The Nelson Institute's Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) draws together faculty, staff, graduate students, and others from a wide array of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to investigate environmental and cultural change in the full sweep of human history.

Latest News

Tackling Ebola on many fronts
Nelson Institute faculty affiliates Gregg Mitman, Richard Keller and Tony Goldberg are among a cohort of researchers and physicians in the UW-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI) community who have personally and professionally confronted the Ebola outbreak — and are looking for ways to avoid the next crisis. 
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Video: Ebola prompts interdisciplinary response at UW-Madison
Gregg Mitman was shooting a documentary in Liberia this summer when Ebola hit the headlines. Tony Goldberg has studied bats and the diseases they carry in Uganda. Back on campus, professors Mitman, Goldberg, and Alta Charo discuss how UW–Madison is involved in holistic, cross-disciplinary efforts to understand the Ebola crisis and propose solutions.  
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Upcoming Events

Climate Change and Wisconsin Water Resources: Threats and Opportunities
Thursday, September 17, 7:00 PM, Union South, Varsity Hall
Kenneth Potter (Chair of the Water Resources Management program; Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW-Madison) will present this public lecture as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute's Water Resources Management program. Climate change will adversely impact the water resources of Wisconsin, and has already begun to do so. The societal impacts of specific changes will depend on how well we adapt as well as on the nature of climate changes and adaptations in other places. I will illustrate with two Wisconsin examples: the Yahara Lakes and the Driftless Region cold-water fishery. Expected increases in the magnitude and frequency of extreme rainfalls will increase the risk of flooding of the Yahara Lakes. Much of the watershed is undeveloped. About a third of the upper Yahara River watershed are "closed” and rarely or never drain into Lake Mendota. Although Dane County stormwater management ordinances are very progressive, our research suggests that they are not sufficient to prevent increases in lake flooding due to land development. Furthermore, much of the watershed area that is closed is in Columbia County, which has less stringent stormwater ordinances. Addressing these threats will require creative adaptations of existing ordinances and practices. The Driftless Region of Wisconsin hosts an outstanding coldwater fishery that includes native Brook Trout. Increasing air temperatures threaten the long-term viability of that fishery. But due to unique geologic features of the Driftless Region, the cold-water fishery there will likely persist much longer than elsewhere in the U.S., provided the land and water are wisely managed.

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