Eye on Earth

Yellowstone: More Valuable Than Gold

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Mining near sensitive ecosystems is one of the hottest natural resource debates, pitting economic and environmental values against each other. As the controversy surrounding mining in Minnesota continues, opponents may want to take a few notes from one of the nation's largest, successful anti-mining campaigns to date.

Mike Clark, former executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, shared his experience fighting the New World mining project outside the nation's largest national park in the 1980s and 1990s in his Frontiers in the Environment lecture Wednesday, April 9 on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.

IonE Director Leads off National Geographic Series With 5-Step Plan to Feed the World

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Institute on the Environment director Jonathan Foley today served up the first article in an eight-month National Geographic series on feeding the world without destroying the planet.

"When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner," writes Foley in the opening paragraph. "But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet."

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"A Five-Step Plan to Feed the World" was published online today, with the print issue hitting newsstands next week. Drawing on research by IonE's Global Landscapes Initiative, Foley proposes five steps that could solve the world's food dilemma.

"This is a pivotal moment when we face unprecedented challenges to food security and the preservation of our global environment," Foley concludes in the piece. "The good news is that we already know what we have to do; we just need to figure out how to do it. Addressing our global food challenges demands that all of us become more thoughtful about the food we put on our plates. We need to make connections between our food and the farmers who grow it, and between our food and the land, watersheds, and climate that sustain us. As we steer our grocery carts down the aisles of our supermarkets, the choices we make will help decide the future."

After you've digested the "Five Step Plan," tune in to NPR's Marketplace this Wednesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. and Science Friday on Friday, April 18, 1-3 p.m. CT to hear Foley discuss the future of food.

Foley, who was recently honored with the 2014 Heinz Award in the Environment, is a McKnight Presidential Chair of Global Environment and Sustainabililty and professor in the College of Biological Sciences. 

May 2014 cover courtesy of National Geographic


Earthducation Expedition 6 Heads to the Land of Everest

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What does education look like in remote mountain villages where electricity is nonexistent or unreliable? How does a developing country seeking to grow its economy, boost tourism and expand its infrastructure do so sustainably? Earthducation Expedition 6 aims to find out -- and share what it learns with teachers and students around the world. This sixth in a series of seven-continent explorations investigates the intersections between education and sustainability in Nepal, the roof of the world. Led by Aaron Doering and Charles Miller of the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development with funding from the University's Institute on the Environment, the expedition will set out April 27 for a journey to this diverse ecological powerhouse that boasts some of the most majestic geographical wonders on Earth.

Everything's Coming Up Rosemount

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The city of Rosemount has spring in its step -- and not just because of the change of seasons.  Just a short drive south of the Twin Cities, this fast-growing community was chosen as next year's partner in the University of Minnesota's Resilient Communities Project, an Institute on the Environment-supported program. 

RCP organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities. The partnership will bring the expertise of hundreds of graduate students to sustainability-related projects identified by Rosemount city staff and community partners. Development of open space and public amenities and enhancing pride of place are some of the projects the city hopes to tackle with the help of the University's sustainability expertise.

U of M Students Compete for Honors, Kindle Fire

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Students from across the University of Minnesota will vie for top honors in the 3rd annual Sustainability Symposium this Friday, April 11, 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Institute on the Environment.

Undergraduate, graduate and professional students from such diverse programs as civil and mechanical engineering, psychology, architecture, music, finance, chemistry, animal science and more will present past and current projects, describing how their work supports or advances sustainability goals.

This year's Sustainability Symposium kicks off with a keynote address from Chuck Bennett, former vice president of Earth & community care at Aveda Corporation. Bennett, whose career spans more than two decades of corporate citizenship advocacy, will talk about "leading from every chair," the idea that everyone--no matter their level of expertise or chosen discipline--has important contributions and must be willing to engage in developing sustainability solutions if we are to be successful.

For more information about the event, visit 

www.susteducation.umn.edu/symposium2014

Photo: poster competition, Sustainability Symposium 2013, courtesy of Madeline Geifer

Developing World Changers in Graduate Education

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In a world with a growing population, limited resources and a changing climate to boot, it's natural to ask, "Where are the leaders who are going to solve these problems?"

Well, a lot of them are in graduate school where they're preparing to take on some of the world's greatest challenges. So, are they getting the skills they need?

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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