President-elect Barack Obama has announced the appointment of oceanic climate change expert Dr. Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This may be his most important administrative appointment yet.
Dr. Lubchenco first came to my attention in the summer of 2002, when she was being interviewed about the dead zones showing up off the Oregon coast. She is a professor of oceanic biology and zoology at Oregon State University, so not only was she then one of the best-versed experts on the effects of climate change on the oceans, she had a high level of local knowledge.
Prof. Lubchenco is an unabashed environmentalist. She named a program she administered the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program. According to Oregon State University, the program, "teaches outstanding academic environmental scientists to be effective leaders and communicators of scientific information to the public, policy makers, the media and the private sector." She will be managing that program until she takes her new job in January.
Lubchenco got her bachelors degree at Colorado College, her Masters in Zoology from the University of Washington, and her PhD in Ecology at Harvard.
At the University of Washington, she was one of the important proteges of Dr. Gordon Orians, an early critic of environmental practices by big industry.
Orians was one of the first to question the efficacy of Agent Orange, its health hazards on Read the rest of this entry →