2020-2021 Academic Year

News and Highlights in December 2020

The Rutgers Department of Environmental Sciences has been awarded a 2020 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Environmental Education (Educator Led) category. Professor Donna Fennell, who chairs the department, accepted the award on behalf of the department, reports Newsroom. View her acceptance speech here.


RCI Affiliate and N.J. State Climatologist Dave Robinson will kick off a new environmental education initiative "Option Green: Climate Change & Community," reports Patch. The series will be held virtually through the East Brunswick Public Library. The first program will be a discussion of the PBS documentary "Decoding the Weather Machine."

A new Rutgers study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on commercial fishing in the Northeast, reports Rutgers Today. "The pandemic is just the latest threat for a sector coping with climatic pressures, overfishing, the legacies of oil spills and extreme events, and fishery management policies," said co-author and RCI Affiliate Victoria Ramenzoni. "It is important to isolate these responses to identify the true cost of adaptation."


New Rutgers-led research examining projections of climate-driven redistribution of marine species finds that planning ahead protects fish and fisheries, reports Rutgers Today. According to the study, making plans now to cope with climate change will increase the effectiveness of conservation of fish and other marine life migrating from warming ocean waters and also protect commercial fisheries. “Sticking our heads in the sand doesn’t work,” said lead author and RCI Affiliate Malin Pinsky. “Effective ocean planning that accounts for climate change will lead to better safeguards for marine fish and commercial fisheries with few tradeoffs.”

Headshot of Malin Pinsky

According to a report by a Princeton-led research group, among coastal states, New Jersey has the most affordable-housing units exposed to sea-level rise, reports NJ Spotlight. “While people and assets in virtually all coastal areas face some degree of risk from coastal flooding, the exposure of low-lying affordable housing is of particular concern,” wrote the report’s authors. NJ Spotlight also mentioned the New Jersey Climate Change Research Center’s report “A Seat at the Table,” which identified poverty and other factors as heightening the vulnerability of certain residents to climate change and how to integrate vulnerable groups into coastal hazard planning.