Environmental Science

  • More farmers, more problems: How smallholder agriculture is threatening the Western Amazon

    Monday, Jul 15, 2019
    by B. Rose Kelly, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

    A verdant, nearly roadless place, the Western Amazon in South America may be the most biologically diverse place in the world. There, many people live in near isolation, with goods coming in either by river or air. Turning to crops for profit or sustenance, farmers operate small family plots to make a living.

    Unfortunately, these farmers and their smallholder agriculture operations pose serious threats to biodiversity in northeastern Peru, according to a team of researchers led by Princeton University.

  • Sea slugs use algae's bacterial ‘weapons factory’ in three-way symbiotic relationship

    Thursday, Jun 27, 2019
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    Delicate yet voracious, the sea slug Elysia rufescens grazes cow-like on bright green tufts of algae, rooting around to find the choicest bits.

    But this inch-long marine mollusk gains not only a tasty meal — it also slurps up the algae's defensive chemicals, which the slug can then deploy against its own predators.

  • Redding explores the brightening future of solar power in the Philippines

    Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    As a tropical nation spread across more than 7,600 islands, the Philippines seems like the ideal location to implement localized solar power for the 16 million Filipinos lacking reliable access to electricity. But as Princeton senior Erin Redding discovered, providing lasting energy solutions requires much more than a willing populace, low-cost technology and ample sunshine.

  • Rapid Switch project to assess practicality and pace of global climate strategies

    Monday, Jun 24, 2019
    by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    Princeton University convened an international research team June 11-13 to begin a five-year effort to frame a realistic global response to climate change that accounts for massive economic development in countries, including India and China.

  • Ramaswami, researcher of urban sustainability, appointed inaugural director of M.S. Chadha Center for Global India

    Thursday, Jun 20, 2019
    by Pooja Makhijani, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

    Anu Ramaswami, an interdisciplinary environmental engineer who is recognized as a pioneer and leader on the topic of sustainable urban systems, has been named professor of India studies, civil and environmental engineering, and the Princeton Environmental Institute, and the inaugural director of the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India. She will assume her new duties at Princeton on Aug. 1.

  • Alcatraz Island is unlikely place of learning for students of energy innovation

    Monday, Jun 17, 2019
    by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    On Alcatraz Island, students from Princeton University peered across the San Francisco skyline from a solar rooftop. Their visit to the historic prison’s electricity microgrid was one stop on a spring break trip to see emerging energy technologies, part of a new course on energy innovation and entrepreneurship.

    “Before this class I didn't even know what the energy sector looked like,” said Diego Fierros, a senior studying mechanical and aerospace engineering. “It was a giant engineering conglomerate.”

  • Course explores the Millstone River, Princeton’s backyard wilderness

    Thursday, May 23, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    An 8-foot deer shape cut from a discarded mirror stood along one wall of the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau St. on the Princeton campus, its humanoid body reflecting the people gathered around a table set with native New Jersey plants, a sun-bleached turtle shell and discarded bottles stuffed with secret messages.

  • Princeton senior Lohmann explores Nauru, where the environmental future is now

    Monday, May 20, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    When planning his stay on the remote Pacific island of Nauru last year, Princeton senior Jack Lohmann had expected that a place often portrayed as a post-environmental dystopia would present challenges. Being besieged by feral dogs the moment he left the airport was not one he had anticipated.

    "Packs of wild dogs roam the island and a lot of people are terrified," Lohmann said. "They come snarling and barking wherever you walk. The ones by the airport are particularly bad."

  • Princeton senior Petticord explores a Kenyan ecosystem one tortoise at a time

    Tuesday, May 14, 2019
    by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

    As Princeton senior Daniel Petticord was conceptualizing his thesis on animal movement in the African savanna, he could have chosen to study elephants, zebras, giraffes, impalas or any of the iconic animals that inhabit central Kenya. He chose the ubiquitous leopard tortoise.

  • Reducing Carbon Emissions While Improving Health is Economically Attractive, Study Shows

    Thursday, May 2, 2019
    by Rose Kelly Source: Woodrow Wilson School

    It’s a classic policy dispute: How much should the current generation invest in reducing carbon emissions for the benefit of future generations?

    A study published in Nature Communications helps answer this question by quantifying whether reducing carbon emissions — which will have global benefits in the future — also improves air quality now. Preventing many of the human health burdens that result from air pollution would be a powerful positive incentive to act sooner than later. 

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