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nexus

Climate-Food-Energy-Water Nexus

The Environmental Science and Policy Program is launching a symposium series to explore the challenges and opportunities we face in enhancing human well-being while protecting the environment. This symposium will bring distinguished thinkers from around the world to explore what we know, what we need to know and what we must do as we move into a century of unprecedented environmental change, technological advancement and scale of human activity.

The event will include research focused seminars and discussion but will emphasize events and presentations that will speak to the broader MSU and Michigan community. In addition to live events and webcasts, the symposium will generate educational materials that can be used in classes and non-traditional education in the spring and beyond.

This symposium is made possible through the generous endowment of Barbara Sawyer-Koch and Donald Koch.

 

Wednesday-Thursday, April 6-7, 2016
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center
Michigan State University

NEW! Watch the video of keynote speaker Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy

 

Agenda

Day 1: Public Symposium

Time Description
9:00am - 9:45 am

Breakfast and registration, Big Ten B & C, Kellogg Center

10:00 am - 10:15 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. Tom Dietz, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy, Michigan State University

Auditorium, Kellogg Center

10:15 am - 11:00 am

Bruno Basso, MSU

"Feeding the planet while protecting the environment: the next agricultural revolution"

Auditorium, Kellogg Center

11:00 am - 11:15 am Break
11:15 am - 12:00 pm

Kate Brauman, University of Minnesota

"Water Matters: Scarcity, Productivity, and Management in a Changing World"

Auditorium, Kellogg Center

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch, Big Ten B & C, Kellogg Center

Panel Discussion: The Flint Water Crisis

  • Jennifer Carrera, Michigan State University
  • Rick Sadler, Michigan State University
  • Joan Rose, Michigan State University
  • Moderated by Erin Dreelin, Michigan State University
2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Ed McCormick, Water Environment Federation

"The Revolution Starts Now! Making Water, Energy and Food Sustainable"

Auditorium, Kellogg Center

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Annette Huber-Lee, Stockholm Environmental Institute

"Can nexus approaches promote cooperation more effectively?"

Auditorium, Kellogg Center

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm Break
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Keynote speech: Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy

"The Fate of the Earth - The Promise of Collaboration"

Auditorium, Kellogg Center

 

Day 2: Scientific Colloquium

Time Description
8:00 am - 8:30 am

Breakfast

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

8:30am - 9:15 am

Robert Richardson, Michigan State University

"Food, Energy, Water and Abundance: Cross-Border Governance and Protection of the Great Waters of the World"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

9:15 am - 10:00 am

Gordon Holtgrieve, University of Washington

"Floods, Fish and People: Food-Energy-Water Challenges and Opportunities in the Mekong River Basin"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

10:00 am - 10:15 am Break
10:15 am - 11:00 am

Kathleen Halvorsen, Michigan Tech University; Rachael Shwom, Rutgers

"Climate Change Mitigation via Reducing Household Food, Energy and Water Consumption"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

11:00 am - 11:45 pm

Shashi Shekhar, University of Minnesota

"Data and Data Science Challenges in Food, Energy, and Water Nexus"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Poster Session 12:45 - 1:45 pm (concurrently with lunch)

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Felicia Wu, Michigan State University

"How Food Trade Affects Food Safety: A Case Study of Aflatoxin in Maize and Pistachios"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

2:45 pm. - 3:30 pm

Cathy Kling, Iowa State University

"Research Needs and Challenges in the Food, Energy and Water System"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm - 4:30 pm

Patricia Soranno, Michigan State University

"What can data-intensive, continental-scaled ecology contribute to the climate-food-energy-water nexus?"

Big Ten C, Kellogg Center

4:30 pm

Closing Reception and Poster Awards Ceremony

Red Cedar A & B, Kellogg Center

 

Special thank you to our steering committee: Dr. Thomas Dietz, Dr. R. Jan Stevenson, Dr. Julie Libarkin, and Dr. Phoebe Zarnetske. All your hard work has been appreciated.

