CSTPR Noontime Seminar
From the inside out: The fight for environmental justice within government agencies
This talk will be available via live webcast. To view the live webcast please go to Adobe Connect and login as a guest.
In this talk, I present key findings from my current book project, From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies (forthcoming MIT Press, fall 2019). In this book, I lift the veil on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental regulatory agencies to offer new insights into why they fail to reduce harmful toxics and other hazards in our nation’s most environmentally overburdened and vulnerable communities. The book examines the disappointing pace of environmental regulatory agencies’ “environmental justice” (EJ) programs and policies as a case through which to understand why, despite reducing air and water pollution for the nation overall, government has not protected the communities who suffer the most. Other scholars have shown that budget cuts, industry pressure, weak policy, and other factors outside the control of agency staff constrain the possibilities for EJ reforms to regulatory practice. This book shows that agencies’ EJ efforts are also undermined by elements of regulatory workplace culture. Through extensive interviews with and observations of staff at numerous environmental regulatory agencies across the United States, I show that agencies’ EJ efforts are undermined by ways in which staff define the goals and priorities of the organizations they work for and to which they feel very committed.
Bio: Jill Lindsey Harrison is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research focuses on environmental sociology, sociology of agriculture and food systems, environmental justice, political theories of justice, and immigration politics. She has used her research on political conflict over agricultural pesticide poisonings in California, recent escalations in immigration enforcement in rural Wisconsin, and government agencies’ environmental justice efforts to identify and explain the persistence of environmental inequalities and workplace inequalities in the United States today. She is especially interested in how people are able to make highly inequitable outcomes seem reasonable.
Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar
Blew swayed spruce: what can trees blowing in the wind tell us about how much snow is in the canopy? by Dr. Mark Raleigh, Research Scientist at NSIDC
Abstract: Forest canopies influence the accumulation and persistence of snowpack on the ground, with the net effect depending on climate and forest characteristics. New snowfall intercepted in forest canopies may sublimate or melt, thereby reducing snow accumulation on the ground and altering the timing of water availability. Quantifying snow storage in forests has been an outstanding challenge in observations and model verification, with implications for management of forested watersheds. Recent progress has been demonstrated in quantifying rainfall interception with wind-induced tree sway data. Consistent with mechanical theory, the sway frequency of a tree drops as water mass is added to the canopy. However, the relevance of this approach to snowfall interception has received less attention.
In this CPP talk, I will highlight my ongoing experimental work using tree sway data to quantify snowfall interception in coniferous forests. Tree sway can be quantified using low-cost accelerometers. From these acceleration data, tree sway time series are derived from a windowed frequency analysis using Lomb-Scargle periodograms. I will first demonstrate the concept at the Niwot Ridge subalpine forest where I have been monitoring tree sway and snow interception since 2014. I will then compare results from Niwot to other locations in Colorado, including trees that I instrumented as part of the 2016-2017 NASA SnowEx campaign. Finally, I will discuss ideas and pathways for scaling up the methodology to quantify canopy snow storage at the forest stand scale.
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