Field Notes

      • Cape Town Intersection (Photo: Michael Mortimer)
      • Sep 12, 2019 Environmental Security is a Matter of Equity

        South African director Neill Blomkamp’s science fiction social commentary film Elysium sees wealthy elites in the near future removing themselves from planetary resource scarcity... literally. By abandoning a wrecked Earth for a utopian existence in an orbital space habitat, these elites effectively shield themselves from the shortages of water, energy, healthcare, housing, and other human necessities on the Earth below.

      • map of india
      • Sep 11, 2019 Global Study Series, India, Part 2: Sustaining, developing, or just surviving?

        During my final semester in Virginia Tech’s Online MNR program, I joined a group of students and faculty from the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability on the Spring 2019 Global Study. Our transformative, eye-opening journey to the eastern Indian state of West Bengal began in Kolkata.The effects of planetary environmental crises are already being felt in India. Heat waves, such as the one currently impacting India, have only been increasing in frequency and intensity, leading to summer high temperatures that are growing unbearable.

      • Woman by a body of water
      • Aug 13, 2019 Global Study Series, India, Part 1: Preserving East Kolkata Wetlands

        As a student in the Online Master of Natural Resources program at the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, Kasey Fioramonti has had a chance to witness the enormous environmental challenges affecting one of the most populous countries in the world—India. Kasey’s International Field Experience (IFE) to India in February 2019 offered her a rare opportunity to see how to recognize a community’s sustainability issues early on and address them at the grassroots level; how individuals and families are affected by pollution; and how difficult combating these issues through policy can be.

      • art installation of hands holding a building
      • Aug 12, 2019 Sustainability Professionals and the World Around Them

        In 2014, through its core course Global Issues in Environmental Sustainability, CLiGS began providing international experiences for all of its students. Starting with its first program in China, CLiGS now offers study opportunities in China, Morocco, India, South Africa, Croatia, and Cuba. In 2020, Argentina, Iceland, and Spain will be joining the roster. Because CLiGS’s students are so often working professionals, our study experiences are designed to accommodate their schedules—they run from 10 to 12 days, and tie directly to the semester-long course content.

      • Holly Wise
      • Jul 09, 2019 Sustainable Brands Founder Calls for Courageous Optimism

        The Sustainable Brands Conference drew over 2,000 people to Detroit’s Cobo Center the first week of June, for inspiration and exchange around global and local sustainability topics. The Sustainable Brands CEO and Founder KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz set the stage by calling for courageous optimism in facing the challenges of saving the planet, despite the daunting data shared at the event: 60% decline in vertebrate species since 1970 The Amazon River is near its tipping point of 25% species loss 60–100…

      • architecture drawing
      • Jul 02, 2019 CLiGS Instructor Brings EPA Experience to Private Sector in Green Infrastructure

        Turning sustainability goals into action can be an arduous process, requiring skills in mass communication, civics, economics, and corporate management. Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability Online Master of Natural Resources instructor Dominique Lueckenhoff has made outstanding efforts to prepare students to navigate the complexities of sustainable action. In bringing together her experiences with private-sector business models, academia, government regulatory/non-regulatory programs, and collaborative problem-solving, Lueckenhoff offers her students a broad…

      • Walston Wisteria
      • Jun 25, 2019 Applying XMNR Lessons in the Field

        When considering grad school, people often wonder whether the investment of time, effort, and resources will pay off. And if so, when? Tyler Walston is currently about half-way through the Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) graduate program at the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, and what he's learning in class, and through team and individual assignments, he has applied directly to his current job responsibilities.

      • India meeting Hull
      • Jun 18, 2019 India Series, Part 3: Rural Development Dilemma

        Study tours help sustainable development professionals experience globally relevant challenges and innovations. In India, teachable moments abound, as was the case recently when I led a group of graduate students from Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS). India’s development trajectory will likely be the most significant in human history and thus the most consequential for global sustainability challenges.

      • Darjeeling hillside
      • Jun 11, 2019 India Series, Part 2: Water, Waste, Tea, and the Need for Good Government

        I’ve recently visited Darjeeling, India with a group of graduate students studying sustainability at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS). Darjeeling is an old hill station built in the Himalayan mountains by British colonizers wanting to escape India’s summer heat. The British also imported and planted Chinese tea on the steep hillsides, which remain blanketed in plantations of world-famous Darjeeling tea.

      • Songdo South Korea
      • Jan 24, 2019 Green Building for a Better World

        Ten years ago, when the term “sustainable development” was just starting to gain traction in Korea, I was beginning my career as an international “green building” specialist. The timing was perfect. I was new to the field, and as part of my role with a major construction project, I had the opportunity to complete a professional certificate in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Little did I know that it was the first step in a much longer journey that would literally take me around the world, including to the United States and India.

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