News Archives


December 11, 2017
New Gibbs Paper Published

UW professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Holly Gibbs, co-authored a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides novel insight into how voluntary corporate sustainability policies can conserve tropical forests. The study’s authors estimate that sustainability certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)significantly reduced deforestation in Indonesian plantations — but that the actual area conserved was surprisingly small. These findings demonstrate the potential value of certification as a tool for conservation, while highlighting what changes are necessary to improve on-the-ground impacts.


November 29, 2017
Congratulations to SAGE's Newest PhD, Dr. Tyler Lark!

Tyler's advisor is Professor Holly Gibbs. 

November 22, 2017
Tyler Lark's PhD Defense on Wed, Nov 29: AMERICA'S FOOD- and FUEL-SCAPES


Please join us for Tyler Lark’s exit seminar next Wednesday at 1:30pm in room 1115 of the Wisconsin Energy Institute (1552 University Ave., Madison WI).  Tyler  is a PhD candidate in the Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources graduate program.
The title of his presentation is “America’s Food- and Fuel-scapes: Agricultural Land-Use Change Across the United States”.  
The talk should be of interest to anyone curious about land conservation, biofuels, or US agricultural policy.  
A sneak peek is available here.



November 15, 2017
Seth Spawn Presents New Research at the 2017 America's Grassland Conference

GLUE researcher Seth Spawn presents new research at the 2017 America's Grassland Conference, where he and Tyler Lark participated in press event with the president of the National Wildlife Federation about their work tracking cropland expansion and carbon emissions.  Read the summary of the preliminary results here and see map of results here.  


October 31, 2017
New Analysis Shows Brazil Slows Deforestation with Land Registration Program

New analysis by SAGE researchers, "Avoided Deforestation Linked to Environmental Registration of Properites in the Brazilian Amazon" published in Conservation Letters, shows that Brazil’s land registration program helps to slow deforestation. 



October 17, 2017
Congratulations to SAGE's Newest PhD, Dr. Valerie Stull!

Valerie gave a stellar presentation and passed her thesis defense with poise and brilliance! Her thesis is entitled "Improving Global Health Through Insects:The Feasibility, Acceptability, and Potential Impact of Small-Scale Minilivestock Farming with a Case Study of Zambia"

Valerie is advised by Professor Jonathan Patz. 


October 17, 2017
Holly Gibbs Wins 2017 L&S Deans Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement

Holly Gibbs was selected as the 2017 winner of the College of Letters and Sciences “Deans Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement”, named for Phil Certain and Dean Gary Sander. The recipient is chosen based on outstanding leadership and potential future leadership, as well as excellent research and teaching and service.  Congratulations, Holly!


October 02, 2017
Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge

The Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge is calling on students to submit their novel ideas for creating a more sustainable planet. More than $10,000 in prizes will be awarded on February 23 to students with the most innovative solutions in environmental sustainability and clean energy technology. 

Any student, any field, any solution is welcome – entries will be judged on originality, feasibility, and environmental/societal impact. Students are encouraged to work in teams to develop their solution in any number of topics related to sustainability – clean energy, food, water, transportation, place-based issues, etc. Solutions can be in the form of new technologies, business plans, or social initiatives.

Two upcoming info sessions will be held at the Wisconsin Energy Institute (1552 University Ave.) Room 1150 

Wednesday, October 4th

2:30-3PM (Facebook event link)

4-4:30PM (Facebook event link)

For full details, visit:

Submission Deadline: February 2, 2018 8:00AM

To register your interest in the competition, visit:   

To see examples of past entries, look for the “Prior Winners” section of the competition website, or read this article highlighting a few past winners and how the competition shaped their student experience and early careers:

For any questions about the competition, contact Scott Williams, Research and Education Coordinator at the Wisconsin Energy Institute, at

(co-sponsored by SAGE)



September 26, 2017
Jonathan Patz Gives Keynote Address at ISEE 17 Meeting

Jonathan Patz provided the keynote address for the 29th Annual Scientific Conference of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology 2017 (ISEE 2017) "Healthy places, healthy people - where are the connections?" in Sydney Australia, 24-28 Sept 2017. 


September 25, 2017
Patz Publishes Op-Ed in Australian Guardian

Quitting coal: a health benefit equivalent to quitting tobacco, alcohol and fast-food. "The 21st century holds incredible promise for improving human health while simultaneously dealing with humanity’s most urgent problem: climate change. Subsequent improvements in air quality, along with walkable or bikeable communities to counter trends in obesity and chronic diseases will majorly boost the health of Australians – a result that will be hugely appreciated."