Speakers

 

Bruno Basso

Bruno Basso
Professor of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University

Speech Title: "Feeding the planet while protecting the environment: the next agricultural revolution"


Bruno Basso's research deals mainly with water, carbon, nitrogen cycling and modeling in agro-ecosystems, and spatial analysis of crop yield. Basso's modeling research has focused on extending soil-crop-atmosphere models to spatial domains at the field scale, and in particular on developing, testing, and deploying SALUS, a next-generation process-based model that integrates crop productivity with water, carbon, and nutrient fluxes in a spatially explicit manner. Through this research, it has been possible to integrate the effects of topography and soil properties on soil water balance, and thereby partition surface vs. subsurface flows in different landscape positions. This has important value for better understanding and predicting nitrogen conservation patterns in cropped landscapes as well as soil carbon change - and has led to important insights for the likely effects of climate change on carbon and water footprints of future cropping systems, as noted in recent publications.

The challenge of addressing global food security issues in the context of resource degradation and increased climate variability and change is daunting. Agriculture is often seen as the cause of many environmental problems, and seldom considered as solutions to many of them. Big-data from sensors in agriculture along with recent advancements in the geospatial and computational modeling sciences provide new opportunities to improve the environmental sustainability and efficiency of agriculture to meet the food, feed, fiber and fuel needs for the growing global population.

 

 

Kate Brauman

Kate Brauman
Lead Scientist, Global Water Initiative at the University of Minnesota

Speech Title: "Water Matters: Scarcity, Productivity, and Management in a Changing World"


Kate Brauman is the Lead Scientist for the Global Water Initiative at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Kate’s research integrates hydrology and land use with economics and policy to better understand how water use by people affects the environment and our ability to live well in it. Through projects as diverse as payments for watershed services, global variation in “crop per drop”, and worldwide trends in water consumption and availability, Kate works with the Global Water Initiative to find sustainable solutions to pressing water issues. Kate received her doctorate from Stanford University and her undergraduate degree from Columbia University. Prior to her graduate studies, Kate worked in public education at the Natural Resources Defense Council and continues to speak and write about water for broad audiences.

Water scarcity seems to be everywhere, but we’re not having water wars yet. Perhaps our water metrics aren’t telling us what we need to know. Individuals, businesses, governments, and non-profits want to be able to target and improve water management, speaking to a need for transparent metrics with actionable implications. The Water Depletion metric, which indicates the fraction of renewable water that is consumed by human activities, is one metric that responds to these demands. It clearly identifies regions facing chronic and periodic water scarcity, which is critical to sustainable water management. For example, by overlaying Water Depletion with measures of water productivity we can pinpoint places where investments to improve “crop per drop” are important and where the costs may be too high. Similarly, we can explore what fraction of a product or business’s “water footprint” has a heavy impact in Water Depleted source regions. White Paper

 

 

Kathleen Halvorsen

Kathleen Halvorsen
Professor of Natural Resource Policy, Social Sciences and School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technical University

Speech Title: "Climate Change Mitigation via Reducing Household Food, Energy and Water Consumption"


As part of the Environmental and Energy Policy Graduate Program, I teach the Advanced Natural Resource Policy and Principles of Interdisciplinary Team Science which is an international class taught to MTU students and students at universities across the Americas.

I currently have two main research foci, both of which relate to mitigating climate change in an international context. One relates to the development of biofuels in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. This includes identification of impacts, barriers and opportunities related to this development. I view bioenergy as one important tool in our climate change mitigation toolbox. This work also links to public understandings of climate change causes and solutions.

I served on the 2010-11 National Academy of Science's Committee on the Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels and you can download our report as a free pdf here. I lead a group of about 100 scientists and students from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina, and the United States with a five year National Science Foundation Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant to study the policy and socioecological dimensions of forest-related bioenergy development across the Americas.

My research projects and supervision of graduate students are very interdisciplinary. I have the pleasure of working with a wide variety of social, natural, and applied (engineering) scientists across Europe, China, and North and South America.

On a more personal level, I love to spend time hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, spinning yarn, knitting, and spending time with my dogs.

