Growing Impact Podcast

Growing Impact is a podcast by the Institutes of Energy and Environment (IEE) that explores cutting-edge projects of researchers and scientists who are solving some of the world's most challenging energy and environmental issues. Each project has been funded through the IEE Seed Grant Program.

Growing Impact: Climate signals from wetlands

In this episode:

Wetlands are some of the richest ecosystems in the world. They support an extensive variety of plants and animals, from the smallest of microbes to the largest of mammals. Wetlands also filter and protect water, improving its quality. However, as climate change intensifies, wetlands are threatened by changes in precipitation, both too much and too little. They may also provide early signals of climate change impacts. 

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Growing Impact: Food-energy-water dynamics

In this episode:

The groundwater levels in India are consistently dropping year to year. In fact, India uses more groundwater than any country in the world. However, it is also a nation that lacks water availability, and its population continues to grow. A team of researchers is analyzing how an Indian government policy aimed at installing and using solar irrigation pumps in agriculture may further lower groundwater levels, impact energy use, and help or hinder food production in India.

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Growing Impact: In pursuit of energy equity

In this episode:

Cleveland, like many cities, aims to become greener in the coming decades by decarbonizing infrastructure and using renewable energy. However, implementing solutions has its challenges, from technological to financial. Add to this the challenges of ensuring equity, and the problem gets even more complex.

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Growing Impact: Vanishing tree

In this episode:

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    Kristina Douglass

What happens to a community or a livelihood when a key resource disappears? In Southwest Madagascar, the farafatse tree, a tree of great importance in that region, appears to be vanishing, and where it is traditionally found seems to be shifting. A team of researchers is investigating this phenomenon in concert with Malagasy communities to identify causes and potential risks for plant life more broadly. 

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Growing Impact: Water's plastic problem

In this episode:

Plastic of all shapes and sizes is showing up in bodies of water around the world, including microplastics, which are 5mm or less in size. But how these tiny pieces of plastic move through water and what impacts that movement is still a bit of a mystery. This includes biofilms, the thin layers of organisms that build up on material found in water.

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Growing Impact: When the levee breaks

In this episode:

A team of researchers seeks to better understand the social effects associated with flooding, such as whether racial and ethnic minorities, children, and those with low income suffer the most.

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Growing Impact: Healthy habitat hurdles

In this episode:

Melissa Bopp and her colleagues examine the role of the built and natural environments and their influence on physical activity, healthy eating, and air quality in the Mon Valley, an area that has seen steady economic decline since the departure of the steel industry in the late 20th century.

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Growing Impact: One Health

In this episode:

A transdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers is exploring how One Health, an approach that recognizes the interconnectedness among human health, ecosystem health, and animal health, may be able to tackle complex health problems facing Pennsylvania.

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Growing Impact: Visualizing history's future

In this episode:

As sea-levels rise due to climate change, historical monuments and landscapes near bodies of water are at risk. A new research project will provide decision makers with information on what that could look like for their site. Specifically, the project is focused monuments and landscapes that are significant to African American, Indigenous, and other minority communities. 

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Growing Impact: Got methane?

In this episode:

The latest episode of the Growing Impact podcast features Juliana Vasco-Correa, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, who shares how biofiltration could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically methane and carbon dioxide.

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