Threats to Sustainability under Climate and Societal Change

Date: May 12, 2023 - at 11.15 AM (Italian time)Where: Aula Rostagni, Via Paolotti 9, 35131, Padova

The increasing water demand by human societies raises concerns about the extent to which it is possible to feed the world with the limited freshwater resources of the planet. The emergent competition for water between human uses and environmental needs limits the development of suitable water security scenarios for a sustainable future. Human appropriation of water resources is for large part instrumental to the enjoyment of human rights to food. To what extent can such rights be reconciled with other human needs as well as the needs of Nature? Here we show how humanity is placing unprecedented pressure on the global agricultural system and its water resources while reshaping the patterns of water dependency through teleconnections between consumers and production areas. Through a suite of ecohydrological and socio-environmental analyses, we evaluate the biophysical and social justice limits to the sustainable use of water resources through a variety of perspectives accounting for hydrologic constraints, environmental needs, societal resilience, food security, and globalization.

conference speaker

Paolo D’Odorico

Paolo D’Odorico is Professor of Hydrology at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley. He has research expertise in Ecohydrology, Surface Hydrology, Ecosystem Ecology, Aeolian Processes, Desertification, Stochastic Nonlinear Environmental Dynamics and Water and Food Security, with about 300 publications in these topics. Prof. D’Odorico’ research focuses on the role of hydrological processes in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and his work has highlighted important nonlinearities in the coupling between soil moisture dynamics and plant water stress, biogeochemical cycling, land-atmosphere interactions, plant community composition, and soil susceptibility to wind erosion. Prof. D’Odorico is currently investigating the globalization of water through virtual water trade and international land investments, and its impact on water equity, societal resilience, environmental stewardship, and food security. Prof. D’Odorico has been awarded the Hydrological Sciences Medal (American Meteorological Society), the Paul Witherspoon Lecture Award (American Geophysical Union), the Sustainability Science Award (Ecological Society of America). He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, American Association for Advancement of Science,  and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.