Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment View this newsletter in your browser. June 2014
Research Highlights Research Highlights
People Spotlights People Spotlights
Program Updates Program Updates
In the News In the News

Calendar of Upcoming Events
"Assessing Freshwater Vulnerability in a Water-Stressed Region"

Steve Gorelick, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and professor in the School of Earth Sciences, will discuss his research in water-stressed regions of the world during this talk, which is part of a seminar series offered by the Stanford Environmental and Water Studies Summer Program.
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"Water Underfoot"

Barton ("Buzz") Thompson, Jr., co-director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will participate in a discussion at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on the tug-of-war over groundwater exacerbated by California's historic drought.
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How Nature Affects Our Lives

To introduce a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency draft rule that would slash power plant emissions by 2030, President Obama went to a children's hospital. There, he emphasized dirty air's aggravating effects on childhood asthma and other ailments. Worldwide, air pollution-related health problems kill more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined and cost at least $3.5 trillion. Stanford Woods Institute-affiliated researchers are also proving that healthy coral reefs are vital to protecting people from natural disasters and sea level rise, access to freshwater is important for promoting peace, and climate change adaptation is crucial to maintaining agricultural yields. Read on to learn more about the links between healthy ecosystems and well-stewarded natural resources to human health and well-being.


Jeffrey R. Koseff
Perry L. McCarty Director


Barton H. Thompson, Jr.
Perry L. McCarty Director


Research Highlights

2013 Annual Report: Celebrating a Decade of Solutions

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment was created 10 years ago to harness the ingenuity, passion and pioneering spirit of Stanford University in pursuit of breakthrough solutions to the world's most critical environmental and sustainability challenges. We're reflecting on advances made since then in our 2013 Annual Report, which includes a special retrospective on Woods' first Decade of Solutions. Stanford will celebrate this milestone at a symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, when Woods and our partners will reflect on progress made and pathways forward to a world in which societies meet people's needs for water, food, health, energy and other vital services while protecting and nurturing the earth. Save the date and stay tuned for details!

View the 2013 Annual Report
Browse our Decade of Solutions timeline

Research Highlights

Hope for Coastal Communities

For the more than 123 million Americans who live in coastal counties, ocean acidification – caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels – could result in major environmental and economic impacts close to home. However, it's not too late, too costly or too complicated to mitigate and adapt to these impacts, according to a recent study co-authored by several current and former Stanford Woods Institute-affiliated researchers. The study is among the first comprehensive presentations of acidification-related management actions under way. It identifies relatively low-cost opportunities that require no new national legislation or international agreements.

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Farmers and Climate Change Adaptation

European farmers who make efforts to adapt to climate change will see less of a decline in crop yields over time, according to a study co-authored by Stanford graduate student Frances Moore and Woods Senior Fellow David Lobell (Environmental Earth System Science). As global temperatures rise, farms in Europe will likely see yields of wheat and barley drop more than 20 percent. However, a range of options based on existing technologies, such as switching varieties of a crop, installing irrigation or growing a crop suited to warmer temperatures, can help slow the decline, according to the study.

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Coral Reefs Provide Protection From Rising Sea, Study Finds

A new study by an international team of scientists, including Woods-affiliated Professor of Biological Sciences Fiorenza Micheli, reveals that coral reefs protect hundreds of millions of people from rising sea levels and damaging wave action. The researchers found that reefs reduce wave energy by an average of 97 percent. The study's findings could help focus conservation efforts for coral reefs, at least two-thirds of which are degraded or seriously threatened.

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For more research, see the Stanford Woods Institute quarterly Research Digest.
People Spotlights

TEDx Stanford Features Woods Researchers

Stanford Woods Institute Senior Fellows Steve Palumbi (Biology) and Noah Diffenbaugh (Environmental Earth System Science) wowed the audience at TEDxStanford, an independently organized TED event. Palumbi, co-author of the recently released book The Extreme Life of the Sea, told stories about how little-known sea creatures deal with harsh and demanding environments. Diffenbaugh discussed climate change science and what we can still do to avert the worst impacts of global warming

Watch Palumbi video ...
Watch Diffenbaugh video ...

Peerless Teacher: Julie Kennedy

Senior Fellow Julie Kennedy (Environmental Earth System Science) was awarded the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award by the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa. She was one of only four teachers so honored this year, and only the 12th ever at Stanford. "The deepest honor is to have been nominated, to have a student say that what you did, the way you put yourself out there as a teacher and as a friend really mattered to me, and I want others to know about it," Kennedy said. "That's what really hits my heart."

