Thursday, April 24, 2014

Welcome

Antonio Busalacchi
It is with real pleasure that I welcome you to the Council of the Environment of the University of Maryland. Our University has tremendous breadth and depth in environmental and earth system science and, as a land grant university, is committed to bringing those resources to support the work of local communities and government, and to promote economic development in the State. Our strengths spread across a wide spectrum of academic fields such as anthropology, agriculture, architecture, climate and earth science, ecology, economics, energy, engineering for sustainable infrastructure, public health, public policy, sociology, and transportation. The Council will work to integrate this diversity of effort and to develop new opportunities. The public and private sectors in the State are also deeply engaged in environmental issues, to which they too bring great strengths. The Council will build new partnerships to connect these efforts with the University. As Chair, I am excited at the opportunity that lies before us.

This website is designed to serve as a hub which makes the expertise at the University in the environment easily available to all. Faculty and students will discover the full range of possible research partners, advisers and programs in the environment. Government, federal agencies, corporations and the public will find easy access to the University’s expertise. I would particularly welcome expressions of interest in new partnerships: for these please contact Council staff directly.

In addition to providing this key networking service, the Council will, itself, work proactively with faculty and administrators to develop new cross college trans-disciplinary research opportunities and to build new partnerships with federal and state government agencies and laboratories, corporations and academic institutions. A prime area of focus will be the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that the University sits within, and its attendant pressures such as urban sprawl, agriculture, recreational use, and sea level rise.

Nationally, the Council will help elevate the University's interaction with and support for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP) and its recent strategic plan for 2012-2021 to address critical gaps in the nation's environmental research agenda. This will build on the strong working relationships the University currently has with many of the nearby 13 federal agencies that constitute the GCRP. With the move of NOAA’s National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction to our M-Square Research Park in 2012, the DoE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute at M-Square, and with the Earth Sciences Division of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center just five miles away, arguably we have one of the largest concentration of Earth scientists anywhere in the world.

Internationally, the Council will work with a new 10-year initiative on Future Earth by the International Council for Science, the International Social Science Council, and the Belmont Forum, a high level group of major funders of global environmental change research, together with United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations University and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The goal of the Future Earth initiative is to deliver knowledge to enable societies to meet their sustainable development goals in the next decades. The University of Maryland’s Council on the Environment will help ensure that Maryland is engaged in this international effort.

Council Chair
Antonio Busalacchi