Institute on the Environment

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Institute on the Environment
IonE wordmark.png
Established 2007
Type Academic institution
Director Jonathan Foley
Location St. Paul, MN, U.S.
Campus Urban
Website www.environment.umn.edu

The Institute on the Environment, or IonE, is an academic environmental institution at the University of Minnesota that focuses on solutions to issues related to energy, food and land use, freshwater, population and development, and whole systems.[1] Its director is Jonathan Foley.[2]

Mission[edit]

IonE aims to discover solutions to Earth’s most pressing environmental problems by conducting research, developing the next generation of global leaders and building collaborative partnerships.[3]

History[edit]

IonE was founded at the University of Minnesota in 2007.[4]

Areas of interest[edit]

  • Energy creates the science, technology, and policy structures needed to advance renewable energy.[5]
  • Food and Land Use tackles issues related to land use, deforestation, agriculture, and food security from local to global scales.[6]
  • Freshwater furthers the understanding of freshwater resources such as large lakes and rivers in a changing world.[7]
  • Population and Development addresses challenges related to population and development as the planet approaches 9 billion people by mid-century.[8]
  • Whole Systems creates an environment in which thought leaders can collaborate across disciplines, sectors and continents to create transformative solutions to global challenges.[9]

Three-part approach[edit]

All of IonE’s work takes place in one or more of these three focus areas: discovery of solutions, education of leaders, and engagement of partners.[10]

Discovery of solutions[edit]

IonE pursues research-based solutions to global environmental challenges though a range of multidisciplinary activities including programs (see Ongoing Programs), Discovery Grants, Resident Fellowships, and Mini Grants.[10]

Educating leaders[edit]

IonE offers training in communication, media relations, entrepreneurship, and systems thinking. The leadership education programs include Acara, the Boreas Leadership Program, Sustainability Education, the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award, Research Fellowships, and the Environment and Sustainability Portal.[10]

Engaging partners[edit]

IonE brings together academia,corporations, activists, media, investment, non-profit organizations and more across disciplines to develop solutions to environmental problems. Engaging partners programs include the NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, Earthducation, Science on a Sphere, and Momentum.[11]

Ongoing programs[edit]

Acara gives university students a chance to envision and launch successful social businesses. Since 2009, more than 300 students from 20 universities have participated in Acara’s programs.[12] Acara has partnerships with colleges and universities in the United States as well as India.[13]

The Global Landscape Initiative works to understand land use changes, to improve our ability to balance human needs with environmental stewardship and to promote secure landscapes across the globe.[14] The 2011 TedxTC lecture, The Other Inconvenient Truth, addresses the challenges being aided by the Global Landscape Initiative.[15]

The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) seeks out the most promising new renewable energy ideas and jump-starts them with support from Xcel Energy ratepayers via the utility's Renewable Development Fund. It launched in 2003.[16]

The Natural Capital Project includes researchers from University of Minnesota, Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and several other entities to develop new approaches to integrating economics and ecology. It focuses on how to assess the economic value of ecosystem services.[17]

The NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise (NiSE) works with the private sector to understand the systemic sustainability challenges of production and consumption systems, develop the decision tools necessary to navigate these complex systems, and accelerate innovation from marginal efforts to meaningful change. NiSE has three current initiatives: Sustainable Procurement Initiative, Materials Cycling Initiative, and Global Initiative on Financing Sustainability.[18] The program launched in 2009.[19]

Sustainability Education helped create the Sustainability Studies Minor, multiple graduate-level sustainability programs, and the Graduate Sustainability Resources Network for faculty.[20]

Terra Populus (TerraPop) combines historic census data with global environmental data including land cover, land use, and climate records into a common database and disseminating it to researchers around the world. TerraPop is a collaboration of the Minnesota Population Center, the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota Libraries, and faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering, as well as Columbia University and the University of Michigan. Its funds come from the National Science Foundation.[21]

Ensia[edit]

Ensia, formerly known as Momentum, is a print, online and event media platform of IonE that focuses on sharing environmental solutions. Ensia explores issues of regional importance and global impact while providing a place for environmental leaders to share ideas. It also works to find common ground by linking scientific concerns with social and economic needs.[22]

Ensia Live brings speaker to the Twin Cities to deliver presentations on topics as they relate to today’s environment. It was launched as the Momentum event series in 2011 and has included the following presenters: Sylvia Earle, Hans Rosling, Majora Carter, Martin Palmer, M. Sanjayan, and Paul Nicklen.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Our Approach." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/about/approach.html>.
  2. ^ "Finding Common Ground in Environmental Debates." NPR. NPR, 2012. Web. 07 Aug. 2012. <http://www.npr.org/2012/07/12/156677236/finding-common-ground-in-environmental-debates>.
  3. ^ "About Us." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/about/index.html>.
  4. ^ The Right Time and Place. Prod. Institute on the Environment. Youtube. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRqkSXHDJE4&list=UUXzMUZRZtBE0GtF1RCOWMbw&index=7&feature=plcp>.
  5. ^ "Energy." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/research/energy.html>.
  6. ^ "Food & Land Use." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/research/land.html>.
  7. ^ "Freshwater." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/research/freshwater.html>.
  8. ^ "Population & Development." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/research/population.html>.
  9. ^ "Whole Systems." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/research/wholesystems.html>.
  10. ^ a b c Institute on the Environment. n.d.
  11. ^ "Building Partnerships." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 07 Aug. 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/partnerships/partnerships.html>.
  12. ^ "Acara." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/acara/index.html>.
  13. ^ Wheeler, David. "How to Pull Students Into ‘Global Challenges’ Research." The Chronicle of Higher Education 2012: n. pag. Print.
  14. ^ "Global Landscapes Initiative." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/gli/index.html>.
  15. ^ TEDxTC - Jonathan Foley - The Other Inconvenient Truth. TED Conferences, LLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2012. <http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jonathan_foley_the_other_inconvenient_truth.html>. Retrieved 2012-8-7
  16. ^ "Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/iree/index.html>.
  17. ^ "Natural Capital Project." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/naturalcapital/index.html>.
  18. ^ "NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/northstar/index.html>.
  19. ^ Hulsey, Sasha. "Free Market Sustainability: Environmentally Sustainable?" MN2020: n. pag. Print.
  20. ^ "Sustainability Education." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/susteducation/index.html>.
  21. ^ "Terra Populus." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/terrapopulus/index.html>.
  22. ^ "Momentum." Institute on the Environment. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2012. Web. 07 Aug. 2012. <http://environment.umn.edu/momentum/>.

External links[edit]