Category: News

Professor Cutler Cleveland appointed to Implementation Advisory Committee

October 19th, 2017 in 2017, Cutler Cleveland, Faculty, News, Oct-17

Professor Cutler Cleveland has been appointed to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Implementation Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).  The IAC is composed of representatives from various sectors in the Commonwealth to advise the Executive Office Energy and Environmental Affairs on implementation of the GWSA. The IAC members volunteer their time and expertise to participate in discussions, review draft documents, and provide recommendations to the Secretary for the Administration’s consideration.

Lecturer Rick Reibstein publishes on ethical chemistry

October 16th, 2017 in 2017, Faculty, News, Oct-17, Pub-17, Publications, Rick Reibstein

Lecturer Rick Reibstein‘s article, “A More Ethical Chemistry,” appears in the journal Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry. “Because of the success of greener and safer alternatives the industry now has a new responsibility,” Reibstein urges, “to investigate whether better alternatives are feasible, and continuously evolve to impose less risk.”

Professor Suchi Gopal awarded CTL Blended Learning Grant

October 10th, 2017 in 2017, Awards, Faculty, News, Suchi Gopal

Professor Suchi Gopal has just been awarded a Blended Learning Grant from BU’s Center for Teaching & Learning. She received the fellowship grant for GE 365, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Professor Gopal is now a member of the Faculty Steering Committee of the new Global Development Policy Center, which is affiliated with the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. The center is headed by Kevin Gallagher, Professor of Global Development Policy at the Pardee School.




New film by Rick Reibstein selected for APHA Global Public Health festival

September 25th, 2017 in 2017, Events, Faculty, News, Presentations, Rick Reibstein, Sept-17

“A Public Conversation on Lead,” a new film by lecturer Rick Reibstein and Rebecca Reibstein, will be featured at the 2017 APHA Global Public Health Film Festival during the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta in November.

As the disgust and dismay about the events in Flint, Michigan, lingers, lead itself lingers. Are we responding as we should? We asked experts who have worked on lead for years to start a public conversation. Democracy is a tool that can be used to solve our problems. Lead poisoning is a serious shared problem we cannot turn from. We need to talk about what to do so we can do it. We asked people who have worked on the problems for many years to tell us what they think we should consider. The results are powerful, moving, fascinating, important, and most of all, instructive.

For more information, visit the Coalition for a Public Conversation on Lead.

Assistant professor Rachael Garrett publishes in Ecology and Society

September 21st, 2017 in 2017, Faculty, News, Pub-17, Publications, Rachael Garrett, Sept-17

Assistant professor Rachael Garrett and her colleagues have published “Explaining the Persistence of Low Income and Environmentally Degrading Land Uses in the Brazilian Amazon” in Ecology and Society.

This research examines why so many farmers in the Brazilian Amazon remain engaged in low income and environmentally degrading agricultural activities. Using statistical models of farmer behavior we find that farmers do not adopt higher income land uses, such as fruit production or staple food crops, like rice and beans, in place of lower income livestock and commodity crop production due to a lack of access to markets and critical infrastructure, including roads, refrigerated transport, and supply chains linked to external markets. Farmers’ also prioritize safety and life quality over making money. The work underscores the need to develop policies and programs that identify and discriminate households based on a broader set of household assets, cultural attributes, and aspirations than are traditionally applied.


Professor Sergio Fagherazzi receives 2017 JJ Mehta Award

September 20th, 2017 in 2017, Awards, Faculty, News, Sept-17, Sergio Fagherazzi, Trips

Congratulations to Professor Sergio Fagherazzi, who will receive the 2017 JJ Mehta Award for outstanding contributions to the study of cohesive sediment dynamics. Professor Fagherazzi will be honored at the upcoming INTERCOH meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay.

INTERCOH offers an international platform where young, experienced and world leading scientists and engineers can meet and discuss the latest progress in the area of cohesive sediment properties, dynamics and modeling.

Department logo contest!

September 8th, 2017 in 2017, News, Sept-17

The Department of Earth & Environment is sponsoring a contest for a Department logo that will be used on t-shirts and stickers that will be available for purchase by members of the Department.

