Huxley Speaker Series 5/3/18: ENVS Faculty Candidate Yanjun Cai: Social Media and Geospatial Analysis

Creative Amalgamation of Technologies for Proactive Resilience toward Socio-spatial Justice

Research talk by Dr. Yanjun Cai
Candidate for Faculty of Environmental Studies
Thursday, May 3, 4:00-5:00, AW-204

This research presentation explores how the participatory approach of photovoice and the technological tools of social media and geospatial analysis can be innovatively integrated for proactive resilience, especially in marginalized communities. The multiplicity of definitions, interpretations, and objectives (e.g., social, economic, political), which underlies the theories and practices of resilience, is challenging for intellectual coherence. The convenient—depoliticized or overtly technical—application of resilience often fails to recognize structural issues that can be contextually unique. Common efforts to build resilience frequently elide the embeddedness of power, conflicts, and inequities. In this light, few scholars and practitioners have comprehensively revealed the intricacies of climate-related... Read more

ENVS Faculty Candidate 4/23/18: Fayola Jacobs: Insuring Inequity: Flood Insurance


Research talk by Fayola Jacobs
Candidate for Faculty of Environmental Studies 
Monday, April 23, 4:00-5:00, AH-014

Despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina forced the national spotlight on the roles race, class and gender (and more importantly racism, classism and sexism) play in disasters, many disaster policies and plans at the national, state and local levels do not explicitly consider these factors. Using the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) as a case study – a program that rewards jurisdictions that implement forward-thinking flood mitigation strategies with access to discounted flood insurance –this project examines whether or not race-, class- and gender-neutral policies can produce equitable outcomes. Using the theories of rational disaster management, social vulnerability, environmental justice and Black feminism’s intersectionality, I operationalize four quantitative models that show... Read more

ENVS Faculty Candidate 4/19/18: Bayes Ahmed: Community Vulnerability Bangladesh


Research talk by Dr. BAYES AHMED
Candidate for Faculty of Environmental Studies
Thursday, April 19, 4:00-5:00, ES-313

This study develops an understanding of the root-causes of community vulnerability to landslides in the Chittagong Hill Districts (CHD) of Bangladesh. To begin, seven urbanized and four indigenous communities were selected and compared by developing and applying mixed methods. Quantitative information from household-level questionnaires was associated with qualitative maps and diagrams from participatory rural appraisal surveys. A convergent parallel design and index based weighted average decision support model was applied, covering community-level vulnerability indicators for physical, social, economic, ecological, institutional and cultural aspects.

The urbanized hill communities were found to be highly vulnerable to landslides, as they are attracted by city pull factors, deprived of social justice and involved in indiscriminate hill cutting for developing settlements.... Read more

Huxley College's Urban Planning and Sustainable Development Program Awarded National Accreditation

Western has been granted national accreditation for its BA program in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. The accreditation of undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States is granted by the Planning Accreditation Board in association with the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. The granting of accreditation followed a three-year review effort involving the demonstration of compliance with 57 standards and criteria. Western now joins only fifteen other accredited undergraduate planning programs in the United States, and is the second accredited undergraduate planning program in Washington State.

Western has a long tradition in training students in the professional field of urban planning. Huxley College’s BA Degree Program in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, and its predecessor BA programs in environmental planning and urban and regional planning, have continuously operated at... Read more

Speaking of Maps: Andy Bach to Discuss Environmental History of the Ozette Prairies

From The News @ Western Libraries: Western Washington University Associate Professor of Environmental Geography Andy Bach will discuss his research exploring the relationship between historical vegetation changes in the Ozette Prairies, Olympic National Park, and human use of this region. “Archival Evidence for Historical Changes in Lowland Wilderness Meadows, Ozette Prairies, Olympic National Park,” will be held in the Map Collection (Wilson Library 170) at Western Libraries from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wed., May 11, 2016. This presentation is free and open to the public.

Using a multi-media archival approach to understand the environmental history of the area, examining repeat air and ground photography, maps, and written records, Bach determined that the prairies originally began as natural wetlands... Read more

ENVS Brown Bag Series: Nathan J. Bennett on environmental management and policy

In the inaugural lecture of the Environmental Studies Department's brown bag discussion series, visiting scholar Nathan Bennett will present "Engaging Critical and Constructive Approaches to Environmental Management and Policy."

Scholars studying environmental management and policy often engage either constructive or critical approaches and theory. Yet, scholars from each of these traditions rarely present in the same venues or publish in the same journals and thus often lack awareness of the methods, theories and rationales for engaging the opposite perspective. This absence of a productive conversation between the two groups interferes with the interdisciplinary engagement and knowledge co-production vital for solving complex environmental problems. In this talk, I will reflect on the requirements for engaging both critical and constructive approaches to studying environmental management and policy with reference to my own work on marine conservation and management... Read more

Huxley Speaker Series 5/29: Huxley Alum Darby Cowles on Downtown Bellingham Development

As part of the Huxley College Speaker Series, Darby Cowles, Senior Planner with the City of Bellingham and a 2002 graduate of WWU, will discuss development plans for downtown Bellingham. The presentation is free and open to the public.

In her talk, titled “Community Engagement in the Downtown Plan,” Cowles will highlight a multi-year effort to engage stakeholders in creative and unconventional ways to create a new vision and series of actions to improve Downtown Bellingham. Attendees will learn how early collaboration built a constituency in support of the plan, and will also be given an opportunity to explore how they can initiate and contribute to positive changes to the city.

Darby received her degree in Environmental Planning and Policy from Huxley College in 2002, and has... Read more

Lacey Cunningham, M.S. Candidate in Geography, to Present Thesis Seminar 5/8

Please join us on Thursday, May 8 at 11 AM in the Huxley Conference Room (ES 534) to hear Lacey Cunningham's M.S. Candidate in Geography thesis seminar, "Transparency in Mineral Extraction:  The Commodity Story, the Dodd-Frank, and the Emergence of 'Conflict-Free.'"

Huxley College Scholarship Application Due April 4

Huxley College is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2014-2015 academic year. More than $25K in scholarship funds is available to students within the Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies departments, and will be awarded based on individual scholarship criteria.

Application guidelines, links, and a list of all Huxley College scholarships and corresponding criteria can be found online at Scholarship application materials are due to the Huxley College office in ES 539 by Friday, April 4, at 5 p.m.

For more information about scholarships, please contact Jen VanderWeyden at (360) 650-2554 or

Huxley College Professor Gigi Berardi to Speak at Village Books on Thurs. Feb. 13 @ 7pm

Gigi Berardi, Western faculty and Global Discovery faculty member, will share her experiences, including growing up in an Italian home and how that inspired her culinary passions. Berardi’s research in food culture and her belief in the importance of dietary minerals such as sulfur, sun and Mediterranean fats strongly inspire her method of teaching about food. Global Discovery trips are non-credit and offer an opportunity for people to travel with Western faculty and immerse themselves in another culture. Enjoy slides of work at Slow Food hot spots in Europe, as well as in Bellingham and narrations by Gigi, who also will be sharing excerpts from a draft of her newest book project: A Cultivated Life.