What is happening close to home?


The Nobel Conference brings students, educators and members of the general public together with the leading thinkers of our time, to explore revolutionary, transformative and pressing scientific questions and the ethical issues that arise with them.

In spring 2019, the Nobel Conference sent out a call to members of the Gustavus community—faculty, staff and students—asking them for stories about how their research connects to climate change. “Connect” might mean that they do direct research on climate change or on its impacts. However, it might also mean that climate change has required them to relocate their research, or redesign it, as a result of climate change effects. It might also mean that the researcher is thinking about their work differently, because of what they’re learning about and experiencing with climate change.

Here are some of the replies we received to that question—from poets and geographers, political scientists and geologists. Take a look!

Nathan Baring
Gustavus student Nathan Baring from Fairbanks, Alaska, is one of the plaintiffs suing the federal government in the landmark climate change lawsuit Juliana v. United States

Blake Couey
Religion Professor at Gustavus using his training in biblical interpretation to counter those using the Bible to oppose climate change.

Annika Ericksen
A cultural and environmental anthropologist at Gustavus doing research in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. 

Rebecca Taylor Fremo
Professor in the English department is working on a new project, tentatively titled Growing Things, explores the specificity of place.

Bailey Hilgren
Did a master's thesis, entitled "The Music of Science: Environmentalist Data Sonifications, Interdisciplinary Art, and the Narrative of Climate Change," which explored three "sound works" that translated climate change data into sound.

Jeff Jeremiason 
Chemestry professor and chair of the environmental studies program at Gustavus. His current research focuses on mercury and lead in the environment.

Yuta Kawarasaki 
Biology professor who does research on the Antarctic midge, a tiny insect found on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Pamela Kittelson
Professor of biology has conducted research and published an article on how climate is shifting flowering time to earlier dates in the northern Rockies.

Jeff La Frenierre
Geography professor doing glacier research on Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo which was featured in a new BBC program called Earth From Space. 

Dan Oachs 
Member of the Gustavus Technology Services department cares for the bike trails at the Treaty Site History Center along the Minnesota River and is recording flood levels. 

Ben Rorem
This 2019 graduate and physics major spent two summers doing research - on wind turbines and nanocrystals.

Melissa Rolnick
Associate professor of dance and created a piece in 2018 which explored the effects of climate change.

Alex Theship Rosales
This 2019 Environmental Studies and Religious Studies major created his first film, “To Walk Alongside: Awakening Spiritual Ecology” which explores how an individual’s spiritual tradition shapes their responses to climate change.

Laura Triplett 
Faculty member in the geology department and the environmental studies program is conducting a major 4-year study of the environmental quality in the Seven Mile Creek watershed near St. Peter, to determine whether farmer's best management practices can reduce pollution. This watershed, along with all of southern Minnesota, is being impacted by an increased frequency of "mega-storms" due to climate change. These events damage crops and cause erosion and landslides.