Upcoming Events

On the Competing Risks and Benefits of Geologic CO2 Sequestration

Dr. Brian McPherson

Wednesday March 4, 2020 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
4100 Dripping Springs Rd. Las Cruces NM

Carbon sequestration has emerged as an important option in policies to mitigate the increasing atmospheric concentrations of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2). Significant  quantities of anthropogenic CO2  are sequestered by natural carbon uptake in plants, soils, and the oceans. These uptake processes are objects of intense study by biogeochemists, ecologists, and other researchers who seek to understand the processes that determine the mass balance (“budget”) among global carbon fluxes. At the same time, many scientists and engineers are examining methods for deliberate carbon sequestration through storage in geological formations. Studies of natural and deliberate carbon sequestration have much in common, including technical requirements ranging from measurement techniques to analysis of economic and social trends. The benefits of geological carbon sequestration are clear, but equally clear are the risks.  Quantifying both benefits and risks is a challenge that requires layers upon layers of multidisciplinary understanding and collaboration.  The discussion will start with a broad overview of greenhouse gases and the range of natural and technological mechanisms for carbon management, then focus more specifically on the pros and cons of geological carbon sequestration.  Is carbon sequestration a realistic solution to the greenhouse effect?  The discussion will draw on extensive analysis of the results of four major field demonstrations of CO2 injection and storage, including one conducted in New Mexico.


Knowledge to Outcomes in Global Biodiversity Conservation

Dr. Leah Gerber

Wednesday April 22, 2020 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Rio Grande Theater
211 Main St. Las Cruces NM

More species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than any other time in human history. Limited resources produce a repeating conundrum for agencies responsible for biodiversity conservation: should limited funding be used primarily to prevent imminent extinction, or should funds be allocated to maximize species recovery over the long term? A contentious discussion of values has stemmed from this question: some argue that the latter strategy is ethically unsound, because it may abandon species with little hope of long-term recovery, while others note that the former strategy may myopically miss opportunities to prevent species from ever experiencing the risk of imminent extinction. A structured, logical, and transparent approach to allocating limited resources among recovery programs to evaluate the relative achievements of the multiple objectives of recovery funding is urgently needed. As part of a recent working group supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, we worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a tool to compare different funding allocation strategies for recovery actions. The Recovery Explorer tool can be used to evaluate potential consequences of alternative resource allocation strategies. Structured decision making facilitates discussion about alternative resources allocation strategies. Structured decision making facilities discussion about alternative approaches to resource allocation by making the important component of the decision process transparent. This approach allows funding agencies and conservation partners to evaluate the effects of increasing or decreasing investment in species recovery.

Past Events

Climate Security: Threats and Responses at Home and Abroad

Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret)

Chief Executive Officer of the American Security Project (ASP)

Wednesday February 12, 2020 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Rio Grande Theater
211 Main St. Las Cruces NM

Climate change threatens a variety of sectors across the U.S. and the globe. One particularly concerning consequence of climate change will be its impact on U.S. national security. Military installations are already impacted by rising seas and increasingly extreme droughts and storms. Abroad, our military troops are deployed to respond to a growing number of humanitarian disasters and instability in vulnerable nations. Join American Security Project Board Member, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret) for a discussion on these critical issues.


Redesigning Desert Agriculture for Climate Change: Biomimicry, Nurse Plant Ecology & Succulent Plants

Dr. Gary Nabhan

University of Arizona

Wednesday January 29, 2020 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Rio Grande Theater
211 Main St. Las Cruces NM

Climate Change and water scarcity are restructuring food systems globally, but especially in arid zones. We call for redesign of food system for inhabitants of arid North America. Designs must advance three objectives: 1) agroecosystem resilience, 2) nutritional health, 3) inclusive community well-being. We identify 15 criteria for screening potential food crops for a hotter, drier world. Surprisingly, the food crops we prioritize for desert polycultures are succulent plants using the water-conserving CAM photosynthetic pathway to advance a) yield stability using reducing inputs; b) human health using chemo-preventive food to control diseases and c) economic wellbeing among both desert farmers and farm workers.

