Dr. Hanson’s presentation will be centered on intertwined social and ecological challenges. In recent years, ecologists have raised alarms for the rising “brown tide” of sargassum seaweed onto coasts in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Due to global environmental change factors in the ocean, the size and amount of floating sargassum seaweed plants is dramatically increasing each year, along with the frequency and intensity of tropical storms that push the sargassum ashore. As if this weren’t enough, plastic pollution and hazardous waste from all around the world is transported onto beaches with the seaweed after mixing together in the mid-Atlantic.
These combined threats to coastal ecosystems and livelihoods (e.g. tourism, fishing, conservation) also bring to the surface questions of gendered environmental responsibility. Dr. Hanson’s research with women’s environmental health organizations in Yucatán, Mexico highlights how, in small coastal cities where both tourism and plastic debris are more common, higher expectations for environmental responsibility were placed on marginalized groups based on gender, race, and geographical location.
Dr. Hanson has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona. She also holds an MA in Latin American Studies and BA in Anthropology and Spanish. Dr. Hanson teaches courses in sustainable development, urban sustainability, political ecology, environmental justice, and environmental social sciences and humanities. She is author and co-editor of A Political Ecology of Women, Water, and Global Environmental Change (Routledge, 2015). Her current interdisciplinary research is focused on three projects: (1) gender, water, sanitation and hygiene as related to environmental change, tourism and plastic pollution, and urban sustainable development in coastal Mexico and the Caribbean; (2) citizen science and pollution prevention strategies in Central Illinois waterways; (3) environmental justice and inclusive regional sustainability in Illinois and the Great Lakes region.
Tuesday, April 13th at 7pm
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Meeting ID: 891 9912 9655