UMass Boston

John Duff

SFE - Dean's Office
ISC Floor 02

Areas of Expertise

Environmental Law; Ocean and Coastal Management & Policy; Professional and Scientific Communication


LLM, University of Washington School of Law, 1995 (Law and Marine Affairs)
MA, University of Mississippi, 1997 (Journalism and Mass Communications)
JD, Suffolk University School of Law, 1990
BSBA, University of Lowell, 1985 (Management)

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

John Duff’s Role as the Inaugural Living on Earth Faculty Fellow

As noted on the Living on Earth web page:

Living on Earth with host Steve Curwood is the weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International. Every week approximately 250 public radio stations broadcast Living on Earth’s news, features, interviews, and commentary on a broad range of ecological issues.   

With the arrival of Living on Earth at UMass Boston, faculty members with expertise and interest in environmental issues have a unique opportunity to engage in research and production that results in the broadcast of radio segments that air weekly to half a million listeners. The segments are also made accessible via the web where they gain additional listenership. To provide Living on Earth with the expertise and energy of faculty, UMass Boston and the LOE production team have created a faculty fellowship. Professor John Duff served as the inaugural faculty fellow to the program. His work is featured in a range of segments including those listed below:

John Duff, co-producer, "U.S. House Votes on New Fishing Rules" (originally aired June 5, 2015)

Before 1976, global fishing was largely unregulated and foreign trawlers were depleting American fisheries, providing the impetus for the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Act’s strong federal management standards implemented by regional councils have helped national fish stocks recover. But as Andrew Rosenberg of the Union of Concerned Scientists tells host Steve Curwood, the act is up for reauthorization, and the changes passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives would improve monitoring but could also weaken protections. (7:10)

John Duff, co-producer, "Meeting the Challenge of Plastic Marine Debris" (originally aired June 5, 2015)

Plastic is an indispensable material in the daily lives of millions, but as it makes its way into our oceans its global ubiquity poses a serious threat to marine ecosystems. Host Steve Curwood speaks with Dr. Sandra Whitehouse, a biological oceanographer and a senior policy advisor for the Ocean Conservancy, about where most of the pollution comes from and what the United States can do to get a grip on its own plastic problem. (6:05)

John Duff, co-producer and photographer, "Testing Boston Harbor for Plastic" (originally aired June 5, 2015)

Boston Harbor has undergone a historic cleanup over recent decades, but little is known about the nature of pollution from microplastics. These tiny plastic particles are everywhere in the world’s oceans, and scientists believe they’re a major threat to wildlife and human health. UMass Boston graduate student Tyler O’Brien tests the waters for these particles down at Savin Cove and explains the process, and how it could help us better understand the extent of microplastic pollution.

John Duff, co-producer, "The High Cost of Cleaning Up Boston Harbor" (originally aired June 5, 2015)

Over budget and behind schedule, engineers raced to complete Boston’s Deer Island Treatment Plant. The final step before the treated wastewater outfall tunnel could be operational was to remove the plugs to release the cleaned water into the sea. Author Neil Swidey’s book Trapped Under the Sea relates the story of the five men who were sent on this ill-planned and untested task. Swidey joins host Steve Curwood on Deer Island to explain what went wrong, and the lessons learned.

John Duff, co-producer and interviewer, "Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies" (originally aired May 2, 2015)

The Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California teems with marine life and container ships, both competing for space. Whale fatalities from ship-strikes and polluting emissions from ships are both high. Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control’s Mary Byrd explains to Living on Earth’s John Duff that local officials and ship interests are co-operating there to improve air quality and protect endangered whales.

John Duff, co-producer, "The GOP’s Lonely Climate Warrior" (originally aired May 2, 2015)

Bob Inglis, a six-term Republican Congressman from South Carolina, knew that addressing climate change wasn't going to be popular within his party, and his strong stance on global warming helped a Tea Party challenger beat him in a primary in 2010. But Representative Inglis’s efforts have won him the JFK Library Foundation’s Profiles in Courage Award. Bob Inglis discusses the award with host Steve Curwood and explains why the climate became his top priority and why more conservatives need to get on board.

John Duff, production associate, "Leading at the Top of the World" (originally aired May 2, 2015)

The U.S .recently took the reins of the Arctic Council, a group of 8 arctic nations and observers, which helps craft environmental and social policy for the region. As the Arctic warms, it opens the ocean there for navigation and oil and gas exploration. Mead Treadwell, the former Lt. Governor of Alaska tells host Steve Curwood there are many areas of co-operation among the arctic nations, but also issues that create tension and rivalry.

John Duff, co-producer, "Obama Slashes Federal Global Warming Gases" (originally aired March 27, 2015)

President Obama orders the US government to slash federal global warming gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. The Obama Administration also cuts off disaster preparedness funding for those states that refuse to acknowledge the risks of climate disruption. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ climate policy manager Rachel Cleetus discusses these policies with host Steve Curwood.

John Duff, co-producer, "New Jersey’s Low-ball Environmental Settlement (originally aired March 13, 2015)

The State of New Jersey has agreed to settle an $8.9 billion environmental damage claim against ExxonMobil for $225 million. It’s the largest settlement in the State’s history, but former New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell tells host Steve Curwood it’s just pennies on the dollar and nowhere near enough to compensate state residents for loss of natural resources including wetland services. (10:00)

John Duff,co- producer, "Presidential Hopefuls and Climate Change" (originally aired February 27, 2015)

As the planet heats up, so does the race for the 2016 presidential election. The National Journal’s energy reporter, Clare Foran, talks with host Steve Curwood about leading Republican contenders and their views on climate change and how that could impact their viability as candidates. (10:20)

John Duff, reporter and producer and photographer, "Harvard Divestment Case in Court" (originally aired February 27, 2015)

On February 20, 2015, Harvard students got their chance in court to plead their case for the university to dump its fossil fuel investments. UMass Boston Associate Professor of Environmental Law and Policy and Living on Earth Fellow John Duff was in court, and tells host Steve Curwood about the hearing and the broader context of the case. (4:40)

John Duff, co-producer, "Harvard Sued Over Fossil Fuel Investments" (originally aired February 20, 2015)

Harvard students and faculty have been calling for the University to rid its endowment portfolio of fossil fuel investments, to little avail. Now in a novel case, Harvard students have sued their institution in a bid to force divestment. Plaintiff and Harvard Law student Kelsey Skaggs tells host Steve Curwood about the suit and the importance of fighting climate change for future generations. (5:40)


Read John Duff's profile on the Sea Grant marine careers opportunities page.