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Groundbreaking Scholar: Jon Krosnick

Senior Fellow Jon Krosnick (Communication, Political Science) won the American Association for Public Opinion Research 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to public opinion research which have produced "essential insights into questionnaire design and survey research methods." Krosnick directed a 2013 climate adaptation survey, sponsored by Woods and the Center for Ocean Solutions, that found an overwhelming majority of Americans want to prepare in order to minimize the damage likely to be caused by global warming-induced sea level rise and storms.

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Guiding Force: Stephen Schneider

A new archive in the Stanford Library documents the efforts of Senior Fellow Stephen Schneider (Biology), a leader in science communication and a world expert on interdisciplinary climate science, to call attention to human impacts on our planet during his entire academic career. At the time of his death in 2010, Schneider was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies. He played a key role in the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was among the members of IPCC groups who shared (equally with Al Gore) the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Schneider consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era.

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Program Updates

Preparing Costa Rica's Future Environmental Leaders

Costa Rica's president, Luis Guillermo Solís, recently paid a visit to a Stanford Woods Institute program in that country. Woods' Osa & Golfito Initiative (INOGO) is seeking ways to help the Osa and Golfito region, an ecological wonderland, grow sustainably as an ecotourism destination. The initiative has launched a program aimed at developing leadership skills and creating sustainable tourism offerings in the area. Caminos del Liderazgo, or Pathways to Leadership, is a collaboration among local leaders and entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and businesses, including national tour operators. It will provide the opportunity for a select group of entrepreneurs and community leaders to develop their business or community project idea.

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Symposium Brings Top Fisheries Experts to China

Well-managed aquaculture is key to feeding the world's most populous nation. At a recent symposium in Beijing, leading scientists and scholars from around the world shared research on the role of ocean fisheries, aquaculture and marine ecosystems for improving food security in China. The symposium focused on critical issues such as how China's seafood consumption will evolve with a population that is growing in both size and wealth and how aquaculture take pressure off wild fisheries. The symposium, chaired by William Wrigley Senior Fellow and Center on Food Security and the Environment Director Rosamond Naylor (Environmental Earth System Science), kicked off a multi-year series of research papers and international meetings aimed at advancing the science around Chinese fisheries and food security.

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Water's Link To Middle East Peace

Just as conflict over water can fuel revolt, sound water management and regional cooperation on water issues can create stability, according to His Excellency Hazim El-Naser, Ph.D., minister of water and irrigation for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. "Water is the bridge to peace and trust building in the Middle East," El-Naser said recently during a talk on water security in the Middle East as part of the Stanford Woods Institute's Environmental Forum series. Working with El-Naser, the Global Freshwater Initiative is coordinating a project aimed at developing new approaches for enhancing the sustainability of freshwater resources in Jordan and, ultimately, arid regions throughout the world.

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In the News
Selected media coverage of the Stanford Woods Institute and its
fellows, affiliated scholars and supported research

Breakthrough Research From Stanford Uses Satellites To 'See' Groundwater Levels Amid Drought

KPIX (CBS San Francisco Bay Area), June 17, 2014
Describes Stanford Professor of Earth Sciences Rosemary Knight's research on new technology that allows water managers to measure levels of water in underground aquifers. Knight is a senior fellow, by courtesy, at Woods.

Yours to Cut Out and Keep

The Economist, June 7
Describes paper microscope costing only 50 cents that was created by Manu Prakash, a Stanford Woods Institute-affiliated bioengineer

Obama Clean-Air Rules Said to Underplay Methane Gas Risks

Bloomberg Businessweek, June 4
Senior Fellow Rob Jackson (Environmental Earth System Science) comments on EPA rules' potential impact on natural gas use, and the need to reduce methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure

How Real Is Virtual Reality?

Forbes, June 2
Video showing Senior Fellow Jeremy Bailenson (Communication) and his virtual reality lab at Stanford, where he is studying how simulated changes in the environment affect people's thinking and behavior

Is Global Warming Real? Most Americans Say Yes

The New York Times, June 2
Refers to poll by Woods Senior Fellow Jon Krosnick (Communication, Political Science) that found Americans believe future generations will be hurt a lot or a great deal if nothing is done to reduce global warming

Europe Wheat Yields Forecast in Study to Fall on Climate Warming

Bloomberg Businessweek, May 22
Cites study findings from study co-authored by Senior Fellow David Lobell (Environmental Earth System Science), that wheat and barley yields in Europe may noticeably fall by 2040, due to expected climate warming

Stanford Professor's Plan for Combating Global Warming in California and 49 Other States

KCBS, May 19
Discusses plan outlined by Senior Fellow Mark Jacobson (Civil and Environmental Engineering) for powering all 50 states with 100 percent renewable energy

Coral Reefs: The Seawall That Nature Built

National Geographic, May 14
Woods-affiliated Professor of Biological Sciences Fiorenza Micheli explains findings that show how reefs serve as effective first line of defense against incoming waves, storms and rising seas

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