Year: 2019

Could the Anthropocene Be an “Urbanocene”?

Michel Lussault, University of Lyon

Monday 22 April 4-530pm, 315A Wurster Hall

 

A 2004 publication of the IGBP (Global Change and the Earth System) postulated that the Anthropocene really began with what was called “the great acceleration” of the 1950s, based on a clear break in the evolution of societies and the economy, and in the functioning of the earth system.  Lussault argues that this break was linked to the start of massive urbanization of the planet. The Anthropocene would thus be an “urbanocene”, that is to say, a spectacular evolution of the earth system, with urbanization as a primary driver.  The seminar is sponsored by the UC Berkeley Global Metropolitan Studies Program and co-sponsored by the Institute of International Studies interdisciplinary faculty seminar Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation.

 

Michel Lussault is a  geographer and professor of urban global studies at the University of Lyon, (Ecole Normale Supérieure), France. A well-known specialist in urban studies and theoretical geography, he has published many books and scientific papers, and given lectures in universities throughout France and elsewhere. Since 2005 his research has centered on global urbanization as a new “milieu” for people, issues of urban vulnerability, “spatial care” as a framework for understanding global change adaptation, and the urban anthropocene.  He received an 8-year grant from the French National Program “Investments For Future” to create a new intensive and elite scientific and graduation program, Lyon School of Urban Anthropocene Studies (https://ecoleurbainedelyon.universite-lyon.fr).

SF EPA hiring scientists and engineers

San Francisco Environmental Protection Agency is hiring an Environmental Engineer/Physical Scientist, an Environmental Protection Specialist, and a Life Scientist/Environmental Engineer/Physical Scientist. See details in job postings here.

Summer Internship Flood Control & Integrated Planning

Alameda County Flood Control Zone 7 is seeking applications for 2 summer internship positions to work on topics in Flood Control and Integrated Planning. Note that the job title is “Engineer Intern” but you don’t actually need an engineering degree, nor be an engineering student in order to qualify as long as there is relevant coursework (such as LA122). They have had good experience with environmental science majors in the past.  See the job annct here.

Conflicting Greens around Korean Rivers and Tidal Flats: Implications for Systematic Water and Coastal Management

Yekang Ko, University of Oregon

Monday 11 February 2019, 2-330 pm, Rm 315A Wurster Hall

 

Boosting the green economy is a goal for many nations in the era of climate change, and a number of green policies have been bursting around the world in the last decade. The efforts of South Korea include the world’s largest tidal power generation along the west coast, a new green city incorporating sustainable urban design principles, and a nationwide river restoration program. These green initiatives have been widely touted by international organizations and the media as “Green New Deals” or have received a major urban design award. In spite of this recognition, these efforts have been highly controversial and severely criticized by many scholars, environmental groups, and the public because of their substantial ecological impacts, particularly on endangered wildlife habitats and internationally recognized wetlands that host tens of thousands of migratory birds.

 

Ko critically reviews three cases of green initiatives in South Korea: tidal power plants plans, Songdo International City, and the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project that have been pursued since 2008, focusing on lessons learned from the past decade, on-going issues, and new policy directions in water and coastal management. Given the urgency of climate change, the conflicts among different “green” approaches are expected to increasingly occur around the world. Ko points out the implications for wise decision-making and planning in comparable cases.

 

Yekang Ko is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon where she teaches urban sustainability, energy landscapes, and landscape planning analysis. She obtained her Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley in 2012. Her research focuses on urban energy planning, green infrastructure assessment, and physical planning and design for climate change mitigation and adaptation, with a geographic focus on the Asia-Pacific region. She is the BLA program director and the Director of the Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).

 

This seminar is part of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar series, Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation, presented under the auspices of the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies.  As both the developed and developing world confront intensifying demands on rivers and other water resources, impacts are evident from extractions of water for human uses, proliferation of dams, mining sediments from river beds, and intensified land-use impacts, all exacerbated by climate change. Accelerated erosion of coasts and deltas (e.g., from sediment starvation, groundwater pumping, accelerated sea-level rise) are among the manifestations of these impacts. Our seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach these challenges by examining how societies have adapted to variability in the past (uncertainty in water supply, flood risk, etc) and considers the tools we have to manage future variability in river flows and sediment loads, including variability in water supplies, increased flood risk, and the existential threat to many coastal and riverine areas.

Dams, Sediment Discontinuity, and Management Responses in Mediterranean River Basins: Report from Conference at ENS Lyon, October 2018

River basin management has mostly concerned management of water resources, with relatively little attention paid to the sediment continuity essential to maintain downstream channel functions and coastal features.  The sediment loads of most major rivers have decreased in recent decades – as a result of extensive trapping of sediment by dams, increasingly manifest in accelerated coastal erosion and loss of delta lands.

