Bill Schlesinger

billsWilliam H. Schlesinger is one of the nation’s leading ecologists and earth scientists and a passionate advocate for translating science for lay audiences. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he has served as dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke and president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.  He lives in Down East Maine and Durham, N.C. and continues to analyze the impacts of humans on the chemistry of our natural environment.






5 thoughts on “Bill Schlesinger

  1. Dear Professor Schlesinger,

    My cousin Ben Emory of Bar Harbor, Maine, follows your blog – Ben is the author of “Sailor for the Wild” about his career in land conservation. He recently suggested that you might be interested in reviewing my book, “Fighting Pollution and Climate Change: An EPA Veteran’s Guide How to Join in Saving our Live on Planet Earth,” about which he wrote this:

    “In this election year all voters should be reading Richard Emory’s discussion of the environmental emergency facing our planet Earth and pondering his clearly presented, practical, informed proposals to address the major issues. An account of his fascinating career as a senior EPA attorney providing dedicated, even in his words “joyful,” service to the nation, “Fighting Pollution and Climate Change” is paradoxically deeply disturbing and often quite entertaining. It is enlivened by his personal experiences in the “deep state.” A brilliant new book for this fraught time in history, it will educate the older generations even as it castigates them and the politicians they have elected for failure to act, and it should inspire younger readers to consider environmental careers. ”

    This book tells us that it is about what it takes, domestically and globally, to apply the science-based laws and treaties for environmental protection. The book is outstanding in its authenticity, scope, and its focus on results, personal growth, and civic action. This book may be the first written by an EPA “doer,” an insider who is not just an outside observer and commentator. The author is our nation’s former top legal advisor directly responsible for all EPA federal investigations into pollution crime. He completed his EPA career by working for 17 years in foreign assistance to “export” these tools from the U.S. to share with the then waiting world. His book concludes by addressing fossil fuels. They create the biggest air pollution problem yet, already worsening our weather while we stumble on toward climate chaos.

    With best wishes, and we still have a planet to save.

    Richard Emory

  2. Bill,
    Cherry picking shamelessly from your March 2019 Plastics at Sea post, you state, “It is best to avoid one-use plastics, in bags and packages. And plastic items should never be cast willy-nilly to the environment. Rather, more thoughtful disposal will include recycling and collection of trash destined for incineration, where at least the energy content of the plastic can be put to good use. Landfills are a less desirable option, but better than no collection at all.”

    Most of this I agree with. The alternative I would suggest is that in an era when our Prime Directive should be minimization of CO2 release/maximization of carbon sequestration, would we not be better to store the plastic’s reduced carbon in a landfill, rather than turn it back into CO2 by burning it? Yes, there could be some avoided fossil fuel use if the combustion heat was used efficiently, but that is currently rare. And expensive. And expensive really means energy intensive.

  3. Hi Bill,
    I’m a 17 year old from the UK, and I’m writing an extended piece on the effect of food on the climate. This led me to “How Green Is Your Milk?” which I foundry insightful. However I was wondering if you could briefly shed some light on a statistic you quoted.
    you said:
    “Per kilogram of protein ingested, however, the emissions from almond milk (0.92 kg CO2 per kg protein) are much higher than soy milk (0.12 kg/kg protein) and dairy milk (0.07 kg/kg protein).”
    Surely for the “0.07” cannot be true given that there are “1.39 kilograms of CO2-equivalents to the atmosphere for every liter produced” of cows milk?
    Thank you very much,

    1. Interesting point. The CO2 release per liter came from Clune et al. (2017). The CO2 release per kg of protein came from Grant and Hicks (2018). My suspicion is that one of these groups made an error with their units. I suspect that each of the values for per kg of protein should be multiplied by 1000. The relative comparison would remain the same.

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