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Amir Sapkota, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, School of Public Health
Climate Change and Impaired Population Health – Perspectives From Countries on Opposite Ends of the Economic Spectrum
Located in Coming Up
Maureen Cropper talks about Clean Air Act on Resources for the Future
Cropper discusses a recent working paper that assesses the full benefits and costs of the groundbreaking law’s many programs to protect the environment.
Located in News
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Associations between alteration in plant phenology and hay fever prevalence among US adults: Implication for changing climate.
Plant phenology (e.g. timing of spring green-up, flowering) is among the most sensitive indicator of ecological response to ongoing climate variability and change. While previous studies have documented changes in the timing of spring green-up and flowering across different parts of the world, empirical evidence regarding how such ongoing ecological changes impact allergic disease burden at population level is lacking. Because earlier spring green-up may increase season length for tree pollen, we hypothesized that early onset of spring (negative anomaly in start of season (SOS)) will be associated with increased hay fever burden. To test this, we first calculated a median cardinal date for SOS for each county within the contiguous US for the years 2001-2013 using phenology data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). We categorized yearly deviations in SOS for each county from their respective long-term averages as: very early (>3 wks early), early (1-3 wks early), average (within 1 wk), late (1-3 wks late) and very late (> 3 wks late). We linked these data to 2002-2013 National Health Interview Survey data, and investigated the association between changes in SOS and hay fever prevalence using logistic regression. We observed that adults living in counties with a very early onset of SOS had a 14% higher odds of hay fever compared to the reference group, i.e. those living in counties where onset of spring was within the normal range (Odds Ratios (OR): 1.14. 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.03-1.27). Likewise, adults living in counties with very late onset of SOS had a 18% higher odds hay fever compared to the reference group (OR: 1.18, CI: 1.05-1.32). Our data provides the first-ever national scale assessment of the impact of changing plant phenology-linked to ongoing climate variability and change-on hay fever prevalence. Our findings are likely tied to changes in pollen dynamics, i.e early onset of spring increases the duration of exposure to tree pollen, while very late onset of spring increases the propensity of exposure because of simultaneous blooming.
Located in MPRC People / Amir Sapkota, Ph.D. / Amir Sapkota Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Climate change, demographic pressures and global sustainability
This article emphasizes the need for broader approaches for formulating policies for mitigating the effects of climate change especially in the contexts of agricultural decisions, and population health and migration. Constraints imposed by rapid population growth in developing countries for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals are discussed and evidence is presented on “unwanted” fertility from India. Second, comparisons are made for India during 2002–2016 for average well depths in 495 districts and terrestrial water storage anomalies assessed via GRACE satellites for 274 1° × 1° grids using estimated parameters from dynamic random effects models. Lastly, migration patterns especially of the highly educated from 39 sending countries to OECD countries during 2000–2010 are analyzed using dynamic random effects models and total fertility rates were significantly associated with higher migration rates for the highly educated. Implications of the empirical evidence for enhancing global sustainability are discussed.
Located in MPRC People / Alok Bhargava, Ph.D. / Alok Bhargava Publications
Article ReferenceA Conversation with Maureen Cropper
This article presents an interview with environmental economist Maureen L. Cropper. Maureen completed her Ph.D. at Cornell University and subsequently held positions at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Southern California. At Riverside, she moved from monetary economics to environmental economics. She then landed at the University of Maryland, where she is a still a professor. She has taken on leadership roles in numerous institutional settings, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board. Her contributions to environmental economics have been groundbreaking and extensive. Together with many collaborators—including former students and colleagues at the University of Maryland, World Bank, EPA, and Resources for the Future—Maureen has produced a body of work that spans theory, methods, and empirical applied economics. Her work covers the environment, energy, climate change, and transportation in both the United States and developing countries.