The GHG intensity of U.S. households highlights the opportunity for household actions to reduce GHG emissions (Shwom and Lorenzen, 2012). In the U.S., estimates suggest that voluntary actions could reduce household direct emissions by 20%, reducing overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 7.4% (Dietz et al., 2009). One study of Stockholm food consumption estimates that dietary changes could reduce indirect energy use by 30% (Carlsson‐Kanyama et al., 2005). While the level, structure, and rate of change of resource prices are often thought of as the most effective way to reduce the use of resources (e.g., Dupont and Renzetti, 2013), there is increasing evidence that non-price interventions can be equally effective (Allcott and Mullainathan, 2010). Information provision through feedback on use and its environmental impacts and monetary costs have been shown to be effective to varying extents to impact direct energy and water use since the 1980s (Ehrhardt-Martinez et al., 2010; Farhar and Fitzpatrick, 1989; Faruqui et al., 2010; Froehlich et al., 2010; Liu et al., 2015; Willis et al., 2010).  While there have been efforts to shift household food, energy and water consumption habits, there has been less attention given to how they are inter-related and coordinated efforts to decrease FEWs household consumption.  This talk will summarize past research on efforts to change household food, energy, and water and present a new integrative approach to studying the dynamics of direct and indirect household FEWs consumption. WHITE PAPER

 

 

Gordon Holtgrieve

Gordon Holtgrieve
Assistant Professor, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, College of the Environment, University of Washington

Speech Title: Floods, Fish, and People: Food-Energy-Water Challenges and Opportunities in the Mekong River Basin


Gordon Holtgrieve is an ecosystem ecologist and fisheries scientist in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington.  Dr. Holtgrieve earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University in Earth System Science (1999 & 2001) and a Ph.D in Zoology from the University of Washington (2009).  He currently holds the rank of Assistant Professor, a position he has held since 2013.  Holtgrieve and colleagues have published 25 scientific papers and one book chapter on topics ranging from the ecosystem response of Alaska streams to spawning salmon to anthropogenic nitrogen deposition in otherwise pristine environments. The Holtgrieve Ecosystem Ecology Lab (HEEL) currently consists of one postdoctoral fellow, two graduate students, and two undergraduates, and broadly seeks to understand: 1) Global analysis of status, trends, and human dependence on freshwater fisheries; 2) elucidating carbon pathways that support freshwater food webs including allochthonous organic matter from surrounding terrestrial habitats and biogenic methane; 3) stable isotope techniques to trace natural and anthropogenic drivers of biogeochemical processes; 4) applying Bayesian statistical methods to biogeochemical data; 5) community-scale effects of indiscriminate fishing effort.  Dr. Holtgrieve’s research spans the Pacific Rim from the Puget Sound to Alaska to the Mekong River in SE Asia.

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is maintaining the critical ecosystem goods and services human societies depend on in the face of an expanding human population and increasing global environmental change.  More than any other ecosystem, freshwaters are experiencing the full suite of environmental transformations, including habitat alterations, pollution, climate change, and over-exploitation.  I will start by presenting a new analysis of global animal-source protein consumption data that demonstrates the high dependence many low-income countries have on freshwater fish for human nutrition, and the critical role of inland waters for nutrition security.   I will then narrow the scope to focus on current and anticipated Food-Energy-Water nexus challenges in the Mekong River Basin.  The Mekong is a paragon for studying global alterations to freshwaters, with looming changes from hydroelectric dams, climate change, and deforestation. Building off a recent NSF sponsored RiverINFEWs Workshop, I will present a combination of evolving theory on how riverine F-E-W systems should be viewed in development context, critical unanswered scientific questions for sustainability, and ongoing research by our group to addresses these questions.  Our ultimate goal is to develop a better understanding of how energy policy, watershed hydrology, and ecosystem function interact to maintain the exceptionally high productivity of Mekong, such that stakeholders will be better able to predict and mitigate the effects future hydrologic and climatic changes will have the river’s ability to provide resources for people.

 

 

Annette Huber-Lee

Annette Huber-Lee
Senior Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute

Speech Title: "Can nexus approaches promote cooperation more effectively?"


Annette Huber-Lee is a senior scientist who focuses on water resource management and policy. She returned to SEI-US in May after serving as director of SEI Asia, in Bangkok, from mid-2012 until February 2013. She has more than 20 years of professional experience in international and domestic planning and management of environmental and water resources. Annette focuses on the integration of economic, engineering, and ecological approaches to solve environmental and social problems in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, as well as the development of innovative approaches to environmental policy and natural resource conflict management.

