Barbara Schaal, PhD, vice president of the National Academy of Sciences and world-renowned evolutionary plant biologist, has long felt that the climate debate has not been moving forward fast enough.
Schaal, recently appointed U.S. Science Envoy by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.
When Schaal took over as director of WUSTL’s Tyson Research Center last summer, she felt she had been handed a golden opportunity to act on her climate concerns. At the research center, which includes 2,000 acres of woods, prairie, ponds and savannas located some 20 miles southwest of the Danforth Campus, dozens of WUSTL faculty and students study ecology, biodiversity and restoration management.
Tyson also boasts one of the nation’s best examples of a living building, a ultra green facility that serves as a model for ways to move a building’s economic impact toward zero. The Living Learning Center, one of the first certified “living buildings” in the world, is designed to require zero energy and zero water from outside sources over the course of a year.
Schaal also is leading an ongoing I-CARES discussion at WUSTL on the topic of climate change, including interdisciplinary explorations of issues related to energy, biodiversity, agriculture, economics, national security, the future of coastal regions, and international relations and other environmental issues posing the greatest challenges to future human well-being.