Located in MPRC People / Maureen Cropper, Ph.D. / Maureen Cropper Publications
Article ReferenceCollaborative Science and Learning as Tools for Climate Change Adaptation Planning
Anticipated impacts from climate change act as stressors that motivate adaptation strategy development. And, while climate science projections extend from the global to regional scale, they can leave significant uncertainty at the local scale. In many jurisdictions, governance and environmental management professionals formulate and distribute information to guide climate change policy and preparation. In many rural or otherwise marginalized areas, however, relationships needed to promote clear understanding of impacts and to tackle cooperative adaptation planning alongside residents are lacking. This article discusses methods used by an interdisciplinary group of scientists to help a small community of rural coastal United States residents enhance their climate resilience. This was accomplished via participatory collaborative science and collaborative learning processes that facilitated relationships of trust among a broad group of stakeholders. Data gathered from our network and analyses of project activities show the benefits of collaboration across a social network representing the social-ecological system. The success of our efforts is evident in five ways: a) in localized application of climate and environmental knowledge, b) in building two-way knowledge across the local/nonlocal divide, c) in incorporating local community values, d) developing trust between residents, scientists, and environmental governance and management professionals, and e) in lessons learned transitioning from a learning to decision-making process. We strongly advocate those working with local groups on adaptation planning efforts begin with methods that help build knowledge, respect, trust, and capacity among residents.
Located in Retired Persons / Michael Paolisso, Ph.D. / Michael Paolisso Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Enhancing socio-ecological resilience in coastal regions through collaborative science, knowledge exchange and social networks: a case study of the Deal Island Peninsula, USA
Collaborative science brings together diverse stakeholders to share knowledge and form networks that in turn can be foundational to policies and practices to increase socio-ecological resilience. In this article, we present results from a collaborative science project that employed collaborative learning methods to develop a network of local, regional, state and academic stakeholders. These stakeholders had little social interaction prior to the project and represented a diversity of views, positions and responsibilities. They shared in common a concern for the effects of climate change on a coastal socio-ecological system and the desire to reduce vulnerabilities and enhance resilience. Through ethnographic and survey methods, we found that collaborative science and learning promoted the exchange of cultural and environmental knowledge and expertise among individuals who previously had no sustained interaction. Stakeholders perceived these exchanges as worthwhile in that they allowed individuals to express viewpoints and share knowledge and expertise, which was seen to have the potential to increase socio-ecological resilience. Our results suggest that social networks can emerge from collaborative science and learning projects and can become formally organized and help foster opportunities to enhance socio-ecological resilience.
Located in Retired Persons / Michael Paolisso, Ph.D. / Michael Paolisso Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Faith-based communities for rural coastal resilience: lessons from collaborative learning on the Chesapeake Bay
Rural coastal areas are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In the USA, much energy is devoted to conserving rural coastal ecosystems by promoting their adaptation to climate change. However, these areas are also home to vulnerable and underserved communities who can be challenging to engage in climate adaptation discussions. Churches—as trusted social institutions—may offer a structure through which government decision-makers and rural residents can engage to improve the resilience of these rural coastal regions. We employed collaborative learning to engage government decision-makers and rural church members on the topic of climate impacts on Maryland’s Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. We analyzed the collaborative learning process and its outcomes using ethnographic methods. In this paper, we present our approach and discuss the benefits and challenges of collaborative learning with rural churches. We found that this approach yielded major benefits including greater understanding of capacities and limitations in addressing environmental challenges, increased trust and social networks, expanded engagement with a greater diversity of stakeholders, increased opportunities for new conversations, new pathways toward interventions, and stakeholder empowerment. Collaborating with churches is not without challenges though; it requires considerable time and effort and presents difficulties in navigating social hierarchies and specialized language, identifying common goals, grappling with the newness of climate change, and overcoming institutional barriers. Despite these challenges, we conclude that collaborative learning with churches is a valuable approach for information exchange and network-building toward more resilient rural coasts.
Located in Retired Persons / Michael Paolisso, Ph.D. / Michael Paolisso Publications