Salton Sea Sustainability Issues Addressed

pelicans at the Salton Sea

Sustainability issues of the Salton Sea will be discussed Nov. 10. Photo courtesy of USGS

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Created by accident and once a popular tourist destination, the Salton Sea has been the receptacle for run-off of salt, fertilizers and pesticides from the nearly half a million acres of agricultural land that surrounds it. The Salton Sea Initiative at the University of California, Irvine is a multidisciplinary group investigating the sustainability challenges that face the Salton Sea region.

The Center for Ideas and Society at UC Riverside will host a panel on the ecological challenges facing the sea and the communities that surround it on Monday, Nov. 10, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in College Building South. The event is free and open to the public. Parking permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

The panel will feature Gregor Yanega, an ornithologist and academic advisor for the Salton Sea Initiative at UCI; Mark Matsumoto, UCR professor of chemical and environmental engineering; and Michael Anderson, UCR professor of soil chemistry.

The Salton Sea is one of the world’s largest inland seas and, at -227 feet below sea level, one of the lowest places on Earth. It is located in a geological depression between the Imperial and Coachella valleys that has alternated between freshwater lake, saline lake, and dry desert basin for hundreds of thousands of years.

The current sea formed when the Colorado River breached canal gates leading into the Imperial Valley in 1905-06. Marine life was introduced and the Salton Sea became a popular tourist destination during the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. It remains an important stopover for migratory birds. However, increasing salinity in the last half of the 20th century has left the Salton Sea uninhabitable by most marine fish.

In 2013 UC Irvine established the Salton Sea Initiative to help address multiple sustainability issues facing the region, among them desalination, biological remediation, nutrient removal, public health issues, economic development, land use, and water allocation.

The Salton Sea panel is part of a series of lectures, seminars and workshops the Center for Ideas and Society will present in 2014-15 exploring “the nature of nature” in a world where the distinctions between what is natural and man-made grow increasingly blurred, said Georgia Warnke, professor of political science and director of the center.

This exploration includes a collaboration with Proteus Gowanus, an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room in Brooklyn, N.Y., that supports artists and non-artists in creative engagement with a diverse public, she said.

“The initiative and the Proteus series will ask the question, ‘What is natural?’” Warnke explained. “The institutions will share speakers and resources in order to examine the premises, presuppositions and concerns behind efforts to restore native plant habitats, to reintroduce wild species into environments from which they have been displaced, to re-create extinct species, to re-create ourselves and more.”

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2017-05-18T17:30:43+00:00 October 31st, 2014|Categories: News|

Immunologist to Discuss Ebola Nov. 4

Ilhem Messaoudi will explain history of current outbreak, prospects for treatments and vaccines

Ilhem Messaoudi

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The history of Ebola virus infections that led to the outbreak in West Africa this year and prospects for new treatments and vaccines will be discussed in a lecture presented at UC Riverside on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Ilhem Messaoudi, an associate professor in the Division of Biomedical Sciences at UCR, will discuss “Ebola 2014: Facts and Myths & Are We at Risk?” at 4 p.m. in Interdisciplinary South 1113.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested, however, as seating is limited. RSVP to Parking permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

The event is co-sponsored by the UCR Center for Ideas and Society and the School of Public Policy.

Messaoudi studies host-pathogen interactions in a variety of viral infection models including herpesvirus (herpes simplex I, simian varicella virus, varicella zoster virus), orthopoxvirus (monkeypox), flavivirus (yellow fever), alphavirus (chickungunya), orthomyxovirus (influenza.

She will provide an overview of Ebola virus structure and how the disease develops, followed by the history of Ebola virus infections leading to the outbreak that has spread beyond West Africa to Europe and the United States. She also will discuss projections for the current outbreak and development in vaccine and therapeutics.

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2017-05-18T17:30:43+00:00 October 24th, 2014|Categories: News|

Seminars to Explore Diversity at UCR, Southern California

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards $208,000 grant to Center for Ideas and Society

By on October 10, 2014

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside’s Center for Ideas and Society has been awarded a $208,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a two-year series of seminars exploring diversity at UCR and in Southern California.

The seminar series – “Advancing Intercultural Studies” – will examine changing perceptions of ethnic, cultural and cosmopolitan identities, the practices of immigrant religions and developments in civic and political engagement, said Georgia Warnke, distinguished professor of political science and director of the center.

