Are you a journalist looking for new angles to add to the climate change discussion? From examining the best ways to teach kids about climate change in the classroom to exploring the financial impact of a warming planet and making visual art out of shifts in nature, faculty experts from the University of Maryland are exploring this topic in innovative and interdisciplinary ways:
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Teaching Climate Change in the K-12 Classroom: Doug Lombardi conducts research on effective strategies and teaching tools to support deep learning about scientific topics that pose local, regional and global challenges such as causes of current climate change and the availability of freshwater resources. The College of Education also is working with middle and high school teachers in three states to develop materials about the climate crisis and environmental sustainability for science, social studies and English/ language arts instruction.
Climate Change Finance and Risk Management: Cliff Rossi explores the interconnectedness of climate change and the economy and policy implications for climate change finance and risk management in both the private sector and public sector.
Methane Monitoring and Conversion: Russ Dickerson oversees an effort to measure emissions around the region that could contribute to climate change as well as impact the health of populations–often those from marginalized communities and lower socioeconomic status. Meanwhile, Eric Wachsman and colleagues developed a process for converting methane into a range of valuable commodity chemicals without releasing climate-changing emissions.
- International Climate Change Science and Policy Expertise:
Dean Bob Orr not only serves as Dean of the School of Public Policy, but is also United Nations under secretary-general, and special advisor to the UN secretary-general on climate change.
Ross Salawitch is a world-renowned expert on the effect of human activity on the Earth’s atmosphere and served as lead author on NOAA’s Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.
Nathan Hultman, who served in the Office of Special Presidential Envoy for Climate in the U.S. State Department and in the Obama White House, is founder and director of the School of Public Policy’s Center for Global Sustainability, which links collaborative research with policy engagement to support enhanced global climate ambition and action.
Turning Waste into Sustainable Products and Energy: Stephanie Lansing is experimenting with turning food waste into bioplastics, and converting municipal solid waste into biofuels that can serve as alternatives to liquid fuels like gasoline.
Reusing Precious Water: As the effects of climate change drastically reduce the quantity and quality of water available around the world, researchers like Amy Sapkota, Rianna Murray, and Masoud Negahban-Azar are developing ways to conserve and reuse water safely.
The Power of Urban Trees: UMD researchers can discuss how urban forests can reduce the harmful effects of stormwater runoff.
Mitigating the Risks of Saltwater Intrusion and Rising Sea Levels: Kate Tully discusses the environmental impacts of sea level rise and salt water intrusion.
Protecting Water Quality: UMD researchers are helping to protect the Chesapeake Bay by reducing runoff from farm fields while keeping more nitrogen and phosphorus in the crop fields so that plants can use it.
Utilizing Data to Prepare for Natural Disasters: Vanessa Frias-Martinez is using cell-phone data to better understand how people react to natural disasters, including those caused by climate change. Tatiana Laboda can discuss how an ever-growing body of satellite-collected data can help inform climate crisis solutions with the correct tools in place.
Green Building and Climate-Smart Construction: Ming Hu is an expert on high-performance building design at the intersection of energy, human health and environmental impact.
Weather and Crop Monitoring: Researchers like Ellen Williams and Xin-Zhong Liang are working with NASA and NOAA to predict and model how climate change is influencing weather patterns and crop production around the world.
Fighting Rising Temperatures with Greener Air Conditioning: The Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, led by Director Reinhard Radermacher, is developing air conditioning units to reduce carbon output by having them draw energy at night, when temperatures are cooler and grid usage is low, and storing it through phase-change materials—materials that release or absorb energy as they change in composition, like water to ice.
Measuring Climate Change from Space: Whether it’s utilizing lasers on the International Space Station or satellites orbiting the Earth, researchers like Ralph Dubayah, Inbal Becker-Reshef and Sinead Farrell are quantifying the impact of climate change on everything from tree canopies to agriculture and Arctic sea ice.
Sustainable Engineering: Researchers like Alba Torrents and Allison Riley are applying civil and environmental engineering concepts to reimagine wastewater treatment and to make infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events and hazards.
Infrastructure Design for Climate Resiliency and Equity: As director of the Center for Disaster Resilience, Deb Niemeier discusses how communities and governments can approach disaster management in the face of climate change through infrastructure design that encourages resiliency while promoting equity. Jelena Srebic leads City@UMD (The Center for Sustainability in the Built Environment), which works to revolutionize physical infrastructure in cities through sustained distributed systems.
Agricultural Productivity and Climate Change: Robert Chambers addresses how climate change slows global agricultural productivity. UMD collaborated on a study with Cornell and Stanford showing a 21% reduction in global agricultural productivity since 1961– the equivalent to completely losing the last seven years of productivity growth.
Uncovering the Facts about Climate Change: A number of investigative journalism projects including “Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide” led by Kathy Best, take a look through a local lens at how urban areas are influenced by the climate crisis.
The Power of Memes: Doctoral student Jeff Henrikson, a lecturer in atmospheric and oceanic science, is studying climate change memes spanning the far left to the far right to gauge their differences, and teaching undergrads how to critique the reliability of climate change information on social media platforms.
Unequal Impact: Faculty like Amir Sapkota and Sacoby Wilson are examining the human health implications of climate change and the inequities related to these exposures.
Climate Change as Art: Interdisciplinary artist Cy Keener uses environmental sensing and kinetic sculpture to record and represent phenomena in the natural world such as rain, wind and ocean waves, providing a visual representation of the changes to our planet.
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