The motivation behind the movement towards an water-energy-food-climate nexus approach is that traditional sectoral approaches are failing to capture the implications across sectors. While it is easy to state this, there are few studies that have looked at the tradeoffs among sectors quantitatively. More studies look across 2 sectors – water/energy, water/food. It is clear that the introduction of an additional sector adds quite a bit complexity, not only quantitatively, but in engaging actors in these decision spaces. Three case studies are presented here: Southern Africa, the Mekong and the Middle East, to explore both quantitative tradeoffs, but also the obstacles that prevent better joint management of resources across sectors and across countries.

 

 

Cathy Kling

Cathy Kling
Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State Univerity

Speech Title: "Research Needs and Challenges in the Food, Energy and Water System"


Cathy Kling, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor of economics, has served as the director of CARD since July 2013, after having served many years as the division head of CARD's Resource and Environmental Policy Division. She received a bachelor's degree in business and economics from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland. In her work at CARD, Kling is undertaking research to examine how agricultural practices affect water quality, wildlife, soil carbon content, and greenhouse gases.

In this presentation, a summary of key findings from an NSF supported workshop on the topic of coupling economic models with agronomic, hydrologic, and bioenergy models for sustainable food, energy, and water systems will be discussed. Major research gaps will be discussed and research priorities will be identified. See WHITE PAPER here

 

 

Ed McCormick

Ed McCormick
Water Environment Federation

Speech Title: "The Revolution Starts Now! Making Water, Energy and Food Sustainable"


Ed McCormick is President of McCormick Strategic Water Management, LLC,
a firm dedicated to help water utilities transform into “Utilities of the Future”. Ed is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Trustees of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of over 35,000 water quality professionals.

Ed holds dual Master’s degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and in Public Administration, and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts (UMass, Lowell). 
Ed is a recognized expert in recovering valuable resources from wastewater to produce useful products for society, including renewable energy, recycled water, natural fertilizer, and transportation fuel. 
Under Ed’s leadership as the Manager of Wastewater Engineering, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) became the first wastewater utility in North America to be a net producer of renewable energy in 2012.  Ed recently retired from EBMUD after 30 years of public service, including 25 years in four management positions.  Prior to EBMUD, Ed designed wastewater treatment facilities at Brown & Caldwell Engineers for four years.

We are experiencing the leading edge of a major sea change in the water, energy and agricultural sectors – a renaissance in our respective roles as water, energy and food stewards! 

Food production utilizes over 70% of the world’s freshwater supply!  Global energy production has the largest non-agricultural “water footprint”, at 15% of the world’s water demand.  Approximately 8% of the world’s energy demand is consumed by the water sector.  Clearly, water, energy and food are significantly intertwined.  

As the earth spins toward 9 billion people by 2050, and 11 billion by 2100,
the demand for water, energy and food will skyrocket.  At the same time, climate change will decrease water, energy and food security across the globe.

The Revolution Starts Now!  The good news is that all three sectors are now moving toward more sustainable resource management of their respective energy and water footprints - and we have a long way to go.  The world is experiencing the simultaneous birth of three major paradigm shifts: 1)  “Water Resource Recovery”, 2) The Age of Renewable Energy, and 3) Sustainable Agriculture. 

Failure is not an option - not if humans are to survive the earth’s 6th mass extinction of species, which is already underway.  

 

 

Robert Richardson

Robert Richardson
Associate Professor of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

Speech Title: "Food, Energy, Water and Abundance: Cross-Border Governance and Protection of the Great Waters of the World "


Robert Richardson is an ecological economist with interests in the study of environment and development, particularly the contribution of ecosystem services and natural resources to socioeconomic well-being. He holds a PhD in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University, and his teaching, research, and outreach program focuses primarily on sustainable development. Dr. Richardson uses a variety of methods from the behavioral and social sciences to study decision making related to the use of natural resources and the protection of ecosystem services. His research has included assessments of the role of natural resources in poverty alleviation and food security, agricultural-environmental linkages, vulnerability to climate change, and tradeoffs in decision making about environmental management. He has conducted research in southern and eastern Africa, Central America, and southeast Asia, in addition to several projects in the USA.

