Dean's Update: Durham Outreach, Ecosystem Policy, Shareholder Advocacy, Halloween Hijinks and more ....

November 1, 2018
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Hello everyone,

As many of you are aware, the mid-term elections will occur next Tuesday, Nov. 6. I think it is important to note that there will be strong feelings on all sides when the results are known. There will be winners and there will be losers. Some of us will be elated, others will be disappointed. This is the way democracy works.

While we cannot control the dialogue, discourse and exchange that takes place in the greater world outside of the Nicholas School, we have much greater control of what happens within our walls. Let’s create the community of which we all want to be part—tolerant, generous and civil. We can be passionate about our beliefs, but in the end we must all find a way to be a community together.
In the words of Winston Churchill: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." Our democracy is flawed, but it is ours.
In the meantime, check out below all the amazing work that our faculty, students and staff have been up to. And if you are looking to be part of the greater Durham community, think about this opportunity: The Nicholas School faculty and staff have adopted a Meals on Wheels route in Durham. NSOE volunteers have been delivering meals to 13-15 clients in south Durham every Friday for almost a year. This service helps provide food, but also a personal touch, to our aging or immobile neighbors. Interested in helping deliver meals? Get in touch with Sarah Phillips.

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Curt Richardson has been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to work on a new scholarly examination of war’s impacts on the environment. He will collaborate on the project with 13 other newly named Fellows in a month-long residency, beginning Nov. 5, at the foundation’s Bellagio Center on Lake Como, Italy. Curt is the first environmental scientist from Duke to be awarded the fellowship. Read more>

On Oct. 11, Liz Shapiro-Garza presented at Mexico’s Expo Forestal on the policy implications of her research on the country’s national-level payments for ecosystem services conducted alongside PhD graduates Luz Rodríguez, David Kaczan and Ruxandra Popovici as well as Sanford School’s Alex Pfaff. She also presented at the Climate Collider on Oct. 23 about research to bring small coffee producers into the decisions about climate change adaptation. Lastly, on Oct. 24, she joined Jeff Vincent and Joe Bachman in a meeting with Ralia Odinga, former prime minister of Kenya, to discuss the ways in which Duke faculty can be involved in supporting policy and other options for promoting reforestation throughout Africa. 

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Erika Weinthal co-authored a new article on the role of shareholder advocacy and its impacts on energy governance. The paper, which focuses on the U.S. antifracking movement, finds that although shareholder resolutions provide space for a range of new actors to shape corporate governance, their power is constrained. The article is part of a special issue on energy politics and international political economy in the journal Review of International Political Economy.


Postdoc research associate Yu Zhang and Wenhong Li published a new modeling study shining new light on how the regional-scale connection between terrestrial, coastal wetland and the ocean together control coastal wetland hydrology. This study developed a new 3D model considering surface and subsurface hydrological interaction as well as coastal processes—such as tide, sea level rise and saltwater. This study provides insights for future study on wetland hydrologic connectivity, wetland resilience and wetland management. 

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@Dukenvironment - Happy Halloween! #WeAreDukeEnvironment
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@Dukemarinelab - CEM Halloween at DUML. Costumes include: sushi, nurse shark, shark week, mermaid, global warming, Dolores from Westworld and law-suit (looking at you, Grant Murray) #WeAreDukeEnvironment
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