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Cornell Atkinson, EDF partner on three sustainability projects

Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have announced three Innovation for Impact Fund (IIF) awards for research projects that aim to accelerate problem-solving research and catalyze the rapid integration of recent research into effective policy.

The IIF brings together academic and NGO experts and practitioners to develop and test evidence-based solutions to some of the world's more intractable sustainability problems and addresses urgent environmental and public health challenges.  

Cornell Atkinson has supported over 40 IIF Awards since 2012, including more than 20 in partnership with EDF.

“The Innovation for Impact Fund supports research with clear pathways to impact. Partners such as EDF allow for an emphasis on actionable, short-term results,” says Paul Atkinson ’92, Chair of the Cornell Atkinson Advisory Council. “The projects selected this year address the impact of urgent climate issues on humans—including perceptions of climate risk in youth, environmental justice, and agricultural resilience.”

2021 Awardees and Projects:

Capturing Young Children's Comprehension and Emotional Responses to Climate Change: Gary Evans (Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology-CALS) and Elizabeth Brandt (Regional Field Manager, Mom’s Clean Air Force-EDF) will examine attitudes and behaviors among young children regarding global climate change (GCC), to assess their understanding and how it makes them feel. The researchers will then develop GCC curriculum guidelines for early childhood educators in collaboration with Mom’s Clean Air Force and Co-Operative Extension - 4-H.

Addressing Equity in the Army Corps Cost-benefit Analysis Methodology for Flood Protection Infrastructure: Todd Gerarden (Assistant Professor-Dyson) and Dave McLaughlin (Economist-EDF) will document the flooding risks environmental justice communities (EJ) face, engage EJ community activists to help determine food prevention needs, and propose alternatives to the current cost-benefit analysis (CBA) methodology to help mitigate the inequities it perpetuates. The result will be recommendations to the Army Corps and the Office of Management and Budget on improving the current CBA approach based on input from EJ community activists and academic researchers.

Investigating the Financial Impact of Extreme Weather on Midwestern Farmers over Time and by Farming System: Ariel Ortiz-Bobea (Associate Professor-Dyson) and Maggie Monast (Director, Working Lands-EDF) will quantify the effect of variable weather and climate change on farm financial performance, using long-term local data from the Kansas Farm Management Association. The resulting analysis will inform the risk that agricultural lenders face from climate change and the role of lenders in supporting a transition to more resilient farming practices and systems. The researchers plan to engage agricultural lenders for feedback on their analysis in a conference panel on climate change and agricultural financial risk.


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