As one of the most diverse public research universities in the country, UCR is uniquely positioned to explore questions about the benefits and challenges of diversity, she said, among them, “how do we capture the contributions of a diverse student population, and how do we enhance learning from that?”

Because of UCR’s undergraduate demographics – 42 percent are under-represented minorities – the inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students in the seminars is important in its creation of a pipeline to increase the diversity of American university and college faculty, Warnke said.

Georgia Warnke

“The seminars of ‘Advancing Intercultural Studies’would help prepare UCR undergraduates for the sort of work they will do in graduate school by offering them the opportunity to interact with faculty and graduate students as equal partners in a scholarly inquiry while, at the same time, providing mentorship support for their research endeavors,” she explained.

“And, as colleges and universities in the 21st century come to mirror the diversity of UCR, it will be critical that future faculty participate in developing multi-cultural and multi-ethnic ways of thinking, researching and teaching.”

The first of four quarterly seminars will begin meeting in January. Each seminar will be composed of four faculty members, and four graduate and four undergraduate students, each of whom will write a paper based on research produced during the quarter. The seminars are not open to the public, but a concluding conference in spring 2016 will be held at UCR’s Culver Center in downtown Riverside and will be a public event.
Seminar topics are:

  • “Beyond Diversity: Are We There Yet?” – This seminar examines the contours, challenges and opportunities of UCR’s diversity. Through student surveys, interviews, focus group discussions and the insights of student participants, the seminar will explore the ways in which diversity continues to change UCR in creating new forms of research and teaching. Winter 2015.
  • “The Public Practice of Immigrant and Minority Religions in Southern California” – Focusing on expressions of religious hybridity and the politics of cultural appropriation, this seminar will examine how diverse minority and immigrant communities in the multi-ethnic urban context of Southern California inhabit, claim and contest sacred and cultural spaces. Spring 2015.
  • “Civic and Political Engagement” – Historically, immigrants along with Native Americans and African Americans have had a difficult time exercising the idea of citizens as democratic participants. This seminar explores the question of what it means to be an American in terms of the civic and political participation of immigrant communities and minority citizens. Fall 2015.
  • “Migration, Displacement and Movement” – This seminar adopts the perspective of the person on the move and takes advantage of the number of scholars and students at UCR in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, Mediterranean Studies, social history and economic theory. Winter 2016.
  • Conference – A two-day, culminating event at the Culver Center will be held in conjunction with the Department of Art’s annual Senior Show.

The New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities; Arts and Cultural Heritage; Scholarly Communications; Diversity; and International Higher Education and Strategic Projects.

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2017-05-18T17:30:43+00:00 October 10th, 2014|Categories: News|

“Surfing the Middle East” Author to Speak Oct. 22

jesse aizenstat
Journalist, filmmaker, author and surfer Jesse Aizenstat will deliver the Mosten Lecture on Oct. 22.
Photo courtesy of Jesse Aizenstat
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Jesse Aizenstat, author of “Surfing the Middle East: Deviant Journalism from the Lost Generation,” will present the Forrest S. Mosten Lecture in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at UC Riverside on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. in Humanities 411.

His lecture, “Surfing the Middle East: Finding Your Life’s Work After Graduation,” is free and open to the public. Parking permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive near University Avenue.

Aizenstat is a journalist, filmmaker, award-winning author, and avid surfer. When he graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2009 with no job prospects, he decided to cover surfing in the Middle East as a freelance journalist.

The book that resulted from that experience “is both educational about the politics of the Middle East and adventurous in how it reads,” said UCR theater professor Erith Jaffe-Berg. “‘Surfing the Middle East’ is a page-turner which brings together the unlikely subjects of surfing and politics. Jesse explores what it means to forge connections among different peoples in war-torn regions while catching waves in an unlikely part of the world. As a UCSB graduate, Jesse also models how a recent college graduate initiates a career opportunity for himself by combining his interests and passions.”

Aizenstat’s lecture is offered in conjunction with Jaffe-Berg’s course “Staging the Middle East,” which is offered as part of the Peace and Conflict Studies program, the Middle East and Islamic Studies program and the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production.

The lecture is sponsored by the UCR Center for Ideas and Society through a generous gift by Forrest and Jodi Mosten. The lecture series is named for Forrest S. (Woody) Mosten, a Los Angeles attorney who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCR in 1969.

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2017-05-18T17:30:43+00:00 October 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|