Dr. Paige Warren, professor and department head of the College of Natural Sciences's Department of Environmental Conservation, was invited to co-author the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s first-ever National Nature Assessment (NNA1), helping to write a chapter that focuses on “Nature and Equity.” 

Warren joins a diverse team of more than 150 experts who were selected “by the eleven NNA1 chapter leads in consultation with federal leadership, based in part on a public call for author nominations.” 

Woman with a blue shirt next to a river
Dr. Paige Warren, professor and department head of the Department of Environmental Conservation

“I am both honored and humbled to join the amazing group of scholars who are grappling with how to assess the state of nature and equity on a national scale,” said Dr. Warren. The team includes Dr. Chris Schell of the University of California, Berkeley—who is serving as the lead author of the “Nature and Equity” chapter—and other major thought leaders in environmental justice. 

Through the NNA1, the U.S. Global Change Research Program seeks to take stock of what nature provides to society “in terms of its inherent worth, our culture, health and well-being, jobs and livelihoods, safety, and more, while looking ahead to understand how these benefits might change in the future.” 

A key theme of Dr. Warren’s career thus far has centered on understanding the processes generating and maintaining biological diversity in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by humans. Indices of urbanization, such as human population density, can paint only part of the picture when it comes to people’s relationship with nature. This is where the NNA1 can play a role. 

“We will be examining what nature means to people," explained Dr. Warren. “My team in particular will explore the ways in which some people have greater access to natural areas than others.” 

A growing catalog of research suggests that ensuring equitable access to natural areas helps to foster wellness and strengthens community resilience. By devoting an entire chapter to nature and equity, the NNA1, through the work of Dr. Warren and team, can promote physical and mental well-being and cultivate a deeper sense of environmental stewardship. 

The NNA1 report will provide guidance for decision makers, summarize information from a wide variety of sources, and analyze what we know, what else we need to know, and what it means for people's relationships with nature in the United States. 

“I am excited by the challenge,” said Dr. Warren. “I hope that it will provide a useful tool for policymakers and community leaders around the country.”

Article posted in Careers for Faculty and Public