What I’m reading right now…

I’m sorry that it’s been such a while since I last posted – I went to visit my sister and investigate PhD programs, and have had some great conversations with professors and students at Johns Hopkins, UPenn, and the University of Delaware. I’m working on a longer post about the history of water management between New York City and the rest of the users of the Delaware River, but for now I’ll just share some other authors’ writing that’s caught my eye lately. 150324_SCI_Himalayas-KumikCanal

Jonathan Mingle recently wrote a great piece on The Slate comparing the conflict resolution tactics of the water-stressed community of Kumik in the Indian Himalayas with the strategies used by the international leaders who are arguing about the climate change causing that community’s water stress. So often the political side of climate change adaptation can can seem hopelessly opaque and difficult to enforce, and this article’s views on how a community can enforce cooperation in high-stakes situations gave an intriguing angle on that issue. I guess that developed and developing nations alike have become so mutually invested and entangled that we end up acting like one big tribal community, sometimes reverting to old methods such as shunning to keep the peace and work towards goals. In the end, unless that happens on a the larger scale of climate talks, more communities will end up under the same kind of stress as Kumik, and enforcing cooperation over scarce resources in the same way. Anyways, now I’m really tempted to buy Mingle’s new book!

Ellie Key, an environmental scientist I used to go to church with who works out in Washington State now, sent me a series of great short videos about the volcanism and catastrophic flooding that shaped her new turf! It’s always a lot of fun to armchair-travel through “virtual field courses” like these. The massive scale of the glacial lake floods boggles the mind, as do the huge basalt fields! Someday I’ll get out there to explore the aftermath first-hand, but for now I’ll remotely explore it with the most dapper field geologist ever (really, he wears a bow tie).

Dirt. We all depend on it, and it seems so ubiquitous that many of us take it for granted. This article in The Guardian by George Monbiot, despite its slightly melodramatic tone, gives a good introduction to why we should care as well some of the risks involved in immediate policy decisions. Talking with professors and students at UDel has introduced me to the agricultural side of environmental science; I had never really considered agricultural research as a field – I’m not sure why, since we all depend on it to put the food on our plates. This topic inspired yet another book on my growing reading list – Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery. Anyways, reading lists aside, I’ve got a back-log of writing to do and I’d better tackle it!

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