Issue Briefs

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Engaging Local Communities on Environmental Risk, 2016: On May 28, 2015, the Discovery Park Center for the Environment brought together stakeholders from academia, government, environmental groups, and public health and environment agencies in a day-long workshop on the many issues related to engaging local communities on environmental risks. Three core recommendations emerged from the workshop: (1) take an inclusive approach to engaging a broad range of stakeholder communities, (2) recognize the complexity and uncertainty of these issues and the diversity of local communities, and (3) adopt a risk communication strategy that is transparent, constructive, and solutions-oriented without being unrealistic. Download PDF

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A Look At Sustainability Challenges Past, Present And Future, 2015: Over 40 years ago, the newly-created Environmental Protection Agency launched a photo documentary project, Documerica, to record the state of the environment across America.  The imagery from this project served to inspire a program hosted by the university’s performing arts organization, Purdue Convocations, in which environmental faculty from across Purdue each selected two photographs from the Documerica archive and used them to consider how environmental, economic, and social challenges have changed from when these photos were taken to the present. This report summarizes those comparisons and offers some ideas about how Purdue researchers are working to sustainably manage our global environment for a healthy future in the next 40 years. Download PDF

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Nutrient Management Challenges and Solutions, 2014: On March 6, 2013, Purdue University’s Center for the Environment (C4E) partnered with the University of Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to lead a workshop on challenges and opportunities in nutrient management. Through a series of presentations and a question and answer session, a panel of experts helped frame the challenge of how to manage agricultural inputs to support farm productivity while causing minimal harm to our water resources. A summary of the topics covered in the workshop is presented in this issue brief. Download PDF

New Perspectives on Informal Institutions & Intractable Problems, 2013: Informal institutions are often defined as the sets of informal rules that exist outside and alongside “formal” structures of government. Although “formal” rules such as laws and public policies are important, informal rules can have an equal or greater influence on human behavior. Of particular importance are norms, a specific type of informal rule dictating the “appropriate” behavior for certain situations. Increasingly, policymakers and advocates are taking note of the importance of these unwritten rules of behavior—both as new obstacles and as new opportunities for policy reform to address the many difficult problems facing society. In April 2012, a diverse group of scholars and practitioners gathered for two days on the campus of Purdue University to discuss how more attention to informal institutions might offer new perspectives on several “intractable” policy problems facing the world today: climate change, food security, and women’s human rights. The following policy briefs synthesize the primary recommendations from the workshop for policies related to the problems of social change, women’s human rights, food security, and climate change.

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Informal Institutions and Strategies for Social Change - Download PDF

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Women’s Human Rights and Informal Institutions - Download PDF

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Food Security and Informal Institutions - Download PDF

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Climate Change Policy and Informal Institutions - Download PDF

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