This conference examined three large rivers in southern Europe: the Rhône, Ebro, and Po.  All have headwaters in high mountain ranges and traverse Mediterranean-climate dominated basins.  All three have experienced afforestation of their mountainous headwaters since the 19th century, which has reduced erosion rates and sediment supply to the river system.  All three have been extensively modified and impounded for irrigation water supply, hydroelectric production, flood control, and navigation, mined for production of construction aggregate, and otherwise altered for human uses, and all three evince erosion and subsidence of sediment-deprived deltas.

For each river, speakers reported on sediment discontinuity and sediment management from both geomorphic and environmental history perspectives (see programme below). One intervention, a social science perspective on sediment in the Rhône, was in the form of a half-hour video, which is available as indicated below.  In discussion, speakers and participants from the audience drew comparisons among the three river basins, noting similarities and differences.  There was broad agreement among participants that the topic as framed by the conference merits further exploration.

The conference was hosted by the Collegium – Lyon Institute of Advanced Studies and the CNRS Laboratory UMR 5600 Environnement Ville Société, and co-sponsored by the Agence Francaise de la Biodiversité, Eléctricité de France, and Companie Nationale du Rhône, in collaboration GRAIE and the Agence de l’Eau Rhône-Méditerranée-Corse.  The conference was coordinated with a broader research effort initiated by Professor G Mathias Kondolf (UC Berkeley) and Asst Professor Giacomo Parrinello (Sciences Po), The Social Life of the Sediment Balance: A Social and Geomorphic Approach to the Transformation of River Systems and Deltas, supported by the France-Berkeley Fund and a UC Berkeley Social Science Matrix-Sciences Po collaboration grant.  A follow-up workshop looking at the issues of sediment management at a river basin scale more broadly is planned for May 2019.

 

 

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Flood management for a trans-boundary river from North to South Korea

Jaeeung Yi, Ajou University, Korea

Friday 25 January 2019, 11-12h30, Moses Hall 223

The Imjin River flows from North to South Korea, with 63 percent of its basin in the North. North Korea constructed several reservoirs in the upper Imjin River and released high flows downstream several times without warning South Korea, causing massive damage four times since 1996. The ongoing political tensions between South and North Korea makes it difficult to control floods in the Imjin River altogether. South Korea built the Gunnam flood control reservoir on the lower Imjin River (2013) and the Hantan River flood control dam on a tributary (2016), but these have been insufficient to control floods in the lower Imjin River. Improved measurement and modeling of flows into Gunnam reservoir allows us to develop reservoir operation policies to maximize the flood control benefits of two flood control reservoirs.

Jaeeung Yi is a professor at the department of civil engineering in Ajou University, Korea and he is currently a visiting scholar at the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC. Berkeley. His main study area is hydrology and water resources system management.

This seminar is part of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar series, Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation, presented under the auspices of the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies.  As both the developed and developing world confront intensifying demands on rivers and other water resources, impacts are evident from extractions of water for human uses, proliferation of dams, mining sediments from river beds, and intensified land-use impacts, all exacerbated by climate change. Accelerated erosion of coasts and deltas (e.g., from sediment starvation, groundwater pumping, accelerated sea-level rise) are among the manifestations of these impacts. Our seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach these challenges by examining how societies have adapted to variability in the past (uncertainty in water supply, flood risk, etc) and considers the tools we have to manage future variability in river flows and sediment loads, including variability in water supplies, increased flood risk, and the existential threat to many coastal and riverine areas.

The Social Life of the Sediment Balance: workshop call for papers

WORKSHOP CALL FOR PAPERS
University of California Berkeley, 29-30 May 2019
Convenors: Giacomo Parrinello (Sciences Po Paris) & G Mathias Kondolf (UC Berkeley)

Fluvial geomorphology has developed a sophisticated understanding of the links between upstream basins and deltas, including the impact of dams on sediment fluxes, the consequences of sand and gravel mining, or the construction of embankments. Environmental history, historical geography, and science and technology studies (STS) have shed light on the entanglement between river systems and social dynamics, emphasizing the crucial role of technology and engineering and the complexity of policy and politics of river management. We believe that there is much to be gained in combining the insights and approaches of these disciplines to the study of sediments in river systems. The workshop will convene fluvial geomorphologists, environmental historians, historical geographers, and STS scholars with a shared interest in geomorphological change of rivers and deltas, to compare and discuss research questions, methodologies, and empirical cases. Our aim is to lay the foundation for a sustained interdisciplinary dialogue.

This workshop is part of a collaborative effort funded by grants from the France-Berkeley Fund, the UC Berkeley Social Science Matrix and Institute of International Studies, and an Emergence(s) grant from the City of Paris.  Within the limits of available budget, we will cover travel expenses and lodging of selected participants. We especially welcome applications from junior scholars (PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows, and other early career scholars).

Your proposal should consist of an abstract (ca. 300 words) and a brief biographical note (ca. 150 words). Please submit proposals to giacomo.parrinello@sciencespo.fr by 31 January 2018 with the subject “Sediment Workshop.”

Workshop call for papers flyer available for download here