Multi-species Justice in the Age of Biological Annihilation & Climate Breakdown

Subhankar Banergee

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Rio Grande Theater
211 Main St. Las Cruces NM

Join artist, public scholar, and conservationist, Subhankar Banerjee for a talk about his role and goals as a co-curator of the exhibition Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande and his ongoing engagement with New Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska’s Arctic. In all three places he has witnessed extreme impacts of climate breakdown and biological annihilation. He will speak about campaigns for multispecies justice and his most recent body of research which sits at the intersection of art, ecocultural humanities. Banerjee, an NMSU alumnus, serves at Lannan Chair and Professor of Art & Econogy at the University of New Mexico.

The Human Dimension of Disaster Preparedness, Vulnerability, and Resiliency: The Role of the Colleges and Universities

Dr. Jorge Vanegas

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Health and Social Services College Annex auditorium
New Mexico State University

There is increasing level of awareness that human activity is causing current and future serious impacts on humans, particularly in poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged communities, regions, and countries. This presentation offers an overview of four actions that colleges and universities can take in their role to address these topics from this perspective: Within all aspects of their academic mission of education, research, and engagement, colleges and universities need to effectively address disaster preparedness, vulnerability, and resilience


New Mexico at the Crossroads: How the State, It’s Biggest City, and NMSU are Addressing Climate Change

Chancellor Arvizu

Chancellor of NMSU

Sarah Cottrell Propst

Secretary of the State Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

Kelsey Rader

Sustainability Officer of Albuquerque

Wednesday October 2, 2019 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
4100 Dripping Springs Rd. Las Cruces NM

The panel discussion will be the second event in the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) that runs through the spring semester. The panel discussion will be moderated by Melina Burnside, Vice President of Associated Students of New Mexico State University (ASNMSU), and founder of the student group Defend our Future. Secretary Propst is expected to discuss a statewide climate strategy produced by a task force that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham assigned her to co-chair in late January. Rader, the city’s first-ever sustainability officer, will discuss steps Albuquerque is taking to achieve 100% use of renewable resources by city operations by 2022. Chancellor Arvizu will discuss plans, which as partnership with El Paso Electric to establish a solar array on the south side of the main campus that will provide research and educational opportunities in addition to generating renewable energy.

Chihuahuan Desert Landscapes in the Uncertain Future

Debra Peters (Lead Research Scientist at Jornada Experimental Range)

Thursday September 12, 2020 7:00 – 8:30 pm
DACC East Mesa Campus Auditorium
2800 N. Sonoma Ranch Blvd.


Chihuahuan Desert landscapes are among the most dynamic and heterogeneous ecosystems on Earth. This talk will discuss how these landscapes have changed over the past several centuries, and how these landscapes might be expected to look in the future with a focus on southern New Mexico. Predicting future dynamics is challenging because landscape dynamics are complex and spatially heterogeneous, and the climatic drivers themselves are difficult to predict with extreme events becoming increasingly important.  Long-term research conducted within the region since the early 1900s provides unique opportunities to bring insight to the future of the Chihuahuan Desert under a changing climate.

2018-2019 Series


Climate Change, Wildfire, and Megadrought in the Western United States

A. Park Williams

April 3, 2019

Drought, water security, and ecosystem disruption – the SW climate challenge

Jonathan Overpeck

March 6, 2019

Extreme Conservation on a Glacier-less Planet

Joel Berger

February 20, 2019

Barriers to Public Acceptance of Climate Science, Impacts and Solutions

Katharine Hayhoe

February 6, 2019

Environmental Markets: From Sulfur to Carbon to Water and Beyond?

Michael Walsh

November 28, 2018


The 3 S’s of Climate Change: Simple, Serious, and Solvable

Scott Denning

November 7, 2018

Deep Time Insight into Earth’s Future

Isabel Montanez

October 3, 2018

On the Front Lines of Urban Warming

David Hondula

September 19, 2018

A Look ahead for the Southwest: Hotter and More Arid

Gregg Garfin

April 25, 2018

Why are We Concerned about Changing Climate

Dave Dubois

April 17, 2018