coe think tank explores habitability

2020-21 COE Think Tank fellows (l to r): Victoria Smolkin, David Grinspoon, Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Antonio Machado-Allison, Helen Poulos, Martha Gilmore.

Each academic year, the COE gathers a small group of Wesleyan faculty members, a scholar of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the COE Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking and action on the issue. The Think Tank theme for 2020-21 is Habitability: Cosmological, Planetary & Ethical Perspectives.

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green news is good news

Read below for all the good green news that’s fit to print!

Congrats to the newest members of Wesleyan’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa: Lizzie Edwards (ENVS & ANTH), Cat Xi (CSS, ENVS), Franny Lin (ENVS, E&ES),  Maggie O’Hanlon (ENVS, GOVT) & Cameron Scharff (ENVS, PHIL)!

Congrats to Mary Alice Haddad, John E. Andrus Professor of Government, chair of East Asian Studies and professor of Environmental Studies, on her new book: Effective Advocacy: Lessons from East Asia’s Environmentalists (MIT Press). From the publisher: How did environmental activists succeed in countries that favor business interests and are generally hostile to citizen-based advocacy? In Effective Advocacy, Haddad identifies and describes, with examples, five of the most effective advocacy strategies used by environmentalists in East Asia: cultivate policy access, make it work locally, make it work for business, engage the heart, and think outside the box.

Earlier this semester, Wesleyan welcomed Rhiana Gunn-Wright, co-architect of the Green New Deal, for a virtual interactive discussion about political organizing and the formation of the progressive climate proposal. Read all about the event, co-sponsored by the COE, in the Wesleyan Argus.

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poulos receives $300k nasa research grant

 Dr. Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies, has been awarded a $300,000 NASA grant to examine forest type-conversion through the lens of evapotranspiration (plant sweat) in response to high-severity wildfire in southeastern Arizona. Poulos and her team will conduct their research using imagery gathered by the ECOSTRESS sensor mounted on the International Space Station. It will be the first-ever test of the ECOSTRESS sensor’s applicability for wildfire-related research.

Plants facing the aftermath of wildfire often have insufficient water, which causes their temperature to rise. The ECOSTRESS radiometer measures the temperatures of plants across Earth to an extraordinarily accurate degree. Poulos’s NASA-funded project will specifically investigate the effects of the 2011 Horseshoe Two Fire on post-fire plant and site water balance and evaluate the potential of using data gathered from the ECOSTRESS sensor to predict wildfire effects on plant community structure and water relations in an Arizona Sky Island pine-oak forest.

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