Dr. Sideris’s research focuses broadly on the ethical significance of natural processes, and the way in which “environmental” values are captured, or obscured, by narratives and perspectives from religion and the sciences. Her recent research examines the role of wonder in contemporary scientific discourse and its impact on how humans conceive of and relate to nature. She is especially interested in the mythic, religious, and ethical dimensions of the so-called Anthropocene and its attendant technologies, such as geoengineering and de-extinction. The overarching question that drives her research is how to articulate a vision of the human that is appropriate to the environmental challenges we collectively face. She is actively involved in a number of international research initiatives in the environmental humanities, and serves as President-Elect of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. She is author of Environmental Ethics, Ecological Theology, and Natural Selection, and Consecrating Science: Wonder, Knowledge, and the Natural World, and co-editor of a collection of interdisciplinary essays on the life and work of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson, titled Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge.
Two of the faculty co-directors, Carmen Agouridis and Mary Arthur, share some of their thoughts about the exciting new opportunity that Greenhouse can provide for students living on campus.
UK’s Greenhouse is designed for students interested in learning different aspects of their local environment, all in the context of sustainability. Greenhouse students will extend their classroom learning through community engagement with organizations and like-minded students committed to developing a sustainable Lexington.
Jamie Kreiner is Professor in the History Department at the University of Georgia. Her most recent book is Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West, which won the George Perkins Marsh Prize, American Society for Environmental History, 2021, for the best book in environmental history. She has also won the William Koren, Jr. Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies and the Wayne D. Rasmussen Award from the Agricultural History Society. She is one of the co-authors of the article “The Environmental History of the Late Antique West: A Bibliographic Essay” (2018). Among the undergraduate seminars she has taught are “The Animal and the Human in the Middle Ages”, “Economy and Society before Capitalism”, and “The Medieval Mind: Cognition, Media Culture, Ethics”. She is a member of “Dirty History”, an interdisciplinary workshop in agriculture, environment, and capitalism.
Please register for this event! It's free! You can register at https://uky.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bR33A2dnRD6B4Yf4D9Zb6Q
This is the first lecture in the mini-series sponsored by World Religions on "Religion and the Environment".
Julia Watts Belser is an associate professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program, as well as a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center. She is the author of Rabbinic Tales of Destruction: Gender, Sex, and Disability in the Ruins of Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, 2018). She has held faculty fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She currently directs an initiative on disability and climate change, which brings together disability activists, artists, policy makers, and academics to address how disability communities are disproportionately affected by environmental risk and climate disruption.
Travis J. Schuyler and Marcelo I. Guzman Contribute the First Stratospheric Measurements with an Innovative Drone Glider.
Photo by Travis J. Schuyler: Sensor System to be mounted into the HiDRON.
During some recent fieldwork doing forest biogeomorphology with colleagues in the Czech Republic, the idea of biogeomorphic equivalents came up. A biogeomorphic ecosystem engineer organism has a biogeomorphic equivalent if another species can potentially do the same biogeomorphic job. For example, bacteria that consume iron are important agents of weathering. There exist numerous species of iron-eating microbes, so if one is eliminated for whatever reason, another takes its place. Thus these Fe-processing bacteria have biogeomorphic equivalents.
Acidophilous iron-oxidizing bacteria (USGS photo).
On the other hand, there exists no biogeomorphic equivalent for the stream-damming effects of beavers. The disappearance of Castor canadensis from a landscape means the loss of their biogeomorphic effects, as no other organism (save humans, of course), dams up streams.
Wyoming beaver dam (photo: Wildlife Conservation Society).
Some have argued that in geomorphology and physical geography the term "tipping point" does not describe any concepts or phenomena not long recognized by the fields. The tipping point concept does not (it is argued) have any conceptual or analytical value added. I agree. Here is a previous post on tipping point metaphors.
Blanco River, Texas.
Notwithstanding that, tipping point terminology is au courantin both public discourse and science, particularly as it relates to global and broad scale environmental change. Thus--perhaps analogously to buzzwords such as "sustainability" and "resilience"-- if you want to be a part of broader scientific conversations, it pays to employ the trendy term.
As sea level rises--and it is rising!--it is causing geomorphological, hydrological, and ecological changes in coastal environments. Though "bathtub" models, which show where the shoreline would be with sea level increased by a certain amount, are useful in showing areas of potential impact, that's not how actual responses to sea level work. Not only does the ocean level change, but also the base level for rivers and terrestrial processes, salinity, ecological habitats, hydroperiods, and any number of other factors.
Sand and mud flats along the eroding Neuse River estuary shoreline, NC.
Years ago, in my days at East Carolina University, M.A. student Don Belk (now a planner with the N.C. Department of Commerce) and I worked on issues related to hydrological restoration of artificially drained wetlands in eastern North Carolina. Basically, we found that something closely approaching the pre-drainage hydrology could be achieved in most cases by simply not maintaining the drainage ditches and canals (see this, that, and the other). In this flat, wet topography and humid subtropical climate the anthropic channels quickly accumulate sediment, organic debris, and living vegetation, losing their conveyance capacity and essentially becoming linear detention ponds in a few years. Thus, except for some local water table drawdown during dry spells in the vicinity of the ditches and canals, and whatever peat may have oxidized when the artificial drainage was working, the hydrology can be passively restored. If you don't believe me, ask someone who farms artificially-drained land in the N.C. coastal plain--they'll tell you they have to clean out the ditches every two to five years.