Sustainability News: December 2015

Research: NutriPhone, Stray Dog ID, Tracking Soil Elements

Profile: Gemara Gifford: Biodiversity in Guatemala's Highlands

Collaborations: New Partnership: Environmental Defense Fund

Funding: Two Calls for Faculty Funding

Connecting Cornell: Film Award, TCAM Poster Winners

Gifts: Support for Topical Lunches

Newsmakers: Johannes Lehmann, Victoria Beard, David Wolfe

Climate Talks: Cornell at COP21

What We're Reading: Green Giants, by E. Freya Williams

Multimedia: Cornell at COP21, Fragile Legacy, and more

Future Responsibility

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It is refreshing to hear a U.S. leader talk about responsibility, as President Obama did in Paris this week at the world gathering on climate change. As academics, we have a responsibility not just to come up with new ideas, but to be part of implementing them. That’s why the Atkinson Center is working with organizations at the forefront of policy and program action. From our longstanding relationship with CARE and our new partnership with Environmental Defense Fund, we believe the best way to effect sustainable, lasting change is to connect to organizations with shared goals but complementary skills and capabilities.

Our postdoctoral program is another example of working with outside organizations. We are delighted to announce that the cohort of Atkinson postdocs for 2016 includes four scholars working at the cutting-edge of sustainability issues—from sustainable agriculture and soil fertility to nuclear law—with collaborators including REsurety, a wind power hedge fund, and Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the government agency that regulates sources of air pollution around San Francisco.


Frank DiSalvo
Atkinson Center Director

Frank DiSalvo


Need a blood test? There’s an app for that!
A new smartphone device brings the power of a blood testing lab to the palm of your hand. Developed by David Erickson and Saurabh Mehta, the NutriPhone delivers a low-cost solution to less developed areas, letting users track their own nutrition, blood, and stress levels.

Stray Dog ID
An inexpensive, sturdy ear tag will take a bite out of rabies and other preventable infections spread by street dogs—a global problem that threatens animal and human health. A new way of visibly tagging stray dogs will vastly improve the efficacy of contraceptive and vaccine programs for free-roaming canines.

New Method Tracks How Elements Cycle
Now geoscientists can track elements such as carbon and nitrogen across land, air, and water with new complexity and detail, thanks to a novel technique developed by Johannes Lehmann and Thea Whitman, PhD ’14.


Girl with dog on the street


Gemara Gifford: Biodiversity in Guatemala's Cloud Forests
Tropical rainforests are home to abundant biodiversity, but the people who live there are often malnourished and poor. Backed by ACSF’s Sustainable Biodiversity Fund, graduate student Gemara Gifford led an expedition to the highlands of Guatemala to identify agricultural practices that conserve bird habitats while improving human nutrition. Learn more at her December 4 seminar at Mann Library.

Gemara Gifford with Guatemalan Children


Environmental Defense Fund
A new EDF-ACSF partnership aims to accelerate problem-solving research and catalyze the integration of new research into effective policy, addressing urgent environmental and public health challenges.

Fisherman in Myanmar


Two Calls for Faculty Funding
In partnership with Environmental Defense Fund, ACSF issues the first broad call for joint Cornell-EDF projects. Proposals for EDF Impact through Innovation Fund awards are due Friday, January 15.

Are you a Cornell faculty member in the social sciences, humanities, or arts at work on a sustainability topic? Apply by Friday, January 8, for a semester-long faculty-in-residence fellowship.

Google Car

Connecting Cornell

Film Award Goes to ACSF-Backed Film
Actor/conservationist Ted Danson tells the story of Cornell’s inspiring Blaschka glass sea creature collection in Fragile Legacy. The 30-minute film took the top prize in the short films category at the Blue Ocean Film Festival on November 9.

TCAM Sustainability Poster Winners
Faculty posters on conserving monarch butterflies, generating energy from recovered dairy waste, and a farmer-led curriculum to help farmers adapt to climate change took top honors at the Atkinson Center’s 2015 Trustee Council pitch and poster contest, held on October 22.

Blascka Glass Model


Five Years of Topical Lunches
ACSF’s popular topical lunch program now has a sponsor. The Everett-Carpenter extended family—Bob and Mary Everett ’65, Liz Everett ’97, and Charlie ’59 and Sue Carpenter—joined forces in a $100,000 gift to fund the program for at least the next five years.

ACSF Topical Lunch


Saving our Soil
On the cover of the current issue of Nature, special feature editor Johannes Lehmann, Chris Barrett, and other leading researchers urge better understanding of the makeup and management of soil as key to healthy life.

Sustainability and Social Justice for Cities
“Threading the needle” between responsible urban development and social justice for cities’ most vulnerable citizens should be the goal of the next World Resources Report on sustainable cities, Victoria Beard writes.

Business Leaders Take Climate Action, Congress Lags
Politicians need to follow the example of many business leaders— particularly farmers—who are taking action in response to climate change, says soil ecologist David Wolfe. Wolfe’s op-ed in The Hill is part of a series supported by the Atkinson Center.

December 2015 Cover of Nature

Dry cracked earth by farmer's field

Cornell at COP21

Follow Cornellians in Paris for Climate Summit
Cornell researchers in Paris for the historic summit on global climate change provide perspectives on methane and GHG emissions, soil health, climate-resilient farming, and the human dimensions of climate change. Watch our COP21 page for updates throughout the talks.

Allison Chatrchyan at Cornell's COP21 Exhibit

What We're Reading

Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses (AMACOM, 2015), by E. Freya Williams
Atkinson Center executive in residence Dave Dieterich says: "Green Giants outlines factors that have enabled nine corporations to become best-in-class for sustainability and highly profitable—simultaneously. These 'green giants' include U.S. companies Chipotle, GE, Nike, Tesla, and Whole Foods, along with IKEA (Sweden), Natura (Brazil), Toyota (Japan), and Unilever (UK). Leadership at the C-suite is a common factor enabling their success. For ACSF, these corporations are attractive potential collaborators, as we share common values and an inspiring vision of what might be."

Green Giants book cover


COP21 Logo
Cornell Delegates Speak about COP21
Glass Model
Fragile Legacy Film Trailer
Poster Pitch Title Slide
2015 TCAM Sustainability Pitches

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