September 20, 2017
Patz Gives Keynote at AAP Meeting in Chicago

Jonathan Patz provided the keynote address for the American Acadmey of Pediatrics (AAP) in Chicago on Sept 19, 2017. "Climate change is taking a toll on children’s health, and pediatricians play a role in educating policymakers on the impact..."


September 14, 2017
Patz Op Ed published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Tax on hybrids and electric vehicles is poor economic policy"


September 14, 2017
Carlos Souza & AMAZON DEFORESTATION: Lunchtime seminar Monday, Sept 18

Dr. Carlos Souza is a Senior Researcher at Imazon (the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment) and the CEO of Terras App Solutions, which is a startup firm that develops geospatial Apps for rural property management and supply chain traceability.  He has received the Skoll Award on Social Entrepreneurship as well as the Mulago Foundation Conservation Fellowship. 
Carlos has nearly 30 years of experience studying and protecting the Amazon, and will present his current work on: 
Using Data, Cloud Computing And Partnerships To Overcome The New ‘Hard Times’ In The Brazilian Environmental Sector
Join us for lunch and conversation starting at 12:00pm in the lobby of the WEI building.  Or just grab a plate on your way into the seminar starting at 12:30pm!  (Please RVSP if possible so we have a rough idea for lunch orders, but come either way!)  This event is sponsored by Prof Holly Gibbs and the Tropical Ecosystem Research Collaborative 

August 25, 2017
Importance of Solar Energy Underestimated Three-fold

A study by Professor Greg Nemet and European colleagues shows that in 2050, the percentage of solar energy worldwide could be three times higher than previously projected. 


July 28, 2017
Patz Discusses Public Health Risks of Climate Change

In an interview to air 10AM, Saturday 7/29/17, on Hank AM 1550 & 97.7 FM, Dr. Patz talks about the specifics of the growing threat climate change is having on public health:  the impact of rising temperatures, air pollution which is causing the death of 7 million people every year, insect-born diseases and the rise of the zika virus, water sources and food supplies which have put 850 million people at risk for malnutrition - a number that will continue to grow. He will also share his views on what the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord will mean.

July 19, 2017
Holly Gibbs Receives DOE Grant

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center was funded by DOE for five years!  Holly Gibbs is a co-PI on the project and will lead work on mapping marginal lands that could be available for cellulosic biofuels and understanding the environmental tradeoffs.  This complements Gibbs' other recent grants focussed on understanding water quality, carbon, and conservation outcomes from recent corn and soy expansion.


July 10, 2017
Holly Gibbs interviewed by Reuters for article on cattle "laundering” in the Brazilian Amazon

Read the article "Shady slaughterhouses, 'cow laundering' drive spike in Amazon deforestation".


July 05, 2017
Mallika Nocco to Present Public PhD Seminar

Mallika Nocco’s public PhD seminar will be held at 1:00pm on Wed. July 12  in room 1115 of the Wisconsin Energy Institute (1552 University Ave., Madison WI).  Mallika is a PhD candidate in the Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources graduate program. Her talk will report on the biophysical impacts of irrigation in the Wisconsin Central Sands region on water and energy cycling. Her advisor is Professor Chris Kucharik. 


June 08, 2017
Holly Gibbs and GLUE Lab Awarded Multiple Grants

Gibbs was awarded $140K in grants from the National Wildlife Federation and the Packard Foundation to improve estimates of carbon emissions from U.S. land use change and to create a new global biomass and soil carbon database.

$544,500 was received from the National Wildlife Federation to evaluate the impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard on America’s land and water resources. Chris Kucharik is co-PI on this award. 

Holly's Brazil work continues to expand, as she was awarded an additional ~$500,000  to expand her group's work to map the full cattle supply chain in the Brazilian Amazon. 

Congratulations Holly and GLUE (Gibbs Land Use & Environment) Lab. 

June 05, 2017
Professor Jonathan Patz Provided Opening Comments at the Inaugural Planetary Health Conference

This was a talk given on April 28, 2017 in Boston at the New England Aquarium. Click on the more button to read a transcript of the Opening statements. 


June 01, 2017
Leaving the Paris Climate Accord Would Be a Public Health Disaster

Jonathan Patz was quoted in an article on 



May 25, 2017
GHI Article Highlights Jason Vargo's Most Recent Research Publication

Addressing climate change is a comprehensive way to improve public health, according to a new report co-authored by GHI’s Jason Vargo.


May 08, 2017
Congratulations to new SAGE PhD Missy Motew!

Missy Motew defended her PhD thesis “Effects of climate, land use, and land management on phosphorus cycling and water quality in the Yahara Watershed”. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the Water Sustainability and Climate Project ( Her advisor is Professor Chris Kucharik.   

