College of the Atlantic alumna Natasha Krell will agriculture's vulnerability to climate change April 2 at the COA Human Ecology Forum. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Krell to discuss ‘global weirding’



BAR HARBOR — Natasha Krell joins the COA Human Ecology Forum on Tuesday, April 2, to discuss her research on improving crop production and decreasing vulnerability for small farmers working in a changing climate. The free talk, which begins at 4:10 p.m. in McCormick Lecture Hall, is co-sponsored by the 2019 COA Seminar on Climate Change Speaker Series.

“As global temperatures rise, smallholder farmers, particularly in semiarid and arid regions, bear the brunt of climate change. An estimated 460-500 million of these small agriculturalists produce the majority of food consumed in low-income countries,” according to event organizers.

In Kenya, back-to-back droughts from 2015 to 2017, resulted in decreased production of staple crops such as maize and led to food shortages. Yet in true “global weirding” fashion, Krell says, the 2018 rainy season brought on extreme precipitation which flooded city streets and crop fields, broke dams, and lead to loss of lives and livelihoods.

In this talk, Krell will discuss research from Kenya that examines smallholder farmer decision-making and access to novel information streams thought to improve crop production and improve farmers’ vulnerability to a changing climate. She’ll also share her experience of living abroad and some of the challenges she has faced in doing so.

Krell is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at UC Santa Barbara. She studies socio-hydrological systems, specifically climate variability impacts on smallholder African farmers. Her research couples novel environmental sensors with SMS-based surveys to understand farmer decision-making in the southern province of Zambia and central Kenya.

Krell graduated from College of the Atlantic in 2016. She was awarded a United States Department of State Fulbright Fellowship for 2017-18 and spent nine months living and conducting research in central Kenya.

The Human Ecology Forum is a free, weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend. Visit coa.edu.

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