|Ecohydrologist Lily Hwang talks with a visitor at Disasters
and Environment: Science, Preparedness, and Resilience
Last week Lily and I attended the National Council for Science and the Environment’s 13th National Conference: Disasters and Environment: Science, Preparedness, and Resilience in Washington, D.C.
At most conferences we interact with geoscience educators, but this conference was concerned foremost with making science relevant to environmental policy, so we rubbed elbows with lawyers, public health experts, and representatives of governmental agencies such as the EPA.
This was an exciting environment for us because this new audience evoked further potential in our Emriver models. For example, some envisioned the models’ capacity to show the processes of deforestation and waterborne disease; others reaffirmed the models’ value in education and outreach. A Peace Corps volunteer pointed out that leaders of smaller countries, who have little understanding of how their local actions affect the broader water system of their region, would learn from the models. These suggestions showed me the connection between geoscience and policy, and that Emriver models can influence decision-makers in the US and around the world.
After the conference, I was fortunate enough to join thousands in welcoming President Obama back to office at his inauguration. I could not help but be swept up by the spirit of hope and admiration of the crowd. And, of course, I felt this energy all the more when, in his inaugural address, Obama called for better environmental policy and fuel alternatives, and spent more time speaking of this than any other issue.
For now, my faith has been restored in this Administration’s ability to challenge the threat of climate change, and I hope his Administration’s actions match Obama’s aggressive speech.
No matter how things go in Washington, Little River Research & Design will continue to counter environmental degradation through its services in river science, conservation, and education, and I’m glad to be a part of that!