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to submit designs. Multiple submissions are welcome. Designs will be evaluated by a committee of faculty, staff, and students who have not made a submission.

The creator of the selected design will receive a $100 gift card to and a free t-shirt after they are printed!

Submissions should:

  • Reflect the wide range of expertise in the department
  • Be appropriate for a t-shirt, sweatshirt or 6”x4“ oval shaped sticker
  • Use no more than 4 colors
  • Look good in both color and monochrome
  • NOT include BU trademarked logos or any other trademarked designs
  • Be the original work of the person or persons making the submission.

Send your logo designs to by October 9.

Professor Suchi Gopal to host webinar on big data and sustainability

September 5th, 2017 in Department Seminars, Events, Faculty, News, Presentations, Sept-17, Suchi Gopal, Talks

Making a Big Impact in Sustainability Science with Big Data

Thursday, September 21, 2017 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM EDT

Issues in sustainability science are increasingly being addressed using “big data” and data analytics. Data rich modeling techniques can assist in improving systems thinking to integrate business operations, people, ecosystems and climate.

Join  in a free webinar demonstrating the application of computational modelling of natural and social processes to identify patterns, trends, and associations that can inform sustainability decision making.

Register for the Webinar

The presentations will be appropriate for a non-technical audience and include five case studies:

  • Behavioral Correlations: Are hybrid or electric car drivers more likely to solarize their roofs? This project explores behavior and attitudinal data of some consumers in Massachusetts.
  • Analyzing Flood Risk: Flood insurance is increasingly important for residential and commercial property owners. Flood risk is still mapped using USGS 100 year flood maps. These maps have to be completely updated and revised using new satellite data that can be analyzed to provide better risk probability profiles based on International panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models. This example reports on work for a commercial insurance company.
  • Forensic Environmental Investigations Using Neural Networks: Urban sustainability includes protecting urban trees and forests. Panelists applied unsupervised neural networks to examine the impact of natural gas leaks caused by aging infrastructure that resulted in tree mortality in Boston
  • Predicting Malaria Hot Spots: Increasing temperatures in the highland regions of East Shoa in Ethiopia have led to increased incidence of malaria. Spatial statistical analysis, shown in this example, predicted the clusters or hot spots of malaria.
  • Municipal Resilience Snapshots: Designing and implementing sustainability metrics for a neighborhood or town can provide a quick snapshot of its current or future social and natural resiliency, as illustrated in this example.

Diane Thompson receives NSF funding to investigate the link between tropical Pacific trade winds and global temperatures

August 10th, 2017 in 2017, Aug-17, Diane Thompson, Faculty, Grants, News

Assistant professor Diane Thompson has been awarded a $342,652 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the recent history of tropical Pacific trade wind strength recorded in the skeleton of corals from equatorial atolls. These natural archives of tropical Pacific wind strength have the potential to dramatically improve our understanding of the impact of winds on the rate of global climate change.

This project will also contribute to broadening participation and diversity in science by supporting two early career female scientists (Thompson and co-PI Jessica Carilli), a postdoctoral researcher (H. Sayani) and two undergraduates, who will together develop programs to promote race, gender, and LGBTQ diversity, equity, and inclusion at Boston University.

Click to read more: “NSF Award 1702130: Reconstructing Pacific Trade Wind Variability – Extending and Replicating a Promising New Coral Proxy.”

Rachael Garrett receives nearly a half-million to study deforestation and supply chains

August 9th, 2017 in 2017, Aug-17, Faculty, Grants, News, Rachael Garrett

Assistant professor Rachael Garrett has been awarded $400,000 from the National Science Foundation to study connections between deforestation and global supply chains.

“This project will provide new knowledge on the complex global telecouplings and public-private governance interactions of how zero-deforestation commitments influence land cover change,” Garrett and her colleagues propose. “The research will enhance our fundamental understanding about the conditions under which zero-deforestation commitments lead to ecosystem conservation.”

Click to read more about “Assessing the Influence of Zero-Deforestation Supply-Chain Commitments on the Conservation of Ecosystems.”