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Take an already stressed water supply system. Add climate change to the mix. You now have a recipe for significant challenges that not only affect water use—but also its availability.

Compromised wetlands, freshwater coastal aquifers, and housing and transportation infrastructure; reduced supplies of surface and groundwater; climate-related health threats like waterborne and water-related diseases—all these challenges and more can be traced back to rising sea levels, increased acidity of surface ocean water, bigger and more violent storm surges, and more frequent and severe weather and climate occurrences like extreme temperatures, torrential rains, and droughts that a majority of those in the scientific community attribute to climate change.

In his Facebook Live interview on May 31, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Environmental Management Program Chair and Professor Robert Ouellette talked about the “environmental injustice” that makes the threat posed by climate change more pronounced for the nation’s most vulnerable populations, and the paradigm shift he believes is required to manage water resources in the face of climate change both here at home and across the globe.

Ouellette was asked about a quote by Harvard Psychology Professor Daniel Gilbert that he cited in a paper on the politics of climate change, which he co-authored with UMUC faculty colleague John Munro.  “Many environmentalists say climate change is happening too fast. No, it’s happening too slowly.”

What did Gilbert mean by that? Ouellette’s answer might surprise you. Watch the full interview here.

About Robert Ouellette

Dr. Ouellette is an educator and senior professional with extensive knowledge of science, technology and business and 35 years’ experience in large and small organizations working in all aspects of environment, energy, resources and information management.

He is the author of 45 books and hundreds of articles on the environment, management techniques, biotechnology, energy, industrial technologies, computers and automation, and his practical hands-on knowledge has made him a sought-after speaker on these topics. Also, he has conducted studies for foreign governments in France, Germany, England and Belgium and has spent considerable time in Europe, where he operated an office from Paris, for several years.

For the last 20 years, Dr. Ouellette has served as a teacher, department chair, and Environmental Management program chair as a UMUC Graduate School faculty member.

Upcoming Thursday Thoughts line-up

  • Innovation in higher education with Peter Smith, UMUC’s Orkand Chair
  • The growing importance of data analytics in all kinds of businesses, with Elena Gortcheva, program chair, Graduate Data Analytics
Previously on Thursday Thoughts

The May 17 series premiere featured Jeff Tjiputra, UMUC’s chair of Cloud Computing Architecture, who discussed the advantages and disadvantages of businesses increasingly migrating their data to the cloud, and the importance of understanding cloud computing and the services associated with it. Watch the interview, “The Cloud: What Is It and How Does It Work?” here.

Thursday Thoughts airs every other Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on UMUC’s Facebook page.