Earth and Environmental Science

Engaging with the climate crisis, online

Across a quartet of digital platforms, including one for this week’s Climate Sensing and Data Storytelling convening, the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities is encouraging public engagement and the pairing of environmental art and science on climate issues.

Katherine Unger Baillie

The many lives of charcoal

Catherine Nabukalu, an alumna of the Master in Environmental Studies program, worked with School of Arts and Sciences Professor Reto Gieré to track the charcoal supply chain through research in Nabukalu’s native Uganda.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Media Contact

In the News


No asteroids needed: ancient mass extinction tied to ozone loss, warming climate

Lauren Sallan of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the end of the Devonian period 359 million years ago, in which the ozone layer was damaged, resulting in a mass extinction. The discovery is significant to today’s climate change research.


WHYY (Philadelphia)

When it comes to coronavirus, air pollution may put marginalized communities in danger

Anil Vachani of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the combined effects of air pollution and coronavirus on marginalized communities. “We’re certainly recognizing that exposure to chronic air pollution results in a number of adverse health outcomes which are increasingly recognized. It may even contribute to a whole host of other illnesses that we’re now understanding the links to, to poor air quality and air pollution,” he said.


The Hill

R&D, not Greenland, can solve our rare earth problem

Research into rare earth metals by Eric Schelter, Patrick Carroll, Ph.D. student Justin Bogart, and alumnus Connor Lippincott of the School of Arts and Sciences was cited.


Atlas Obscura

The secret lives of sand dunes

Douglas Jerolmack of the School of Arts and Sciences spoke about sediment transport and sand dunes, which move in response to temperature and time and can travel several feet each year.


Smithsonian Magazine

If Thanos actually wiped out half of all life, how would Earth fare in the aftermath?

Lauren Sallan of the School of Arts and Sciences discussed the hypothetical results of a mass-extinction event, like the one depicted in “The Avengers” movie franchise. “I think humans would figure out a way to [survive], provided that not all of the ecosystems collapse,” said Sallan.


Boston Globe

Boxes, pouches, cartons, and envelopes — oh my!

Eric Orts of the Wharton School spoke about the environmental impact of packaging waste. “Lots of it will still go into a landfill, for no really good reason,” said Orts. “If you look at something like the distribution system of Amazon, it doesn’t seem that hard to shift this.”