Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tidball leads NY EDEN efforts to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Sandy

Cornell Cooperative Extension's NY Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), led by Keith Tidball of Cornell Department of Natural Resources, was heavily involved in a blitz of preparedness and readiness disaster education in the days prior to Hurricane Sandy's landfall, and in disaster education dealing with response and recovery after the Hurricane damaged large portions of New York City and Long Island. As a part of these activities, Tidball and other members of the NY EDEN team and the CCE Disaster and All-hazards Response Team (DART) were called upon to provide research-based information to the news media. A sampling is presented below:

NBC News

USA Today

Huff Post

Cornell Chronicle

I100 Classic Rock 


For more information about NY EDEN and Hurricane Sandy, see the NY EDEN Twitter feed or you can visit the NY EDEN Facebook page.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

Tidball recently led a team of 4 researchers from Cornell, funded by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, all of whom participated in a number of activities in Brazil related to the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Team members included Kathy Bunting-Howarth, Josh Cerra, Marianne Krasny, and Tidball.

They all participated in:

Urban Nature 2-day conference in Belo Horizonte
ICLEI World Congress  (a parallel event)—Belo Horizonte
Rio+20—various meetings and presentations as below.
In addition, Keith Tidball is part of the core team from ICLEI, Cornell, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and City of Jerusalem that prepared the Urban Biosphere (URBIS) designation system, which was signed on to by about 50 cities at the ICLEI side events and endorsed by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Finally, Keith organized the entire Cornell delegation’s participation.

Below is a list of specific Cornell contributions.

KEITH TIDBALL—Two presentations and core team member, URBIS

Tidball, KG. History of the Urban Biosphere initiative. ICLEI Urban Nature Forum. Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 14 June 2012.

Tidball, KG. Greening in the Red Zone. Cities and Biodiversity Outlook Workshop. Rio+20 meetings. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 18 June 2012.

KATHY BUNTING-HOWARTH—participant in three RIO+20 events and panelist in third event

Panelist: U.S. Side Event at Rio +20

Putting Words to Action: Implementing the Rio +20 Fisheries Recommendations

Participant: Global Oceans Day at Rio +20 (sponsored by the Global Oceans Forum and IOC-UNESCO) (a parallel event)  –below from attached draft agenda

Participant: Advancing Sustainability through Communication and Collaboration, (an official UN side event hosted by the University of Colorado)

Participant. Oceans at Rio+20: Toward Implementation of the Rio Ocean Commitments  (an official UN side event hosted by International Coastal and Ocean Organization, Secretariat of the Global Oceans Forum)

JOSH CERRA—one presentation

Cerra, J. Urban biodiversity: The contribution of science. ICLEI World Congress. Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 15 June 2012.

MARIANNE KRASNY—three presentations

Krasny, ME. Environmental Education and Social-ecological Systems Theory. ICLEI Urban Nature Forum. Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 14 June 2012.

Krasny, ME. Resilience, Learning, and Environmental Education. ICLEI World Congress. Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 16 June 2012.

Krasny, ME. Urban landscapes as learning arenas for sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Cities and Biodiversity Outlook Workshop. Rio+20 meetings. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 18 June 2012

Those activities included (1) the official launch of the URBIS Initiative at the ICLEI World Congress in Belo Horizonte, (2) the pre-launch of the Cities Biodiversity Outlook at the Global Town Hall in Rio De Janeiro, and (3) interviews of key players in the biodiversity and urban nature arenas such as Oliver Hillel, Kobe Brand, Dr. Braulio Dias, and professor Thomas Elmqvist.

Bringing biodiversity back into cities 

Urban nature, local governance 

Pre-launch Cities and Biodiversity Outlook 

Urbanisation, biodiversity and ecosystems 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Urban Biosphere Initiative- post Rio+20

On 14th June, 2012, during the ICLEI Urban Nature Forum in the City of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, a multidisciplinary group of NGOs, research institutions, international organizations and local governments convened to unveil the Urban Biosphere (URBIS) Initiative – an open network fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration in the design and implementation of participatory, integrated, and sustainable urban development solutions. At a signing ceremony overseen by Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Professor Thomas Elmqvist of Stockholm Resilience Center, Cllr David Cadman, President of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, over 30 organizations joined the network thereby agreeing to, inter alia, contribute good-practice case studies to a global database and participate in learning exchanges known as URBIS Dialogues.

Figure 1. URBIS Initiative signing ceremony on 14 June 2012. The ceremony followed a series of presentations and interactive discussions exploring the history, current developments, practical applications, and future opportunities for Urban Biospheres. 

