Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment View this newsletter in your browser. October 2014
Program Updates Program Updates
Research Highlights Research Highlights
People Spotlights People
Education Education
In the News In the News

Calendar of Upcoming Events
"Sustainable Product Engineering and Human Behavior"
Erin MacDonald, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford
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Building on a Decade of Solutions

We can't help but feel inspired and hopeful in the wake of our recent tenth anniversary symposium. The event brought together Stanford researchers, students and their colleagues in the water, conservation, sustainable development and public health fields to mark environmental progress and lay the groundwork for collaborative breakthroughs (read more). To advance those future solutions, Woods is committed to catalyzing transformative environmental and sustainability research around the world. To that end, the Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) program is accepting letters of intent from Stanford faculty members for 2015 grants until Jan. 12 (details). Since 2004, EVP has awarded more than $9 million in seed grants to interdisciplinary research teams, which have garnered nearly $39 million in follow-on funding. We look forward to more successes from EVP and other initiatives such as the newly launched Realizing Environmental Innovation grant program for mid-stage research projects (details below). Read on to learn more about environmental solutions emerging at Stanford.


Jeffrey R. Koseff
Perry L. McCarty Director


Barton H. Thompson, Jr.
Perry L. McCarty Director


Program Updates

Realizing Environmental Innovation

Sometimes, a boost is all it takes to transform a great idea into a real-world tool for change. With this in mind, Woods will pilot a grant program offering up to $100,000 per year for up to two years to interdisciplinary Stanford research projects that hold the promise of adoptable solutions and implementation by external stakeholders and partners.

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Harnessing Sensors for Environmental Solutions

Sensors and big data hold the potential to spur new devices, techniques, applications, products and services that can address climate change and other important environmental challenges. To spur innovation, the Stanford Woods Institute and the Energy and Environment Affiliates Program recently announced four winners of up to $70,000 each in seed funding to develop novel solutions and viable business models for sensors and data analytics tailored to climate change adaptation and other environmental challenges.

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Dealing With Drought: California Gov. Jerry Brown Addresses Forum

Gov. Brown joined a wide range of water experts at Stanford for a discussion of policy prescriptions and new research on improving water management. Panelists, including Woods Co-Director and Senior Fellow Buzz Thompson (Law) outlined ways to achieve realistic water pricing, infrastructure financing, consistent regulation, technological innovation and improved conservation.

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Research Highlights

Imaging Saltwater Intrusion

Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Rosemary Knight (Geophysics) launched an ambitious, high-tech project to image saltwater intrusion - a threat to aquifers - along 24 miles of California coastline. Knight's data could help local water management agencies make challenging groundwater management decisions.

Read more and watch news story ...

Sanitation Solution for Urban Slums Gets National Recognition

In many of the world's overcrowded urban slums, residents must choose between open defecation, crowded public toilets or expensive private pit latrines that can't be emptied safely. A Stanford team advised by Higgins-Magid Senior Fellow Senior Fellow Jenna Davis (Civil and Environmental Engineering) recently won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant for their work on portable, affordable dry household toilets for the developing world.

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Can We Feed the World in the 21st Century?

Every night, one billion people go to bed with chronic hunger. In a recent speech, William Wrigley Senior Fellow Rosamond Naylor (Environmental Earth System Science) examined the wide range of challenges contributing to global food insecurity. Naylor is director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment.

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For more research, see the Stanford Woods Institute quarterly Research Digest.
People Spotlights

The Climate Conversation You Haven't Heard

The Stanford 2014 Roundtable convened a panel of climate scientists, innovators and political figures to discuss how to encourage citizens to help force the issues that are needed to help combat climate change. Among the panelists - "rock stars of the environmental and energy sector in the U.S." in the words of moderator Lesley Stahl, was Woods Senior Fellow Chris Field (Biology, Environmental Earth System Science).

Read more and watch video ...

Honor for Land Use Expert

Senior Fellow Eric Lambin (Environmental Earth System Science), a pioneer in the analysis of global land use change, was awarded the prestigious Volvo Environmental Prize. Lambin uses advanced data collection and satellite imagery to understand human decision-making and its influence on ecosystems and global environmental change.

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Honoring Science Communication

The Stephen Schneider Award for Climate Science Communication went to Jane Lubchenco, former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and founder of the Leopold Leadership Program. The award is named in honor of the late renowned scientist and Woods senior fellow.

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Interactive Tool Tells Story of Global Change

An innovative project led by Stanford students harnesses the power of first-person and local news stories - presented in an interactive online map - to help people grasp the science of global environmental impacts on their communities. Senior Fellow Elizabeth Hadly (Biology) is supervising the effort.

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New MOOC Sheds Light on Natural Capital

How can decision-makers determine nature's value? A new free Stanford massive open online course (MOOC) introduces the Natural Capital Project's approach to using ecosystem service information to inform decisions.

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In the News
Selected media coverage of the Stanford Woods Institute and its
fellows, affiliated scholars and supported research

Trillions in Global Cash Await Call to Fix Crumbling U.S.

Bloomberg Businessweek, Oct. 15
Quotes Senior Fellow Raymond Levitt (Civil and Environmental Engineering) on the potential success of the Ohio River project, a long-languishing effort to connect two new bridges to interstate highways, as a positive signal to foreign investors

The Risks of Cheap Water

The New York Times, Oct. 14
Quotes Woods Co-Director and Senior Fellow Buzz Thompson (Law) on the need for effective water markets, and mentions forum hosted by Woods and the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution

Is Targeting Access to Sanitation Enough?

The Lancet, Oct. 10
Commentary by Senior Fellow Stephen Luby (Medicine) explaining why many well-funded sanitation programs may actually be misguided because they fail to focus on issues such as changing defecation habits, handwashing promotion, rotavirus vaccines, nutritional supplementation and clinical improvements

Grow Lights and Drones: How California's Drought is Driving Farmers Into High-Tech

Washington Post, Oct. 10
Cites research led by Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Environmental Earth System Science) that found that high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would likely keep triggering the high-pressure barriers that forced rainstorms away from California's farmland this year

Electrical Currents Set up at Moss Landing Beach for Saltwater Intrusion Study

KSBW, Oct. 10
TV news story about field study by Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Rosemary Knight (Geophysics) on saltwater intrusion into underground freshwater aquifer

Bluefin Tuna Finally Catch a Break

National Geographic, Oct. 7
Mentions Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Barbara Block (Biology) and her research on spawning bluefin tuna

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