Rights to Nature vs Rights of Nature

During the World Parks Congress, I was fortunate enough to both present in and help organize a session on Green Justice. The session was meant to provide a forum for discourse about environmental justice issues, and we organized it around the idea of rights to nature. The session had a nice balance between theoretical policy interventions and more grounded local actions, both designed to bring about a more environmentally just world.

Leading environmental lawyers and academics presented information about how some countries have created laws explicitly stating their citizens right to a clean and healthy environment. I tried to balance that high-level discussion by presenting a tangible way that a more equitable and healthy world can be created, and my FES classmate Dana Baker added to the down-to-earth…

20 New and Powerful Conservation Tools

The IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) is a landmark global forum on protected areas. This year, in Sydney, Australia, from Nov 12 – Nov 19, the Congress convened with a goal of sharing knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected area conservation for the next decade. One category in particular received unanimous agreement for its role in conservation: Technology.

Through the seven days of WPC presentations and showcases, we, two tech-geeks and enthusiastic delegates, explored innovative technologies relevant to the conservation sector. We made a list of the top 20 new and powerful conservation tools that we believe will benefit this sector, now and in the future.

Source: Biodiversity A-Z

Source: Biodiversity A-Z

Yale President Peter Salovey, left, and F&ES Dean Peter Crane, far right, present The Aldo Leopold Prize to Teresa Heinz on Nov. 10.

On Monday evening, as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies presented philanthropist Teresa Heinz with its highest honor, The Aldo Leopold Award, School leaders ticked off some of Heinz’s many commitments to the environmental field over the years: her work as Chair of the Heinz Endowments, which supports social and environmental causes; her founding of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning; the annual conferences she sponsors on women’s health and the environment; and her service as U.S. delegate during the Rio Earth Summit.

But beyond the projects, conferences, and board work, there are also the stories of individuals who have been personally affected by her generosity. “She has fostered collaborations among scientists, trained future groundbreaking leaders, and provided much needed encouragement to those engaged in…

National Geographic: F&ES Grad Discusses China's Role in the Ivory Trade

Before graduating from F&ES last month, Gao Yufang M.E.Sc. ’14 focused his studies on the global ivory trade, with an emphasis on the complex role of his native China.

Gao — who will return to China this month, along with two African conservationists, to explore the country’s ivory markets — recently spoke with National Geographic about the complexities of the ivory market and the role of young people in curbing the slaughter of Africa’s elephants.

He also talks about why he decided to focus on this issue in the first place.
When I came to Yale in September 2012, everyone was talking about ivory trade. As a Chinese in the U.S. who understood how the conservation community in China works, I was seeing a great gap in…

Anastas: 'An Important Positive Step by EPA and President Obama'

Two years ago, Paul Anastas returned to Yale after a stint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where he served as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development.

So when the EPA today unveiled a new plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, it was particularly meaningful for Anastas, a professor of chemistry at F&ES and director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering.

In one of the most significant climate policy initiatives in U.S. history, the EPA introduced a draft rule that officials say would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by as much as 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

In a statement, Anastas called it “a great day for our children…

Celebrate Green: Yale Plants An 'Urban Meadow' on Science Hill

Earth Day arrived early on Science Hill today as students and staff members from across campus joined the F&ES Environmental Stewardship Committee and the Yale Grounds crew in planting native wildflowers along Whitney Avenue.

The day-long planting project is part of the larger “Urban Meadows” initiative at Yale that promotes biodiversity, improved air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, and a more beautiful campus and city.

The flowers are being planted along a berm located between Edwards Street and the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

“The berm is a very visible strip of land that ties one of New Haven’s biggest avenues to an area of Yale that for many years was just an unsightly parking lot,” said Lisa Fernandez, assistant director of the Yale Project on Climate…

Too Abundant to Disappear? Not Quite: The Lessons of the Passenger Pigeon

During the mid-19th century, the passenger pigeon was the most abundant bird species in North America, if not the world, with a population believed to number in the billions.

Traveling in formations that might be impossible to imagine today, the bird was ubiquitous across New England, the Midwest and parts of Canada, darkening the skies over major cities and sometimes halting human activity in its tracks with the roar of hundreds of millions of flapping wings, says author Joel Greenberg, author of the new book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction. In 1860, a British soldier in Ontario recorded a flock whose passage overhead lasted 14 hours.

“Forty years later, they were gone from the wild. Fourteen years after that they were…

Hotspots for People: A New Conservation Strategy

In 2009, Beth Tellman M.E.Sc. ’14 moved to El Salvador to study the food sovereignty of organic coffee farmers. But after devastating floods and mudslides killed hundreds of people, and left thousands more homeless, her area of focus shifted quickly. In addition to working closely on community disaster resilience, Tellman began exploring how improved land use and forest management can provide a critical ecosystem service in places like El Salvador.

In an article for SNAP magazine (Science for Nature and People), Tellman documents the increasingly dire threats faced by the Latin American country in the face of environmental degradation and climate change, and how investing in natural systems could provide vital social and ecological benefits.
Conservation needs to grapple with what climate change is and will do to…