Earth and Environmental Science

Penn Vet dual degrees: The student experience

The expansion of the dual degree program is timely, given the recent perfect storm of a pandemic; growing awareness of social, racial and economic inequity; and increased impact of climate change .

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Science

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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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Science

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.

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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.

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