By Lisa Romero, BIO5 Institute
A 2014 winner of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, UA’s Diana Liverman will help identify solutions that eliminate poverty and reduce emissions.
University of Arizona professor Diana Liverman is among the 178 scientists, artists and scholars from the United States and Canada to receive a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship Award.
Liverman, co-director of the Institute of the Environment and Regents’ Professor in the School of Geography and Development, will use her one-year fellowship to write a book on poverty and climate change in the Americas.
She is the third UA Institute of the Environment researcher to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship; Jonathan Overpeck, the institute's co-director and newly appointed Regents' Professor in the Department of Geosciences, received the honor in 2005 and marine ecologist Rafe Sagarin was named a fellow in 2011.
Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for those “who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts," according to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Liverman’s project will “synthesize 20 years of research by me, my colleagues and my students,” she said. “I’ll ask how the poor experience the warming world and how climate policy can respond in ways that reduce the risks of climate change and move people out of poverty.
Climate extremes, such as droughts and floods, have been shown to have more serious impacts on low-income populations because they are generally more vulnerable, living in poor-quality housing or dangerous areas because they cannot afford to live in safer places and lack the resources to recover from disasters,” Liverman added.
She plans to leave in late summer for her year-long sabbatical. Her goal is to identify solutions that eliminate poverty, reduce emissions and help people adapt to climate change.
Liverman plans to outline policies that work with communities to reduce climate risks through a variety of programs, such as small-scale irrigation and water conservation, shade, mobility and warning systems.
“I’m honored and thrilled,” she said on receiving the award. “I’m particularly grateful for the freedom it offers me during my sabbatical to write and do research. I’m pleased to be part of this group and happy to be among other geographers who have received this award.”
Liverman’s research focuses on the human and social dimensions of environmental issues, including vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, environmental change and food security and international climate and environmental policy. For her work, she has received the Royal Geographical Society’s Founders Gold Medal and the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Association of American Geographers.
She also chaired the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change and sat on science advisory committees for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change and the National Climate Assessment.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was established in 1925 by former U.S. Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim to "add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding." The foundation has granted more than $315 million in fellowships to nearly 17,700 people, including Nobel laureates, poets laureate and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the Field Medal and other honors.