UMass Boston Launches the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security
July 21, 2010
Office of Communications
The University of Massachusetts Boston has announced the opening of its new Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security, which will work toward addressing the emerging interconnected challenges presented by global climate change, altered coastal oceans, and evolving human and national security needs.
Located in UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center, this public/private “think tank” brings together policy-makers, scientific researchers, industry representatives, nonprofit organizations, and students to work to inform and influence policy, management, and public stewardship of our planet’s critical natural and socioeconomic resources.
The Collaborative Institute, with its unique focus on the intersections of oceans, climate, and security, is the first of its kind in the country. It provides an opportunity for UMass Boston to take a dramatic lead in an arena that is highly compatible with its existing research strengths in ocean and environmental science, policy, management, and social justice.
“The Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security seeks to expand on the emerging awareness of policymakers in the defense and intelligence communities that climate and ocean change are critical factors in our human and national security considerations,” said Executive Director Robbin Peach. “Founded on the principle that through collaborative alliances we can better address threats that continue to mount as climate and oceans drastically change, the institute exists to develop and communicate high-value intellectual policy and technical expertise to help stabilize the health of our atmosphere, marine ecosystems, and coastal communities.”
The creation of the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security underscores the university’s recognition that broader resources and collaboration among different institutions and nations are needed to address the increasing complexity and speed of global change. Unstable climate, environmental degradation, and human security needs (energy, food, fresh water, etc.) are becoming defining factors in our global interdependencies and, consequently, political and military negotiations.
The connections among coastal and marine ecosystems, climate change, and security concerns are innumerable. The ocean, which covers 71 percent of the earth and supplies nearly 20 percent of the average per capita intake of animal protein for more than 2.8 billion people, is rapidly becoming more acidic and biodiversity is declining due to global temperature rise, increased CO2 emissions, and overfishing.
Fifty-three percent of the United States' population lives along the coast, and the military relies on coastal naval bases around the globe to maintain national and international security. As sea levels rise, communities are made vulnerable to encroaching water and more violent offshore storms.
“Our campus is excited about the potential of the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security to increase global understanding of these relationships and inform related policy decisions,” said UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley.
Executive Director Peach has been a senior fellow in the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies and is a founder of the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership. She specializes in creating public-private partnerships that have garnered more than $50 million for the environment.
The Collaborative Institute draws strength from UMass Boston colleges and departments, including the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Management, Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences, Urban Harbors Institute, and Venture Development Center, as well as academic, industry, and nonprofit collaborators around the world.
For more information about the Collaborative Institute, visit its newly launched website at www.umb.edu/ciocs.
About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s seven colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 15,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.