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Sep
26

Global Environment Speaker Series: When the Islands Sink, The Story of Climate Change and Micronesia

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Carole Weinstein International Center, International Center Commons
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The Global Environment Speaker Series welcomes Reed Perkins, the Sam & Carolyn McMahon Professor of Environmental Science at Queens University of Charlotte.

In the western tropical Pacific, sea levels are rising at a rate 3-4 times the global average. Saltwater is intruding into near-shore freshwater supplies and agricultural areas. Long-term sustainability is being challenged. The real question is what happens next. Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia (9.5N, 138E), a cluster of four high islands and 14 coral atolls, demonstrates not only the range in island vulnerability to climate change, but also the kind of cultural resilience required for successful adaptation. This talk presents data from an ongoing collaboration on Yap to integrate modern geospatial science with traditional agricultural knowledge to develop a new approach to food security. GIS, GPS, and Remote Sensing are used to document the spatial variability of saltwater intrusion, and to determine new upland locations for food production. Yapese have lived on the islands for well over 2,500 years, and they don’t intend to leave.

Dr. Reed Perkins is the Carolyn G. and Sam H. McMahon Professor of Environmental Science, and is Chair of the Environmental Science and Chemistry Department at Queens University of Charlotte. He received his B. A. in Philosophy and M. S. in Resource Policy from The University of Michigan, and a Ph. D. in Forest Hydrology from Oregon State University. Since 2001, he and his students have worked with scientists and government personnel of Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia to build a geospatial science capacity and monitoring strategy for the islands’ ecosystems. In 2007, he was named North Carolina Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 

This event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Nancy Propst