Water and Climate Change: Are Humans Prepared to Adapt to Growing Challenge?

The link between water and climate change is palpable, yet it had never been addressed during a meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) until this year in Morocco. On this occasion, an entire day — fostered by the Moroccan Kingdom — was dedicated to water. But water is still not an important part of global climate negotiations. Although it is included in the “Nairobi Work Programme” — formed in 2005 to “facilitate and catalyze” the development and dissemination of information on the impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change — many countries are blocking the inclusion of water because it would mean trans-boundary catchment negotiations, collaboration and planning, and affect sovereignty or geopolitical positions.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes that water is…

Last week, newly released data by the Climate Change Institute from the Arctic confirmed that, yet again, winter temperatures in the North Pole have reached unprecedented highs. This year, the temperature is 36 degrees Fahrenheit above the historic average. This is already greater than what many experts consider a tipping point that could lead to climate and security impacts on a global scale. In the face of a drastically changing climate, it is even more imperative that we as environmentalists not just collect information, but also question how exactly we are contributing to creating a more sustainable future.

This week, a group of concerned students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Science added their voices to a growing number of environmental…

Watching the events unfold at Standing Rock has felt something like an out-of-body experience. I am seventeen hundred miles away, watching safely from my living room. But every picture and every story that comes out of Standing Rock hits with such impact that the great distance seems negligible.

I am a child of the Dakotas. I was born in North Dakota. I spent almost every holiday and summer in the Badlands of North Dakota, or with family in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When I was young, my family moved to the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada, but we stayed close, just a few miles above the border. My childhood memories of the Dakotas and the Canadian prairies have blended, forming idyllic vignettes of golden sunsets, gorgeous but fierce…

F&ES Treks to Quito, Ecuador

During the October fall break, a group of roughly 30 students from three Yale graduate schools (FES, School of Management, and Public Health) traveled to Quito, Ecuador. The majority of these students were FES-ers, who 1) attended the UN Habitat III conference as accredited stakeholders and 2) either presented research related to urban resilience or participated in a consultancy project.

The UN Habitat III conference was a unique occurrence. It is an event that only happens every 20 years, where national and subnational governments gather to discuss urban development. In this past Habitat, the New Urban Agenda was adopted. This is a guidance document that will dictate how urbanization will occur worldwide, and encompasses many areas including but not limited to social inclusion, ending poverty, environmentally sustainable…

You may have noticed the ofrenda (altar) in Sage Lounge for El Dia de Muertos, (or El Dia de los Muertos) the Day of the Dead. EQUID students invite the FES community to share in this tradition.

During El Dia de Muertos (October 31st- November 2nd) it is said that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thin. Death is honored as a part of life, and the holiday is seen as a joyous opportunity to be reunited with those who have passed on.

During our formal opening of the altar on November 2nd, staff and students brought the names and memories of loved ones into the space, verbally, tacitly, or with small items placed on the altar. One FESer…

Save the Date: New Directions in Environmental Law Conference in 2017

Yale’s New Directions in Environmental Law Conference will be held on Feb. 24-25, 2017 at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). The conference, now in its seventh year, produces stimulating and innovative solutions to key environmental challenges and draws large student participation.

The New Directions in Environmental Law Conference is an annual conference jointly hosted by F&ES, the Yale Environmental Law Association (YELA), and Yale Law School (YLS). One of the largest student-run conferences at Yale, NDEL brings together over 350 students, academics, policymakers, and practitioners from across the country for a dialogue each year centered around a specific theme. The conference theme for 2017 is “Environment, National Security, and Human Rights.” Through this theme, we aim to advance a discussion of how environmental change can…

Thinking Beyond the City: Regional Climate Adaptation Planning and Habitat III

Climate change threatens cities worldwide, but urban leaders face a myriad of funding, logistical, and political challenges in trying to reduce the associated risks at the local level. When planning for climate adaptation, or “climate-proofing,” some urban planners and civic leaders are thinking beyond their jurisdiction to develop creative solutions and partnerships at the regional level. From California to Nepal, organizations are demonstrating that taking a collaborative, regional look at climate change adaptation planning can help leverage resources and increase community resilience.

The upcoming UN Habitat conference, Habitat III, in October will be one of the largest gatherings of global urban decision makers to date. It presents an ideal forum for catalyzing new regional climate adaptation planning partnerships already happening across the world.

A Regional Approach…

Sustainability at Yale

Sustainability is a theme at Yale that goes beyond F&ES. Yale’s Office of Sustainability releases detailed Sustainability Strategic Plans to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and waste and increase composting and recycling rates. The office publishes annual progress reports, which can be viewed online.

An important initiative this year was Yale’s first-ever Carbon Charge. The Yale Carbon Charge Project was a six-month pilot program involving 20 university buildings to help test the effectiveness of carbon pricing on Yale’s campus. Yale is the first institution of higher learning to implement such a program. Learn more about the Carbon Charge.

And of course, here at the Forestry School we pride ourselves on our sustainability focus. The Environmental Stewardship Committee (of which I am a member) is a…

Environmental Impacts of Demand-Side Technologies and Strategies for Carbon Mitigation

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are widely recognized as two of the most effective ways to greatly reduce the threat of climate change. But how much do we know about other environmental impacts of a large-scale deployment of these technologies? What are the benefits (or impacts) from a life-cycle perspective? By how much can the gains from energy efficient technologies be multiplied if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity production are also reduced?

CFL w vineIn a special issue, Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology aims to advance our understanding of environmental and natural resource implications of energy efficiency technologies. This special issue, “Environmental Impacts of Demand-Side Technologies and Strategies for Carbon Mitigation,” was prepared…

The 2016 Environmental Film Festival at Yale

This April, Yale students came together to voluntarily run one of the largest film festivals across the country. The Environmental Film Festival at Yale, or more lovingly called EFFY by Yale students in the know, ran from April 1-9, screened over 20 short- and feature-length films.

The event is run mainly by students from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies who work throughout the year to provide relevant environmental stories from around the world to the greater New Haven area. Most films are followed by a panel discussion led by academic leaders from Yale, filmmakers, and stars of the films.

The 2016 was a great success, and students, staff, and faculty from across Yale, as well as New Haven community members came out to support…