The Department of Geography and Environmental Systems (GES) is delighted to announce that Dr. Stuart Aitken, Professor of Geography and the June Burnett Chair of Children’s and Family Geographies at San Diego State University, will be presenting a talk on Children’s Rights from a Critical Geographic Perspective as part of the GES Seminar Series on March 25th, from 12-1 p.m., in ITE 231. Dr. Aitken directs the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Young People and Space (ISYS) and is internationally recognized for his research on children’s geographies, youth activism, critical theory, and qualitative methodologies. His recent books include The Ethnopoetics of Space and Transformation (2014), The Fight… Continue Reading GES Seminar Series: Children’s Rights From a Critical Geographic Perspective (3/25)
A recent article in Nature outlines the debate surrounding a movement to establish the Anthropocene as a new global epoch. The Anthropocene refers to the part of the world’s history where humans significantly impact earth systems. In the article, Erle Ellis, geography and information systems, argues against the current effort to formalize the Anthropocene as an epoch. He states, “We should set a time, perhaps 1,000 years from now, in which we would officially investigate this. Making a decision before that would be premature.” Click here to read, “Anthropocene: The human age” in Nature.
Christopher Swan, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, was quoted in a recent New York Times article about an urban ecology study that found millions of tiny insects are consuming the equivalent of 60,000 frankfurters a year in Manhattan. The study concluded that street litter and discarded food is a major source of food for rats and other pests. In the article, Swan discussed the need for more urban ecology studies and how the recent study like the one conducted in New York City could serve as an example of how such research could be performed in the future. “We… Continue Reading Christopher Swan, Geography and Environmental Systems, in the New York Times
The Shriver Center’s Governor’s Summer Internship Program (GSIP) and the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems’ Costa Rica Field Course were featured in The Baltimore Sun‘s September special section on education. Collin Wojciechowski ’13, political science and media and communication studies, and Michele Wolff, Director of The Shriver Center, were quoted in an article focusing on a hands-on approach to learning politics and government. Wojciechowski, who is currently special assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff in Governor Martin O’Malley’s office, said part of his experience that led to his job came thanks to GSIP: “It gives you a chance to directly shadow… Continue Reading UMBC Featured in The Baltimore Sun’s Special Section on Education
Erle Ellis, Geography and Environmental Systems, was recently quoted in the Nature article written by Virginia Gewin, Science and politics: Hello, Governor. “Although there is little disagreement that abrupt shifts occur in Earth systems, including climate and the composition of ecosystems, some scientists baulk at the suggestion that there is enough evidence to predict a single tipping point for the whole planet. “I thought it was a great review of the evidence for rapid shifts in ecology, but then it switched to a series of unsupported statements — at best a hypothesis — about how a global tipping point in the… Continue Reading Erle Ellis: Nature
Erle Ellis, geography and information systems, recently discussed how humans are changing the planet with Wisconsin Public Radio and Die Zeit. Ellis explains the idea of the Anthropocene, a term that signifies a new geological epoch where humans significantly impact the earth’s systems. He says, “It’s out of date to see the earth as a natural ecosystem that is disturbed by people. Rather, the earth has become a human system with embedded natural ecosystems.” Click here to listen to “The Future Of Humans’ Transformation Of The Planet” on Wisconsin Public Radio. Read “Planet of the People” on Die Zeit by… Continue Reading Erle Ellis, GES, on WPR and Die Zeit
Earlier this month, the Montgomery County Council tentatively agreed to new limits on construction in Clarksburg’s Ten Mile Creek watershed. The straw vote of 9 to 0 came in the midst of contentious debate over the future of economic development in the county’s northern edge. Matthew Baker, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, was mentioned in the article for previous information he had provided to the council: “[Baker] told the council on Feb. 11 that streams in excellent health, such as Ten Mile, are especially sensitive to even tiny environmental changes. By the same token, portions of the… Continue Reading Matthew Baker, Geography and Environmental Systems, in The Washington Post
Entomologists believe bed bugs have started making a comeback in places like Philadelphia in recent years. A report that aired on WHYY in Philadelphia January 17 examines the city’s battle with bedbugs and how it has evolved. Dawn Biehler, assistant professor of geography and environmental systems, was interviewed for the story and commented on the history of bedbugs in the United States and how they appeared consistently up until the 40s and 50s. “It was almost kind of an accepted condition of urban life that every once in a while, you were going to get bedbugs,” Biehler said. “Some people had… Continue Reading Dawn Biehler, Geography and Environmental Systems, on WHYY Philadelphia
A project to build a $400 million gambling complex that will be home to a casino on Baltimore’s Russell Street is moving forward. Construction wasn’t allowed on the piece of land until last year due to the risk of flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the property was in an area that was particularly prone to flooding, but the city paid a consulting firm to re-evaluate the land and file an appeal. As a result, a new federal map was drawn and construction was allowed to move forward. In an article in The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Geography and Environmental Systems… Continue Reading Andrew Miller, Geography and Environmental Systems, in The Baltimore Sun
In a thought-provoking new op-ed in The New York Times, Erle Ellis argues that when it comes to global sustainability “overpopulation is not the problem.” Ellis, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems at UMBC and visiting associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, writes, “Many scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this… Continue Reading Erle Ellis, GES, in The New York Times
Erle Ellis, associate professor of geography and environmental systems, appeared on a Smithsonian Magazine blog this week. The post “Watch How America’s Lands Changes from Forests to Fields” shares maps that Ellis created to depict how land use in the U.S. has evolved over the past 300 years. Ellis maps anthropogenic biomes—”a matrix of human-altered croplands, pastures, towns and cities…’anthromes’ for short” to help readers visualize humanity’s effect on the landscape. This semester, Fall 2013, Ellis is a visiting associate professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Nohemi Voglozin, a doctoral candidate in Geography and Environmental Systems, is the recipient of Biodiversity International’s 2013 Vavilov-Frankel Fellowship (only two are awarded annually). The award of $20,000 is to support research related to the conservation and use of genetic resources in developing countries. This is Voglozin’s second prestigious fellowship since coming to UMBC in 2007–she won the Norman Borlaug Leadership in Agricultural Program (LEAP) Fellowship in 2008.