Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene: Christopher B. Barrett

February 22, 2017 — "Poverty Traps, Resilience, and Coupled Human-Natural Systems" with Christopher B. Barrett, Cornell University

Christopher B. Barrett is the Deputy Dean and Dean of Academic Affairs at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management and International Professor of Agriculture in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, as well as Professor in the Department of Economics and a Fellow of the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, all at Cornell University. His research focuses on the interrelationship between poverty, food insecurity and environmental stress in developing areas. His most recent book, Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability, highlights the nexus between global food prices and political unrest in low- and middle-income countries.


Since the retreat of glaciers poleward over 10,000 years ago, humans have left an ever increasing fingerprint on ecological systems across the globe. The environment is now dominated by people—approximately 1/3 of land area has been transformed for human use and 1/4 of global productivity diverted to human consumption. While concepts such as wilderness attempt to escape this reality, there is virtually no habitat on earth devoid of some sign of humans influence on the globe—be it chemical, thermal, or a missing or introduced species. Today, this imprint is so pronounced that scientists are actively debating naming a new geological epoch demarcated by the sign of humans on the earth system itself: the Anthropocene.

In the shadow of this debate, the HUCE seminar series, Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene, will examine the future of social-environmental systems in a globe heavily impacted by humans. Each year the series will present a set of speakers and events (e.g., seminars, panels, debates) focused on one perspective under this theme. The theme for the first year is "Biological Poverty: Human imprints on the tree of life."

Learn more about the series and future events.