Dr. Richardson is an affiliate faculty member with MSU's Environmental Science and Policy Program, Center for Advanced Study of International Development, Center for Regional Food Systems, African Studies Center, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Energy and water resources are essential for agricultural production and for the distribution and consumption of food. The interdependent nature of food, energy, and water systems for social and economic development pose an array of challenges, particularly under conditions of varying abundance or scarcity of water. In the particular case of water abundance, empirical field evidence suggests that users and local government agencies do not perceive enough incentive to pursue collective action or other socially optimal behaviors, and instead adopt individual utility strategies.  This common-pool resource dilemma often leads to the over-exploitation of the resource and conflict regarding its allocation among competing uses. People may migrate from areas characterized by relative scarcity to areas with abundant resources, which can lead to conflict over access thereby reducing the quantity and quality of the resources available to existing residents. The challenges associated with access rights, designated uses and protection become more difficult when watersheds share multiple national borders and different systems of governance and protection. Each country may have unique policies that are country-based, driven by local perceptions, and often disconnected from the logic of the ecosystem’s structure and function. In a workshop focusing on cross-border governance and protection of “the Great Waters of the World”, participants addressed the identification of confirmatory research findings and knowledge gaps, and the related challenges to public policy. The objectives of the workshop were to examine the stresses on food and energy systems and identify gaps in knowledge about cross-border governance under relative abundance of water resources in large watersheds. The workshop brought together scientists, researchers and policy-makers from three selected regions of the world characterized by abundant water resources subject to recent pressures: 

  1. North America’s Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system on Earth, which is facing increasing pressure from agricultural runoff and invasive species and eyed covetously by drier regions of the U.S./Canada; 
  2. East Africa’s Great Lakes region, including Lake Victoria, which is facing rapid eutrophication, diminishing productivity of its inland fisheries, and increased threats to the livelihoods of rural communities in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania; and 
  3. South America’s Amazon River, the largest river system on Earth, which is facing increasing pressure from hydroelectric development and resulting collapse of fisheries in Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador.

 

 

Lynn Scarlett

Lynn Scarlett
Managing Director for Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy

Speech Title: "The Fate of the Earth—The Promise of Collaboration"


Former Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Lynn Scarlett is worldwide Managing Director for Public Policy at The Nature Conservancy. In this role, Scarlett directs all policy in the United States and the 35 countries in which TNC operates. Scarlett also served at Interior as the Acting Secretary of the Interior in 2006. While Interior’s Deputy Secretary, Scarlett initiated and chaired the Department’s Cooperative Conservation Working Group and its first-ever Climate Change Task Force. She established the Interior’s Ocean and Coastal Activities office to coordinate cross-departmental ocean and coastal work. She chaired the nation’s Wildland Fire Leadership Council. She served on the Executive Committee of the President’s Management Council. She is author or co-author of publications on climate change adaptation; ecosystem services; large landscape conservation; and science and decision making. She chairs the Science Advisory Board of NOAA, co-chairs the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives Council established in 2014 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and co-chairs the National Academy of Sciences Sustainability Roundtable. She also served on the US Global Change Research Program Committee and is a co-convening lead author of the National Climate Assessment. She is on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara. She also serves on the boards of trustees of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and is a member of the Coordinating Council of the Practitioners’ Network for Large Landscape Conservation. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she also completed her Ph.D. coursework and exams in political science and political economy.

Meeting human aspirations for food, shelter, heating, cooling, convenience and leisure, personal mobility, and economic dynamism worldwide involves meeting the needs of some 9 billion people by 2050 in an increasingly urbanizing world. The challenges of meeting these needs are complex. They are multidimensional, and their context is dynamic, with looming surprises and many uncertainties, particularly as the effects of climate change unfold. Thinking about meeting basic human needs thus demands a big-picture lens, one through which to assess complex linkages and trade-offs. Moreover, thinking about these linkages and trade-offs requires understanding the role natural systems play in providing services to human communities and the sometimes unintended consequences of diminishing these natural systems. Exploring trade-offs inherently involves values. Thus, providing food, water, energy, and other basic needs—and addressing climate change—requires decision settings that engage affected communities. If the 20th century was a time of ever deepening specialized knowledge, the 21st century increasingly requires integrating knowledge and creating platforms for collaboration among scientists, other professions, communities, and decision makers.

