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Bridging scholarship and policy: Voinovich School professor contributes to new environmental magazine

Madison Koenig March 29, 2013

“Bringing together the worlds of scholarship and policy is a difficult but essential task. The launch of Ensia represents a vital new means for facilitating those important two-way conversations between research and practice. I am thrilled to be part of it,” says Professor Geoff Dabelko, director of the Environmental Studies program at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Dabelko will be sharing environmental insights in Ensia, the award-winning environmental magazine of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

The magazine, formerly titled Momentum, is published online and in print with accompanying high profile live events at the university.  It focuses on innovative approaches to regional and global environmental challenges.

Dabelko published “People and Planet” in the Winter 2012 issue of Momentum as a part of the “Scientist’s Soapbox” column. In this article, Dabelko, who also serves as senior advisor to the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, urged scientists and humanitarians to consider the intersecting needs of the environment and the people living in it.

“Conservation efforts will merely slow habitat loss if they don’t fundamentally address the living conditions of the human residents as well as the flora and fauna. But programs to assist these communities have commonly focused on one problem at a time, reflecting the interests of the funders: environmental groups focus on conservation, while health organizations concentrate on disease. We must ask whether investments to protect biologically rich areas are effective and sustainable if they don’t respond to the many needs of the people who live there.”

Dabelko called for using integrated and cross-disciplinary approaches to the interconnected issues of HELP: Health, Environment, Livelihoods, and Population.

Dabelko will highlight in future contributions the results of applied research he and his colleagues are doing at Ohio University’s Voinovich School and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. The topics promise to be diverse: “I look forward to highlighting the dynamic watershed restoration work of colleagues here in southeastern Ohio for example while also featuring lessons learned on the overseas conflict potential of responding to climate change.”