A Bowdoin Investigation: Can a Maine Marsh Survive Rising Seas?

As Satya Kent ’19 steers a small motor boat down a narrow channel in Maine’s largest marsh in Scarborough, her passenger, environmental scientist Peter Lea, points to the muddy banks rising up steeply on either side.

The high banks look something like a cross-section sliced from a chocolate lover’s multi-layer cake: they have clear strata of deep-brown mud. “Those are essentially former editions of the salt marsh as it has been growing and keeping pace with sea level rise,” explained Lea, an associate professor of earth and oceanographic science at Bowdoin. The bottom visible layers were likely formed 1,000 to 2,000 years ago. Read the full story on Bowdoin News.

Michael Mascia ’93 Named Board President of Global Conservation Group

Michael Mascia, the senior director of social science for the nonprofit Conservation International, has been named board president for the Society for Conservation Biology, the field’s pre-eminent professional society.

Mascia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and European studies from Bowdoin in 1993, and earned a Ph.D. from Duke University in environmental politics and policy in 2000.

In a recently published Q&A, Mascia noted, “We live on a human-dominated planet. People are defining what the future will look like, for better or for worse. Thus, conservation is an inherently social process with social implications. It’s not just what we conserve but how we conserve it that matters.” Read more in Bowdoin News.

Bowdoin Professor Outlines Legal Risks of Local Climate Change Regulations

Assistant Professor of Government and Environmental Studies Shana Starobin

Shana Starobin, a newly appointed assistant professor of government and environmental studies who will teach Environmental Policy and Politics in the fall, has published new commentary on climate change regulation in Public Administration Review, a leading journal for scholars and practitioners of public administration.

Starobin’s writing is part of an online symposium reflecting on how the country’s current political environment will affect the policy landscape for future action on climate change.

In the article, Starobin and her co-author analyze efforts in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to enforce more energy-efficient standards in building codes. “With the federal government’s receding role on climate change, subnational governments may offer the only meaningful hope for the United States to make significant policy progress,” they argue. “Although state and local affirmation of the Paris Agreement provides reason for optimism, a necessary condition for success of subnational regulation will be careful attention to larger legal constraints, a hard lesson Albuquerque officials learned nearly a decade ago.”

Mark Anderson ’74 on Why Putting a Dollar Value on the Environment is a Bad Idea (Bangor Daily News)

Mark Anderson ’74

Former University of Maine instructor Mark Anderson ’74 argues that conventional economic theory is not appropriate when it comes to putting a value on nature.

In Anderson’s column “Pennies for Puffins,” published in the Bangor Daily News public policy blog Stirring the Pot, Anderson described the efforts of some economists to assign monetary value to environmental protection.

“Expressing the values of nature in dollar terms,” he wrote, “crowds out the more profoundly important aspects of nature to our lives.”