Debating Sustainability Futures: Small Farms in U.S, India, and Kenya

Center for Global India and High Meadows Environmental Institute are jointly hosting a panel discussion on the land-sharing and land sparing concepts and the sustainable agricultural practices to enhance climate resilience, farmer wellbeing, and minimizing resource demands. The panelists are Prof. Ruth DeFries ( Columbia University), Dr. N Subash (Indian Council of Agricultural Research ), and Prof. Daniel Rubenstein (Princeton University). The session will be moderated by Prof. Anu Ramaswami (Princeton University).

Registration is required for this event. To register and receive a Zoom Webinar link please click here

Panelists bios:

Ruth DeFries is a professor of ecology and sustainable development at Columbia University in New York and co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School. She uses images from satellites and field surveys to examine how the world’s demands for food and other resources are changing land use throughout the tropics. Her research quantifies how these land-use changes affect climate, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services, as well as human development. She has also developed innovative education programs in sustainable development. DeFries was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, one of the country’s highest scientific honors, received a MacArthur “genius” award, and is the recipient of many other honors for her scientific research. In addition to over 100 scientific papers, she is committed to communicating the nuances and complexities of sustainable development to popular audiences through her books “The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis and “What Would Nature Do?: A Guide for Our Uncertain Times”.

DeFries is committed to linking science with policy, for example through her involvement with the  Environmental Defense FundScience for Nature and PeopleWorld Wildlife Fund, and reconciling conservation and development in central India.

Dr. N. Subash, presently working as Principal Scientist in Agricultural Meteorology at ICAR-Indian Institute of Farming Systems Research, Modipuram, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India.  He had joined Indian Agricultural Research Service in 1997 as Scientist at ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region, Patna, Bihar.  He did his graduation in Meteorology and Ph.D. in Agricultural Meteorology from Cochin University of Science and Technology.  He is having more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed National/International Journals which is having a high impact factor. He worked as Lead Principal Investigator of Agricultural Modeling Intercomparison and Improvement (AgMIP) - ICAR Collaborative Project, ICAR-University of Nebraska-Lincoln Collaborative Project of Global Yield Gap Atlas, and Database Administrator of CGIAR-Challenge Program on Water and Food-Indo-Gangetic Basin.  At present, he is the Principal Investigator of ICAR Flagship program National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture.  He developed a tool for estimation of GHG emission from the Integrated Farming System to identify mitigation components of the IFS system from small and marginal farms in India.  He visited more than 20 foreign countries and provided invited talks in the American Society of Agronomy, American Geophysical Union, AgMIP, and GYGA Global workshops, etc. At present, his research areas include assessment of climate change impact at farm/household level using multi-models, measurement of GHG emission from Integrated Farming Systems, agro-advisory services, Crop simulation modeling, rainfall, and drought climatology, remote sensing, and GIS along with routine agrometeorological studies. 

Dan Rubenstein is a behavioral ecologist who studies how environmental variation and individual differences shape social behavior, social structure, sex roles and the dynamics of populations. He has special interests in all species of wild horses, zebras, and asses, and has done fieldwork on them throughout the world identifying rules governing decision-making, the emergence of complex behavioral patterns and how these understandings influence their management and conservation. In Kenya, he also works with pastoral communities to develop and assess impacts of various grazing strategies on rangeland quality, wildlife use and livelihoods. He has also developed a scout program for gathering data on Grevy’s zebras and created curricular modules for local schools to raise awareness about the plight of this endangered species. He engages people as 'Citizen Scientists' and has recently extended his work to measure the effects of environmental change, including issues pertaining to the global commons and changes wrought by management and by global warming, on behavior. Rubenstein is the Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology. He is currently Director of Princeton's Environmental Studies Program and is former Chair of Princeton University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of Princeton’s Program in African Studies. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1977 before receiving NSF-NATO and King's College Junior Research Fellowships for post-doctoral studies at Cambridge University. As the Eastman Professor, he spent a year in Oxford as a Fellow of Balliol College. He is an elected Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has received Princeton University's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching. He has just completed his term as president of the Animal Behavior Society and was most recently a Visiting Research Scholar at Merton College, Oxford, and a Visiting Fellow at King's College, Cambridge. He just received the Animal Behavior Society's 'Exemplar Award' for a major long-term contribution to animal behavior and Sigma Xi's John P. McGovern Award for Science and Society.

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