transition


Pamela Matson


Meeting basic human needs without degrading the planet’s vital systems will require an ambitious, interdisciplinary, and solution-oriented research program. One of the greatest challenges confronting humanity in the 21st century is sustainability: how to meet the basic needs of people for food, energy, water, and shelter without degrading the planet’s life support infrastructure, its atmosphere […]




This article is in What Science Can Do, Summer 2009

Valuing the Environment for Decisionmaking


Stephen Polasky, Seth Binder


In dealing with complex environmental issues, determining the value of multiple environmental attributes is problematic, but not doing so is even more so. Making thoughtful decisions about environmental challenges that involve wide-ranging and potentially irreversible consequences is of profound importance for current and future human wellbeing. How much and how fast should greenhouse gas emissions […]




This article is in Social Science and Environmental Policy, Summer 2012

A Future for U.S. Fisheries


Carl Safina


Current policies have slowed but not stopped the depletion of fish stocks. A new approach based on restoration is needed. For the fishing industry in the United States, and for the fishery resources on which the industry depends, there is good news and bad news. Bad news still predominates, as many commercial fishers and their […]




This article is in What Science Can Do, Summer 2009

The Climate Benefits of Better Nitrogen and Phosphorus Management


Alan R. Townsend, Peter M. Vitousek, Benjamin Z. Houlton


Pursuing more efficient use of these elements has clear environmental, socioeconomic, and national security benefits. It would also help reduce some of the risks of a warming climate. Nearly four decades have passed since the phrase “global warming” first appeared in a scientific journal. Writing in Science in 1975, geochemist Wallace Broecker warned that rising […]




This article is in Economic Stimulus, Winter 2012

In the Zone: Comprehensive Ocean Protection


Carrie V. Kappel, Benjamin S. Halpern, Rebecca G. Martone, Fiorenza Micheli, Kimberly A. Selkoe


Comprehensive ecosystem-based zoning could address many of the critical problems with U.S. ocean policy by providing a mechanism for coordinated management of ocean uses that takes into account the cumulative effects of multiple human activities. For too long, humanity’s effects on the oceans have been out of sight and out of mind. Looking at the […]




This article is in Tapping Talent in a Global Economy, Spring 2009