Environment

Enhancing Public Engagement in Climate Change: The 2011 Climate Change Communicators of the Year

"Excellence in climate communication has to do with public engagement – communication that expands the portion of the public that is engaged in this issue and enhances their degree of engagement," said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.

About

Since 1994, the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) has actively pursued the connections between the environment, health, population, development, conflict, and security. ECSP brings together scholars, policymakers, media, and practitioners through events, research, publications, multimedia content, and our award-winning blog, New Security Beat.

ECSP currently has three primary focus areas:

Helping Hands: An Integrated Approach

At the moment, the agendas of the growing population of people and the environment are too separate. People are thinking about one or the other," said Sir John Sulston, Nobel laureate and chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics, and Innovation at the University of Manchester, in an interview with the Environmental Change & Security Program(ECSP).

"People argue about, ‘Should we consume less or should we have fewer people?' The point is it's both. We need to draw it together. It's people and their activities."

Yemen Beyond the Headlines: Population, Health, Natural Resources, and Institutions

"Ultimately, whether Yemen is able to achieve its goals for social and economic development, will, to a large extent, depend on its future population growth and size," said Gary Cook, senior health advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development, in his opening address at the Woodrow Wilson Center's all-day conference, "Yemen Behind the Headlines: Population, Health, Natural Resources, and Institutions."

Panel I: Population and Development Challenges

Whose Logo? Sustainable Consumption and Production in North America

Stefanie Bowles, Policy Horizons Canada

The role of government as a regulating body in certifying green labels and standards is in decline, said Stefanie Bowles at an event hosted by the Canada Institute. Bowles discussed the findings of her research examining the economic and social implications of the steady rise of products claiming to be "green." Bowles' presentation shed light on a changing regulatory structure, the difficulties of defining "green," and the unclear role of government in a consumer-led environment.

Connections Between Climate and Stability: Lessons from Asia and Africa

"We, alongside this growing consensus of research institutes, analysts, and security agencies on both sides of the Atlantic, think of climate change as a risk multiplier; as something that will amplify existing social, political, and resource stressors," said Janani Vivekananda of International Alert.

Choke Point: Confronting Energy Demand and Water Scarcity in China

China's soaring economy, fueled by an unyielding appetite for coal, is threatened by the country's steadily diminishing freshwater reserves. Even as China has launched enormous new programs of solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear power development, which tend to use much less water and generate much less carbon, energy demand will skyrocket and will primarily rely on supplies of coal, the source of 70 percent of the nation's energy.

Managing Our Forests: Carbon, Climate Change, and Fire

"We cannot manage our planet if we cannot manage our forests," said William Sommers, a research professor with the Center for Climate and Society at George Mason University. The event, which coincided with the International Year of Forests, was the fourth in a series co-sponsored by George Mason University and the Environmental Change and Security Program on Managing the Planet.

Bolstering Global Food Security

Dramatic events over the last year have shed light on the problem of global food security: massive fires in Russia, which reduced wheat supplies; famine and drought in Niger and Chad; and food price riots in the Middle East and elsewhere. These stresses come amid price spikes that echo the food crises of 2008 and reveal the linked nature of food security today.

Climate Adaptation, Development, and Peacebuilding in Fragile States: Finding the Triple-Bottom Line

"The climate agenda goes well beyond climate," said Dan Smith, secretary general of International Alert.

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