Earth and Environmental Science

A farm-to-table meal at Penn, in photos

Honoring Earth Week, Penn Dining and the Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative teamed up to create a vegetable-forward menu for Quaker Kitchen, sourcing produce from local purveyors to highlight what’s currently growing on the quarter-acre Penn Park Farm.

Michele W. Berger

The Clean Water Act at 50

Approaching the half-century mark of this landmark piece of environmental legislation, Penn students, staff, and faculty share their reflections on its legacy, both strengths and shortcomings.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Talking energy at Penn

Energy Week 2022, hosted by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, runs April 4-8. It includes student presentations, along with conversations about renewables, energy and the war in Ukraine, and much more.

Michele W. Berger , Lindsey Samahon

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In the News

WHYY (Philadelphia)

Got an idea to address the impacts of climate change along the Delaware? You could win money to make it happen

The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities’ Ecotopian Toolkit competition is soliciting proposals for tools to help the greater Philadelphia region address impacts of climate change. “One of the things that the project is really keen to develop is helping Philadelphians, and people really across the whole watershed, understand the ways that the water really connects to them and to their lives,” said Bethany Wiggin.


The New York Times

The hills are alive with the flows of physics

In the lab of Douglas Jerolmack, researchers led by doctoral candidate Nakul Deshpande of the School of Arts & Sciences explored how landscapes gradually move over time.



Why do rivers leap from their banks? Scientists strive to predict deadly flooding events

Douglas Jerolmack of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about his research on avulsion, a phenomenon in which rivers seek new routes. His experiments confirmed that avulsions are both natural and predictable.


The New York Times

Businesses aim to pull greenhouse gases from the air. It’s a gamble

Jennifer Wilcox of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke about companies pledging to eliminate their carbon emissions within decades. “Carbon removal shouldn’t be seen as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” she said. “It has a role to play, particularly for sectors that are very difficult to decarbonize, but it shouldn’t be an excuse for everyone to keep emitting greenhouse gases indefinitely.”


The Hill

Wealthy households have 25 percent higher carbon impacts than lower-income homes

Vincent Reina of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design spoke about how class affects access to sustainable energy alternatives. “For higher income individuals, it's a function of choice," he said. "For lower income individuals, it's a function of constraints.”


The New York Times

Southern Iraq’s toxic twilight

Marilyn Howarth of the Perelman School of Medicine says oil rain, a byproduct of oil production, can be carcinogenic. “The oil itself can contain traces of heavy metals, arsenic, and radioactivity, which could be a source of lung cancer,” she said.