Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment View this newsletter in your browser. December 2014 - January 2015
Research Highlights Research Highlights
Program Updates Program Updates
People Spotlights People
In the News In the News

Calendar of Upcoming Events
Panel Discussion
"Justice and Climate Change: New Challenges and New Theories"
Experts discuss key philosophical and ethical questions related to climate change.
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"Connecting the Dots: The Food, Energy, Water, and Climate Nexus"
Stanford experts from a range of disciplines discuss the interconnections and interactions among humanity's needs for and use of food, energy and water and their effect on climate and conflict.
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"Celebrating Sustainability"
Annual Earth Day celebration that brings together students, staff and faculty from across campus to educate, inspire and empower the community to engage with sustainability at Stanford.
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"Fight Less, Collaborate More: How to Solve the World's Greatest Environmental Challenges"
Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy.
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"Doomsday Vaults, Genebanks and Plant Breeding in the Age of Climate Change"
Cary Fowler of the Global Crop Diversity Trust discusses adaptation of agricultural crops to new climates and environments. 
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Environmental Forum
"The Colorado River: The Years of Living Dangerously"
Anne Castle, Landreth Visiting Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute and former Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of Interior, discusses sustainable management of the Colorado River.
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Sylvia Earle, world-renowned ocean explorer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, will speak at the annual Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture 6-7:30 p.m. at Stanford's CEMEX Auditorium. More details TBA on Woods calendar.


Solving Global Water Challenges

Safe, abundant drinking water is increasingly hard to find, according to a recent U.N report that warns of a 40 percent shortfall in needed supplies by 2030. That scarcity can be due to drought – as in California, where snowpack levels are at record lows. It can also be due to contamination, particularly in urban slums where poor sanitation has deadly consequences. Stanford researchers are working together across disciplines to find innovative answers to these and other water challenges around the world. Read on for more about a broad spectrum of water solutions from the West Coast to the Middle East.


Jeffrey R. Koseff
Perry L. McCarty Director


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


Research Highlights

Stanford Researchers Pursue Broad Spectrum of Water Solutions

Water poverty – the lack of access to adequate safe water – is a growing threat to people's health, agriculture, ecosystems and global security. Stanford researchers from a range of disciplines are working together on innovative, real-world solutions.

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Agriculture Expansion's Connection to Plague Risks

Research co-authored by Senior Fellow Rodolfo Dirzo (Biology) shows that maize cultivation in Africa has sparked surge in plague-carrying rodents.

Photo credit: National Institutes of Health

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Solar Solution to California Energy Demand

A study co-authored by Senior Fellow Chris Field (Biology, Environmental Earth System Science) finds solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure could generate enough electricity to exceed California’s demand by up to five times.

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For more research, see the Stanford Woods Institute quarterly Research Digest.
Program Updates

Future Environmental Leaders Go to Boot Camp

For 20 Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, spring break meant traveling through the rainy streets of Washington, D.C. to meet with some of the nation's top environmental decision-makers. The group, this year's cohort of Rising Environmental Leadership Program fellows, are learning how to apply their research to policy development, partnership building and public service.

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California Drought a Sign of What's to Come

What are the causes, policy implications and potential responses to California's ongoing drought? Stanford experts weighed in at a panel hosted by Water in the West.

Photo credit: California Department of Water Resources

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Leading the Way to Ocean Sustainability

Since becoming Indonesia's Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti has authorized the sinking of illegal fishing boats, among other strict regulatory efforts. In an event hosted by The Center for Ocean Solutions, Pudjiastuti discussed her efforts to help local fishing industries expand in a responsible way.

Photo credit: courtesy COS

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Natural Capital Project Symposium

Historically, nature's contributions to human well-being have been ignored by many of the world's decision-makers. A new approach was evident at the 2015 Natural Capital Symposium held at Stanford. Participants from academia, NGOs, governments, businesses, consultancies and multilateral institutions around the world learned about the latest advances in accounting for nature's values and Natural Capital Project approaches and software tools.

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People Spotlights

What Do Water Restrictions Mean For California?

As California’s drought drags on, the need for realistic water supply solutions grows. Experts, including Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Water in the West program, weighed in during a recent HuffPost Live panel.

Photo credit: Huffington Post

Read more and watch video ...

Stanford Environmental Researchers Work to Put Sustainability into Action

Higgins-Magid Senior Fellow Jenna Davis (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Environmental Earth System Science Associate Professor Anna Michalak have been selected for fellowships in the Leopold Leadership Program. The Woods program helps outstanding academic researchers be more effective leaders in their fields, translate knowledge into action and catalyze change to address the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

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

What Does Flat CO2 Pollution Mean? 

Scientific American, March 23
Senior Fellow Robert Jackson (Environmental Earth System Science) states that it is difficult to see how flat or declining energy-related emissions can continue globally, even with U.S. energy-related emissions showing little growth

No, California Won’t Run Out of Water in a Year

Los Angeles Times, March 20
Leon Szeptycki, Woods professor of the practice and executive director of the Water in the West program, discusses California's water supply

As California Drought Enters 4th Year, Conservation Efforts and Worries Increase

New York Times, March 17
Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Environmental Earth System Science) discusses how California's long-term warming trend is likely to exacerbate drought conditions

White House Expands Protections for California's 'Blue Serengeti'

Washington Post, March 13
Notes that Senior Fellow Barbara Block (Biology) dubbed two federal marine sanctuaries off California’s north-central coast "our blue Serengeti" because the nutrient-rich areas serve as "watering holes" that attract a range of marine creatures

Human Price of Forest Destruction Paid in Plague

Scientific American, March 4
Senior Fellow James Holland Jones (Anthropology) discusses the need to study disease mechanisms to better understand how diseases are being transmitted to humans

Lack of Snow Leaves California's 'Water Tower' Running Low

National Geographic, March 4
Cites a new study by Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Environmental Earth System Science), which reports that low precipitation was key in starting the drought, but that heat, which has become more common in California, has been essential in maintaining and intensifying the drought

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