 

 

Shashi Shekar

Shashi Shekhar
McKnight Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science, University of Minnesota

Speech Title: "Data and Data Science Challenges in Food, Energy, and Water Nexus"


Shashi Shekhar received the B. Tech degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in 1985, the M.S. degree in Business Administration and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, in 1989. He is a McKnight Distinguished University Professor the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. His research interests include spatial databases, spatial data mining, geographic and information systems (GIS), and intelligent transportation systems. He is a co-author of a textbook on Spatial Databases (Prentice Hall, 2003, isbn 0-13-017480-7), co-edited an Encyclopedia of GIS (Springer, 2008, isbn 978-0-387-30858-6) and has published over 260 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, books, and conferences, and workshops. He is serving as a co-Editor-in-Chief for Geo-Informatica: An International Journal on Advances in Computer Sc. for GIS , a series editor for the Springer Briefs in GIS, a general co-chair for Intl. Symposium on Spatial and Temporal Databases (2011) and a program co-chair for Intl. Conf. on Geographic Information Science (2012). He served on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering as well as the IEEE-CS Computer Science & Engineering Practice Board. He also served as a program co-chair of the ACM Intl. Workshop on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, 1996. He is serving on the National Academies's Future Work-force for Geospatial Intelligence Committee (2011). He served as a member of the mapping science committee of the National Research Council National Academy of Sciences (2004-9), as well as the Board of Directors of University Consortium on GIS (2003-2004). Dr. Shekhar received the IEEE Technical Achievement Award (2006). He is a Fellow of the IEEE Computer Society, a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement to Science, as well as a member of the ACM.

Food, energy and water (FEW) systems were traditionally analyzed and planned independently to address the challenges of population growth, climate change and urbanization. However, such piece-meal approaches (e.g., bio-fuel subsidy, fertilizers in agriculture) to solving problems in one system (e.g., energy, food) led to unanticipated harms to other systems (e.g., food price increase, water resource depletion and degradation). Thus, understanding the interdependent and interconnected nature of food, energy, and water systems (FEW nexus) is a societal priority.

Data and data science are crucial for understanding the problem, the interconnections, and the impacts withing FEW nexus. It is also needed for monitoring a variety of Earth resources (e.g., agriculture fields, fresh water lakes, energy needs for cooling or heating, etc.), and trends (e.g., deforestation, pollution, etc.) for timely detection and management of risks, such as impending crop failures and crop-stress anywhere in the world.

However, the FEW nexus raises major challenges for current data science methods. Although data science methods have been applied quite extensively to analyze some large and complicated systems, such as social networks, data science efforts in complex natural systems (e.g., systems with physical, chemical and biological elements) have been far more meager. Thus, a recent NSF workshop explored a research agenda for next generation data science to address the challenges of FEW nexus. Based on the discussions in this workshop, this presentation shares a perspective on the data science challenges and opportunities in context of FEW nexus.

 

 

Rachael Shwom

Rachael Shwom
Assistant Professor, Department of Human Ecology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Speech Title: "Climate Change Mitigation via Reducing Household Food, Energy and Water Consumption"


Rachael Shwom is a sociologist who is interested how different groups of people in society make sense of and respond to energy and climate change problems. She understand these processes as not just technological or economic processes, but inherently social and political processes. She is particularly focused on the role of civil society, such as environmental groups and the public in general and their role in perceiving and acting to remedy climate change. She has studied public opinion on climate change, non-profits decisions to partner with business to address energy issues, household energy consumption, long term risk governance, and risk communication. She uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to study these issues including surveys, social network analysis, and semi-structured interviews. She teaches undergraduate courses in Energy and Society, Innovative Solutions to Environmental Problems, and Environmental Politics and graduate courses in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change, Organizations in the Environmental Movement, and Long Term Risk Assessment and Governance. For more information see http://shwomrac.tumblr.com/

The GHG intensity of U.S. households highlights the opportunity for household actions to reduce GHG emissions (Shwom and Lorenzen, 2012). In the U.S., estimates suggest that voluntary actions could reduce household direct emissions by 20%, reducing overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 7.4% (Dietz et al., 2009). One study of Stockholm food consumption estimates that dietary changes could reduce indirect energy use by 30% (Carlsson‐Kanyama et al., 2005). While the level, structure, and rate of change of resource prices are often thought of as the most effective way to reduce the use of resources (e.g., Dupont and Renzetti, 2013), there is increasing evidence that non-price interventions can be equally effective (Allcott and Mullainathan, 2010). Information provision through feedback on use and its environmental impacts and monetary costs have been shown to be effective to varying extents to impact direct energy and water use since the 1980s (Ehrhardt-Martinez et al., 2010; Farhar and Fitzpatrick, 1989; Faruqui et al., 2010; Froehlich et al., 2010; Liu et al., 2015; Willis et al., 2010).  While there have been efforts to shift household food, energy and water consumption habits, there has been less attention given to how they are inter-related and coordinated efforts to decrease FEWs household consumption.  This talk will summarize past research on efforts to change household food, energy, and water and present a new integrative approach to studying the dynamics of direct and indirect household FEWs consumption.

