Woman squatting, burying head in arms, in front of earthquake devastation of Sichuan China

Christian Sorace: The Mirage of Development: The Sichuan Earthquake, One Decade Later

Feb. 23, 2018

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, it is worth reflecting on the post-earthquake reconstruction from the perspective of what was built, why was it built, and ultimately for whom was it built? Based on my book Shaken Authority: China’s Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan...

Person chipping rocks with a hammer in a mountain landscape

Anu Sabhlok: Road Chronicles: Ethnographic notes on defense and development from the Indo-Tibetan border roads

Feb. 16, 2018

“China is building roads right up to the border and we have to follow suit.” There is an urgency in the road building activity on India’s borders. These roads, we are told, will secure the nation and bring development to its peripheral areas. In this paper, I go deeper into...

Satellite image of Bohaiaqua

Neil Brenner: Is the world urban?

Feb. 9, 2018

In what sense is the 21st century world "urban"? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the "urban age," which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50% of the world's population resides within cities. Against such demographic, city-centric understandings, Brenner excavates Henri...

Aerial photo of African village

Matthew Turner: Alternatives to sustainability science: A political ecology of soil nutrient depletion in the fields of African farmers

Dec. 15, 2017

Assessments of the sustainability of smallholder agriculture in Africa have focused on soil fertility decline. The forms in which these scientific assessments take are shaped by disciplinary traditions, development prerogatives, and assumptions about the social “drivers” of environmental change. The dominant approach in Africa today creates nutrient budgets for land...

Mountain scenery

Stephanie Kampf: Mountain hydrogeography: Streamflow patterns and processes across the Rockies

Dec. 1, 2017

The Colorado Rockies span an elevation range of more than 2000 m, extending from the foothills with limited winter snow up to high mountain slopes, where snow lasts most of the year. This talk will cover catchment to regional-scale research that addresses questions about where, when, and how tributary streams...

clumped isotope paleothermometer

Sierra Petersen: Unveiling the mysteries of past climate, oceans, and life using novel isotopic techniques

Nov. 17, 2017

Stable isotopes of carbonate have long been used to reconstruct past climate and environmental conditions. The recent development of the clumped isotope paleothermometer has expanded the range of possible applications of these isotopic techniques to cover more environments and time periods. My research uses these isotopic tools to reconstruct past...

Graphic of Critical Zone Observatory network

Dr. Adam N. Wlostowski: Mutually intelligible variations in hydrologic function across the Critical Zone Observatory network: A step towards understanding the hydrologic coevolution of the critical zone

Nov. 10, 2017

The physical and biological architecture of the Earth’s Critical Zone controls hydrologic partitioning, storage, and chemical evolution of precipitated water. The Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) network is a consortium of field sites that provides an ideal platform to research linkages between catchment structure and hydrologic function across a gradient of...

Woman stooped next to fire scarred pine tree

Wildfire 2017: A look into the future if we do not adapt

Nov. 3, 2017

British Columbia: 2017 Wildfire Index* Total number of fires: 1217 Ignitions by lightning on July 7: 138 Days in a provincial state of emergency: 69 Number of temperature records 'shattered' this summer: 85 Percent of province in moderate to extreme fire danger on August 10 and 11: >99 Size in...

Earth from space

Waleed Abdalati: Earth from Space: The Power of Perspective

Oct. 27, 2017

Throughout history, humans have always valued the view from above, seeking high ground to survey the land, find food, assess threats, and understand their immediate environment. The advent of aircraft early in the 20th century took this capability literally to new levels, as aerial photos of farm lands, hazards, military...

Sierra Nevada mountains

Cliff Riebe: How bedrock composition controls ecosystem productivity and drought resilience in the Sierra Nevada, California

Oct. 20, 2017

The availability of water and nutrients in soil and weathered rock influences the distribution of vegetation and its vulnerability to land use and climate change. We explored these relationships by combining geochemical and geophysical measurements at three mid-elevation sites in the Sierra Nevada, California, where a recent historic drought killed...