‘I Study the Ways Society Is Adapting to a Changing Climate:’ Meet Climate Scientist Lisa Dale

lisa dale eileen barroso columbia

Lisa Dale is a Columbia Climate School lecturer and co-director of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development.

University Photographer Eileen Barroso came across Lisa on campus and grabbed a few photos for our recurring Instagram series #ColumbiaStories.

Where is your hometown?

Born in NYC, grew up in Westchester County, moved out to Colorado after college and stayed there for 25 years. Now I’m back full circle.

What is your favorite place on campus?

Can I vote twice? I love Buell Hall on Morningside Campus for events. And I love Joe’s Coffee – all of them! – for, well, coffee.

What is your favorite place in New York City?

Impossible question! The North Woods in Central Park always gives me a jolt of nature when I need one.

What kind of research do you do?

As a political scientist, I study the ways society is adapting to a changing climate, and ask about how policies might help smooth that transition. Right now I have two different projects that approach the question from very different places. Domestically, I study wildfire policy in the American West, trying to understand which policies are most effective at reducing wildfire risk to communities. Internationally, I study rural communities in Rwanda, exploring how national resettlement policies may foster better climate adaptation. Both projects give me opportunities to travel!

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