May 04, 2017
Holloway Group Paper Featured in Popular Science Article

A newly-published paper Abel, D.T. HollowayR. KladarP. Meier, D. Ahl, M. HarkeyJ. Patz (2017), Response of Power Plant Emissions to Ambient Temperature in the Eastern United States, Environmental Science & Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b06201, was featured in a Popular Science article, “Your air conditioning habit makes summer smog worse. As temperatures rise, power plants pump out more emissions.”


April 26, 2017
Prof. Greg Nemet Named 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

Greg Nemet is among 35 distinguished scholars, journalists and authors chosen as Andrew Carnegie Fellows this year from 200 nominees across the country. Fellows receive up to $200,000 in funding to support them during a research sabbatical. Nemet’s project, “How Did Solar Become Inexpensive?” examines unanswered questions about the costs associated with solar energy. 


April 14, 2017
Jonathan Patz gives National Academy of Sciences Keynote

Jonathan Patz spoke at the meeting  Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Communities in a Changing Climate in March 2017. 


February 20, 2017
Holloway Presents Talk at annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Meeting

Professor Tracey Holloway leads a group of 13 researchers drawn together as NASA's Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST) who are trying to step outside their community of atmospheric scientists and satellite experts to provide space-based tools to relative laypeople -- and to put those new users in a position to shape the way satellite data is collected and used. 


February 15, 2017
Livestream Climate and Health Meeting 2/16/17

Jonathan Patz, Director of UW-Madison’s Global Health Institute (GHI) and SAGE Professor, joins former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Climate Reality Project, global health programs at the University of Washington and Harvard, and Howard Frumkin, former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health, to host the meeting that will be livestreamed beginning at 8 a.m. (CT), Thursday, February 16. Jonathan Patz moderates the panel discussion “Connecting Climate Change and Public Health: State of the Science". 


February 14, 2017
Tyler Lark Receives UW-Madison Innovation in Teaching Award

To recognize excellence on the part of TAs across campus, each year the College of Letters & Science, with support from the Graduate School, administers awards for exceptional teaching by graduate students. This year, Tyler Lark was awarded the Innovation in Teaching Award for his recently-developed Environmental Studies capstone course focused on reducing food waste and for  helping to integrate new project-based learning components into existing Geography and Environmental Studies courses.


February 11, 2017
Mallika Nocco Awarded Smith Conservation Postdoctoral Fellowship

Mallika Nocco, an Environment and Resources Ph.D. student in Dr. Chris Kucharik's lab was recently awarded a prestigious 2-year 2017 David H. Smith Conservation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship which carries $150,000 funding. This is a very competitive award and only 5 fellowships were awarded this year. Mallika will defend this summer and start on her postdoc in September. Her project title is “Water scarcity amidst abundance: A call for adaptive strategies to manage freshwaters, forests, and irrigated agroecosystems throughout sandy aquifers in the Northern Great Lake States.” She will be mentored by Dr. Tracy Twine (U of M), Dr. Mike Fienen (USGS), Dr. Christel Kern (USDA Forest Service), and Dr. Chris Kucharik (UW-Madison).  Congratulations, Mallika!


February 04, 2017
Patz Gives University of Vermont Burack Distinguished Lecture Series Talk

Professor Jonathan Patz presented "Confronting the Global Climate Crisis: Likely the quickest way to save lives and promote health around the world" on Jan 26, 2017, at the University of Vermont. 


January 24, 2017
Prof Greg Nemet Interviewed on WPR

Professor Greg Nemet was interviewed on WPR's Larry Mieller show on Public Policy's Impact on Clean Energy. Energy is something we don’t often think about, but it impacts everything we do – in fact, our very lives depend on it. To ensure the U.S. has sufficient energy tomorrow requires constant upgrades to technology today, according to our guests. A look at how public policy impacts the development of energy sources.    


January 20, 2017
The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) Wins 2017 AMS Special Award in Seattle

The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) was awarded a 2017 AMS Special Award in Seattle For its  inspirational commitment to broadening the participation of women in the Earth sciences, providing a supportive environment for peer mentoring and for professional development. Prof. Tracey Holloway co-founded ESWN and serves as president.


January 09, 2017
State’s Revised Climate Change Statement "Simply Incorrect,” Say UW scientists

In an op-ed in Isthmus, Jonathan Patz and other prominent scientists at UW-Madison say that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ revised statement on climate change is “simply incorrect.” “The original wording accurately reflected our knowledge about climate change and its causes, emphasizing the need for the Wisconsin DNR to focus on climate change impacts to protect and manage Wisconsin’s natural resources. The revised statement fails to mention either human-caused climate change or science, but manages to imply that changes in climate are natural, mysterious, and driven by causes that stir debate among climate scientists. In fact, the revised version is simply incorrect.”