Firstly, Josh Cerra (Cornell University) facilitated a panel of renowned scientists including Thomas Elmqvist (Stockholm Resilience Center), Marianne Krasny (Cornell University) and Peleg Kremer (The New School) to unearth the science that should feed into policy. They drew from cutting edge research to outline academic advances and aspects of social-ecological systems theory including education and value profiles in urban landscapes. Thereafter, a panel of URBIS partners facilitated by Russell Galt (ICLEI) shed further light on the URBIS initiative. Keith Tidball (Cornell University) charted the history, milestones and development of URBIS before Yoel Siegel (City of Jerusalem) reported on the outcomes of the 1st international URBIS workshop recently hosted by the City of Jerusalem and outlined some good practices implemented in the city. Similarly, Katrin Hammarlund (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation), presented measures taken in the Stockholm Urban Biosphere to conserve and promote the benefits of green infrastructure.

The aforementioned signing ceremony which followed was graced by additional dignitaries including the Commissioner of Hyderabad, Babu M.T. Krishna, whose city will play host to the next CBD Conference of the Parties.

Kobie Brand (ICLEI) stated: “It is most encouraging that so many organizations appreciate the critical role of cities in the sustainability agenda and also recognize the tremendous utility of learning exchanges in spurring collaborative action. This constitutes a major milestone in our collective efforts to engender urban regions with greater social-ecological resilience in the context of global environmental change.”

 Figure 2. Dignitaries in the URBIS ceremony (from left to right): Kumar Emani, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia office; Babu M.T. Krishna, Commissioner of Hyderabad; Gino van Begin, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI; Thomas Elmqvist, Professor, Stockholm Resilience Center; David Cadman, President, ICLEI; Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD Secretariat; Kobie Brand, Global Biodiversity Coordinator, ICLEI; and Oliver Hillel, Programme Officer, CBD Secretariat. Image: R. Galt. 


The concept of urban biosphere (URBIS) emerged amidst increasing awareness that cities are not discrete, self-contained entities, but rather are dynamic nodes of activity, absorbing vast quantities of natural resources, producing massive amounts of waste, interacting profoundly with their encompassing bioregions, and substantially altering both near and distant ecosystems. At the same time, modern cities offer unprecedented and often untapped opportunities for innovation, efficiency-gains, leadership and social organization. The imperative for action to harness such opportunities and render extractive cities more ecologically restorative spurred the birth of an international initiative to address the design and governance of urban regions and surrounding ecosystems. Today, the URBIS initiative comprises a global alliance of partners aspiring to reconcile urban development with the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources – a quest to engender cities with greater social-ecological resilience in the context of global environmental change. The initiative aligns with broader international efforts to implement the ecosystem approach and build inclusive green urban economies. In particular, the initiative seeks to contribute to the achievement of the CBD Aichi Targets, specifically Decision X/22 and the Plan of Action endorsed therein to promote engagement of local governments in the Convention.

The Cities Biodiversity Center of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability hosts the URBIS Secretariat, a role which is executed in close partnership with the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) as Scientific Coordinator and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) as a facilitator between local, sub-national and national governments. Partners include local and sub-national governments, ministries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and individuals. At the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10), in Nagoya, Japan, 2010, a number of additional partners formalized their support for the URBIS initiative by way of a declaration. These partners include Cornell University, the United Nations University (UNU), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation as well as a number of founding cities. More recently, The New School of New York has become an active URBIS partner and several cities including Jerusalem, Sao Paulo, Montreal and Stockholm, have taken a leading role in developing and promoting the initiative. For more information about the URBIS Initiative, see

Sunday, April 29, 2012

WWIAF Field & Stream "Heroes for a Day"

As part of his Federal Formula Funds study Returning Warriors : A Study of the Social-Ecological Benefits of Coming Home to Nature, Tidball recently participated in the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation's habitat restoration activities at Camp Hackett in northern Wisconsin.  This activity was recognized by Field & Stream's Hero for a Day project and was filmed by the Field and Stream crew to be highlighted here.

Local news media also covered the event.  See the below links:



My photographs from the event can be found here:

More photos from the Field & Stream staff, here:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

URBIS in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel recently hosted a 2 day workshop on URBIS - Urban Biospheres, a collaborative program among partners such the Cornell DNR Civic Ecology Lab, the Stockholm Resilience Center, ICLEI, UNESCO, and others.   Keith Tidball was among thirteen international experts in ecology, biodiversity management and community engagement, who convened with over 50 key local professionals to produce strategies for moving forward with an urban biosphere concept that transcends municipal boundaries and is based on cooperation in the region. Their work, using Jerusalem as a case study, is currently being summarized for presentation at the Rio+20 Summit in June. The following are reviews of the workshop and two pieces on the symbolically important swift (apus apus) including a short film documenting the Annual Welcome Ceremony for the Swifts at the Western Wall, which concluded the workshop events:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Greening in the Red Zone Book Interview

Weatherproofing Your Landscape: Since You Asked...About Greening in the Red Zone: The new year isn't even a month old, and communities from the Pacific Northwest to the Deep South have already experienced severe—in some ca...

Monday, January 23, 2012

NCSE Environment & Security Conference

The Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab was a collaborating organization at the recently held NCSE 2012 conference on Environment & Security. Tidball presented Greening in the Red Zone, and also served as a panel member in a session on Environmental Literacy and Security.