Communicating in crisis— creating narratives that inspire change

Featured in the Washington Post, CNS researcher examines how we talk about crises and offers tips to better our narratives and inspire change Images of overcrowded hospitals, maps of wildfire destruction, real-time twitter updates of political upheaval. It seems that over the past year, stories of crisis and catastrophe follow us everywhere we go— so much so that the term “doomscrolling” (the act of almost obsessively consuming news of suffering and injustice on social media) gained global popularity. Many of us feel overwhelmed, not knowing how to create positive change.    Ezra Markowitz, Environmental Conservation, recently published an article in the Washington Post discussing what decades of social-science research tell us about the effectiveness of different approaches to catastrophe story-telling. In particular, he details four ways to improve how we talk about crises and encourage powerful action.  From "After 2020, we need to talk about how we talk about catastrophe:"   First, avoiding overt crisis and catastrophe frames does not mean playing down the urgency of...
Read More

The New England White Shark Research Consortium— an unparalleled joint-effort to understand this crucial apex predator

Danylchuk Lab joins the first-ever regional collaboration to deepen our understanding of the white sharks that pass through New England waters UMass Amherst fisheries biologist Andy Danylchuk, environmental conservation, and his Ph.D. student Bryan Legare recently joined other shark research groups and government agencies from the northeastern United States and Canada in the New England White Shark Research Consortium (NEWSRC). It provides the first-ever collaboration to jointly study the white shark (Carchardon carcharias) throughout its entire northeast range.    With increased white shark sightings from Rhode Island to Canada, NEWSRC says, “this is the perfect time to create a unique consortium to increase our understanding of white shark life history, including their migration, residency, habitat use, reproduction and predatory behavior – factors that drive human-shark interactions, and broader perceptions of white sharks by coastal communities.”  Danylchuk and Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries are co-advisors to Legare in his doctoral work. The three will collaborate with the Provincetown-based Center for Coastal Studies to study the near-shore movements...
Read More

UMass Amherst Agricultural Sciences Again Ranked Among The Top Five in Global Rankings by U.S. News

For the second year in a row, the Best Global Universities guide published by U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Massachusetts Amherst No. 4 in the comprehensive subject area of Agricultural Sciences for 2021, and first among U.S. universities in that subject area. The rankings consider the top 1,500 universities across 81 countries.  U.S. News notes that, “These are the world’s best universities for agricultural sciences based on their reputation and research in the field.” The rankings can be viewed at https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/agricultural-s... Agricultural sciences as reviewed for this survey includes a wide range of subjects related to how humans use and develop natural resources for their benefit, including horticulture, food science and nutrition, dairy science and agronomy. At UMass Amherst, several schools, departments and programs contribute to this global reputation.  In the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), these include the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, the School of Earth & Sustainability (SES), the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), food...
Read More
Envisioning the evolution of energy systems

Envisioning the evolution of energy systems

UMass researchers to lead national expert workshops to identify the challenges of developing equitable and sustainable energy systems Five researchers from campus have been selected to receive a one-year, $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s “10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments” series to conduct a series of national workshops to identify research challenges associated with transitioning to an equitable and sustainable energy system. The grant is the second this year from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to researchers at UMass for a similar purpose, says project leader and chemistry professor Dhandaipani “DV” Venkataram, evidence of a growing worldwide interest in developing sustainable energy systems that consider and even prioritize the resources and needs of all communities. “A transition toward a less carbon-intensive energy system is underway globally,” Venkataraman points out. “The challenge is to envision how the energy system might evolve in a way that is consistent with resources and needs.” Further, he explains, “When we are thinking about the emerging energy technologies landscape, we need...
Read More
Tree doctors needed— The demand for arborists surges as New England’s forests respond to climate change

Tree doctors needed— The demand for arborists surges as New England’s forests respond to climate change

UMass arborists were featured in a New York Times article discussing the future of New England’s trees and the increasing need for arborists and foresters. Forests in the Northeast are changing with the warming planet. Extreme weather, pests, air pollution, and increased temperatures are only some of the threats on the long list of stressors taking a toll on New England’s picturesque woodlands. According to UMass conservationists Paul Catanzaro and Kristina Bezanson, the dire situation in our forests has led to a shortage of arborists. From “New England’s Forests Are Sick. They Need More Tree Doctors:”  Many arborists say they are spending more time taking down dead or unhealthy trees than ever before. “We are a heavily treed state,” said Kristina Bezanson. “We are having more tree problems that require lots of arborists, and there is a shortage of arborists.” Bezanson, who is among those training the next generation of arborists, said she sees rising demand not just regionally but nationwide in the profession’s three principal...
Read More