 

 

Pat Sorrano

Patricia Soranno
Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

Speech Title: What can data-intensive, continental-scaled ecology contribute to the climate-food-energy-water nexus?


I am a landscape limnologist, that is, a freshwater scientist who studies the multi-scaled spatial and temporal drivers of aquatic chemistry and biology.

I am also a macrosystems ecologist and I conduct research to develop concepts, approaches, and datasets needed to foster the development of data-intensive approaches in ecology.

All of my research is collaborative. I am co-director, with Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, of the Landscape Limnology Research Group, in which several projects are ongoing. In addition, I am PI for the NSF-Macrosystems Biology project, CSI-Limnology.

Coming soon

 

 

Felicia Wu

Felicia Wu
John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Speech Title: "How Food Trade Affects Food Safety: A Case Study of Aflatoxin in Maize and Pistachios"


Dr. Felicia Wu is a graduate of Harvard University and most recently served as associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Wu has been a Distinguished Lecturer in the Toxicology Seminar Series in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She is a Hannah Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and a joint appointment in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics. Her research will focus on applying health economic and mathematical modeling techniques to understand the public health impacts of agricultural practices, both in the United States and worldwide.

Global food trade allows a much larger diversity of foods to be included in human diets worldwide. However, differing food safety regulations among nations can lead to trade barriers, as well as certain food contaminants being disproportionately sent to nations with relaxed or nonexistent food safety standards. This talk presents a case study in aflatoxin: a toxin produced by Aspergillus fungi that is common in maize, peanuts, and tree nuts such as pistachios and almonds. Social network models are presented of maize and pistachio trade around the world, demonstrating how "like attracts like" - nations with similar food safety standards will trade far more with each other, despite geographic barriers. This can result in certain populations worldwide receiving more aflatoxin-contaminated food. However, agricultural and dietary interventions can reduce the risk of aflatoxin in food - and here again, the ability to engage in food trade provides a population health benefit, as a case study in China will demonstrate. WHITE PAPER

Photographs

2016 Research Presentation Winners

Mahlet Garedew

Dr. Phoebe Zarnetske presents Mahlet Garedew with the Best Poster Overall prize for her presentation "Biomass Conversion to Fuels and Biochar to Displace Fossil Fuels and Provide Carbon Sequestration Strategies".

Bonnie McGill

Bonnie McGill (right) won Best Poster by a Graduate Student for her presentation "Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Sequestration from Agricultural Liming and Groundwater Irrigation".

Lauren Costatini

Lauren Costantini won Best Poster by an Undergraduate Student for "Age of Italian Ryegrass Effect on Phosphorous Release in Freeze-Thaw Cycles".

Yuanbo Li

Yuanbo Li won Best Poster by a Postdoctoral Research for "Enantioselective Separation and Transformation of Metalaxyl in Tomato and Cucumber."

View a full list of research presentations here.

Symposium Photographs

Tom Dietz

Dr. Tom Dietz opens the 2016 Fate of the Earth Symposium

Bruno Basso

Dr. Bruno Basso "Feeding the planet while protecting the environment: the next agricultural revolution"

Flint Panel

Panel Discussion on the Flint Water Crisis featuring (from left) Dr. Erin Dreelin, Dr. Rick Sadler, Dr. Jennifer Carrera and Dr. Joan Rose.

Lynn Scarlett

Dr. Lynn Scarlett of the Nature Conservancy gives the keynote address: "The Fate of the Earth - The Promise of Collaboration"

shashi

On Day 2, Dr. Shashi Shekhar presented "Data and Data Science Challenges in Food, Energy, and Water Nexus"

Pat Soranno

Dr. Patricia Soranno presented "What can data-intensive, continental-scaled ecology contribute to the climate-food-energy-water nexus?"