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Go Minnesota NatCap!

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BY BONNIE KEELER

Policy makers, land managers, and other stakeholders confront a dizzying array of environmental decisions. How do we best manage our natural resources? Where should we invest in conservation? Do we need stricter regulation of development or industry?  

The Natural Capital Project, a core program of the Institute on the Environment, develops innovative tools and approaches to inform these important questions. Starting this year, the Minnesota team will add three full-time research positions -- a lead scientist, an ecologist and an economist. The growing NatCap presence at IonE will enhance the program's ability to meet increasing demand for data and tools that quantify the values of natural capital.

Can Technology Save the Planet?

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The Thinking Ahead Seminar Series: Emerging Technologies and the Environment, hosted by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with funding from an Institute on the Environment Mini Grant, explores the newest technologies from multiple disciplines inside and outside the University and their potential to help solve the most daunting environmental challenges. 

On Feb. 25, Larry Wackett, IonE resident fellow and Distinguished McKnight University professor in the College of Science and Engineering, discussed the role of hydraulic fracturing in the new energy landscape and how fracking water is being recycled, conserving the finite resource. "Hydraulic Fracturing, Energy and the Environment" can be viewed online

On March 25, R. Lee Penn, IonE resident fellow and associate professor of chemistry, will discuss the role of nanotechnology in the production of safe, clean and sustainable energy in "Nanoparticles in the Environment: Challenges for Science and Policy." Join the talk from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Humphrey School room 180.

The monthly talks are part of the Initiative on Governance of Emerging Technological Systems in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and funded by an IonE Mini Grant. IonE Mini Grants help spur new collaborations by providing small amounts of funding (from $500 to $3,000), administrative support and space to interdisciplinary groups of faculty, staff and students from across the University of Minnesota system. 

For more information and a list of future speakers, contact Leili Fatehi at fateh002@umn.edu.

Image: Matthias Weinberger (Flickr Creative Commons)

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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