Something important is missing from your to-do lists, and it’s not what you think it is. As an early career scientist, you probably have more than one of these lists, like me. There’s a professional development to-do list, a “work-life balance” list, and a to-do list for outreach and mentoring of a new generation of scientists (not to mention the daily grind lists of writing, researching, grocery-shopping, etc.). I recently discovered that for years I’ve been overlooking something critical in these priorities. That something is art and creative expression.
On August 29, 2005, many watched as Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the northern Gulf Coast of the U.S. The satellite imagery from that day shows us how strong Katrina was. A category 5 hurricane at its peak, Katrina was a category 3 hurricane at landfall. This hurricane currently stands as the third deadliest and most costly hurricane in U.S. history (more than 1,000 deaths and $108 billion in damage according to the National Hurricane Center). Ten years have passed since Katrina made landfall.
The biggest climate change news of 2015 has come from a rather unlikely source: The Vatican of Rome.
A decade ago, I would have NEVER have believed that I would write the following words, but here they are: I love working with 7th graders! My twenty-something self would have further cringed at the idea of leading dozens of boisterous middle schoolers through quiet mountain landscapes. And yet, here I am, traipsing across alpine boulder fields with 60 of my closest 7th grade friends.
The restored stone walls of two ancient heiau (Hawaiian temples) rise black and strong out of the gentle waves of the Kona Coast. Large rocks sit farther out in the sea, and coastal plants and bushes spread along the tops of the dunes and farther back, behind the great stone structures. Small groups of university students can be seen peering into the tidal pools, snorkeling among the waves, and gesturing toward plants on the beaches while making notes on data sheets and comparing observations.
St. Louis is better known by some as the gateway to the West. On May 12 - 15, 2015 it became a gateway for adaptation and collaboration. The National Adaptation Forum (NAF) was hosted in St. Louis this year, and it was one of those rare meetings which gathered scientists and stakeholders in the same room. Bi-annually, the NAF brings together a community dedicated to incorporating climate information into decision making. By it’s nature, the NAF focuses on the themes of understanding, engagement, and collaboration.
One of the big challenges with communicating climate change is the perception that the impacts will be far into the future or will affect someone else. These perceptions make it very easy to resist action to mitigate potential future impacts because there are a lot more pressing issues closer to home.
After getting my undergraduate degrees from the University of Montana, I moved to Alaska to work as a research technician. I was looking for a big adventure and I found it. I spent a year traveling around the state of Alaska to rural indigenous villages. I worked with a post doc interviewing subsistence hunters, documenting their ways of life, and how changing climate was influencing the availability of resources that hunters depended on. It was an opportunity to explore places where few people get to go and meet with people that live in truly unique settings.