Environmental Studies Open The College of the Environment at Wesleyan University was created with a belief in the resilience of the human spirit and a desire to develop a long-term vision of human and ecosystem health. Our mission, simply stated: to change the world. The most important challenge facing current and future generations of humans will be the quality of the environment and the allocation of dwindling natural resources among populations. In the face of severe challenges, we believe in the possibility of changing the trajectory of humans on the planet for the better. To that end, Wesleyan’s College of the Environment seeks to develop informed citizens who can discuss environmental issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, understand their connections to social or political issues, and derive well-formulated independent conclusions.

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Recent Glacier-Related Flood Events in High Mountain Environments

Saturday, October 30, 2021
11 am to noon
Exley Science Center, Room 150
FREE and open to the public


The development of glacial lakes from receding glaciers, contained by either terminal moraines or bedrock, is commonly linked with global warming trends that have occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA). Such lakes are prone to sudden and catastrophic drainage, popularly known as glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF). Although GLOFs continue to dominate the focus of both peer reviewed and popular media articles alike, a range of other cryospheric processes and hazards exist that are in need of further research attention and mitigation technologies.

Join Alton C. Byers, PhD, the Menakka and Essel Bailey '66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, for a multimedia discussion of englacial conduit floods, periodic and recurrent flooding of lakes created by glacier- or ice-dammed lakes, permafrost-linked rockfall and debris flows, and earthquake-linked glacier floods. This event is the latest in the COE's annual Where on Earth Are We Going? seminar series, supported by the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment.

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D. is a mountain geographer, conservationist, and mountaineer specializing in applied research, high-altitude ecosystems, climate change, glacier hazards, and integrated conservation and development programs.

The COE's annual Where on Earth Are We Going? Robert F. Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium has occurred on the Saturday of Wesleyan's Homecoming or Family Weekend every year since 2004. Each year's symposium focuses on a critical environmental topic and has brought to Wesleyan the people who are at the forefronts of these issues.

Human-Wildlife Conflict in Pakistan: An Anthropological Perspective

Tuesday, November 9, 2021
6:15 - 7:15 pm
RL&L Lounge/300 High Street
FREE and open to the public!

Following the downgrading of the snow leopard’s status from “endangered” to “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2017, debate has renewed about the actual number of snow leopards in the wild and the most effective strategies for coexisting with these enigmatic animals. Evidence from Pakistan and other countries in the snow leopard’s home range shows that they rely heavily on human society—domestic livestock accounts for as much as 70 percent of their diet. Maintaining that the snow leopard is a “wild” animal, conservation NGOs and state agencies have enacted laws that punish farmers for attacking these predators, while avoiding engaging with efforts to mitigate the harms suffered by farmers whose herds are reduced by snow leopards. Based on ethnographic field, Shafqat Hussain argues that characterizing this conflict as one between humans (farmers) and wildlife (snow leopards) is misleading, as the real conflict is between two human groups—farmers and conservationists—who see the snow leopard differently.
Shafqat Hussain is George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian Studies and professor of anthropology at Trinity College, US. He is the author of Remoteness and Modernity: Transformation and Continuity in Northern Pakistan (2015) and The Snow Leopard and the Goat: Politics of Conservation in the Western Himalayas (2020). He holds a PhD in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Yale University.