‘I had the opportunity to work with Lisa during her time at the Wilson Center and SESYNC. She is someone who knows how to synthesize the depth of research and understanding needed to evaluate environmental issues with a grasp of how to effectively engage audiences. She has been a terrific resource in helping me.’Dr. Ken Conca, American University, 2019
I am Lisa Palmer, the National Geographic Research Professor of Science Communication at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I teach science communication for science and sustainability majors, and I teach science reporting for undergraduate journalism majors and minors. I’m also the senior editor and education lead for Planet Forward, GW’s award-winning project of the Center for Innovative Media at the School of Media and Public Affairs.
I participate actively in the national and international discourse on science and socio-environmental issues through writing and publishing, speaking, developing and leading seminars, contributing to digital media, and offering analysis and science communications strategy to research teams. I have consulted on communications with postdoctoral fellows and leadership of major research institutions. An award-winning journalist, I write for publications such as the Nature family of journals, Yale E360, The Guardian, Nautilus, The New York Times, The New Republic, Ensia, Slate, and many others. I am the author of HOT, HUNGRY PLANET: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change (St. Martin’s Press; 2017).
Previously, I was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., where I conducted research on global food security, resilience, and policies related to sustainable agriculture. I was also a senior fellow and journalist-in-residence at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland. In 2018, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center awarded me a residency on the theme of science for development. I am a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the National Association of Science Writers, and the D.C. Science Writers Association. I graduated from Boston University and Simmons College in Boston.
For over two decades, I’ve worked as a journalist, author, and editor. I continue to write about the environment, science and sustainability. As a journalist, my goals are to uncover a great story, be fearless about fact-finding, and tackle a complex subject with a keen reporter’s sense and a wordsmith’s use of language. One of my editors summed up my work this way: “She lays out a story without pretension yet isn’t afraid to send readers running for a dictionary on occasion.”
My skills as a reporter and multimedia storyteller are broad. As a former newspaper reporter and features writer, I’m always interested in finding a great narrative and reporting features without cutting corners.
When I’m not at my desk I’m outdoors. I’m a dedicated runner. Mountains inspire me, and my favorite vacations have been spent in the mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, and in the Wind River Range and Tetons in Wyoming. I’m an alumni of the National Outdoor Leadership School. I also love to ride my mountain bike and road bike.
How trees and forests reduce risks from climate change
Across the globe, increasing tree cover is a popular solution to offset carbon emissions. Replenishing trees is only part of the answer, and scientists seek an increased role as part of a multi-layered policy approach.
Published in Nature Climate Change, May 2021.
Displaced and disenfranchised by decades of war, some Colombians are rebuilding their lives—and their forests—through ranching.
Meeting the leadership challenges for interdisciplinary environmental research
One meal a day
Urban Agriculture growth in U.S. cities
Adding power to the value of trees
‘It’s a perverse system’: How Colombia’s farmers are reforesting their logged land
The next water cycle
Colombia finds hope for saving its wild lands.
A new climate for grazing livestock.
New Security Beat (Feb. 12, 2020). To Envision a More Sustainable Future, Tell the Story of Conservation Technology. https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2020/02/envision-sustainable-future-story-conservation-technology/
Mongabay (August 15, 2019). Precision conservation: High tech to the rescue in the Peruvian Amazon. https://news.mongabay.com/2019/08/precision-conservation-high-tech-to-the-rescue-in-the-peruvian-amazon/
Mongabay (June 1, 2018). Private sector leaders seek to ramp up investment in sustainable landscapes with help of public partners. https://news.mongabay.com/2018/06/private-sector-leaders-seek-to-ramp-up-investment-in-sustainable-landscapes-with-help-of-public-partners/
The Guardian (Dec. 29, 2017). How Colombia’s farmers are reforesting their logged land.
E360 (October 25, 2017). With new peace, Colombia finds hope for saving its wild lands. http://e360.yale.edu/features/with-new-peace-colombia-finds-hope-for-saving-its-wild-lands
Scientific American (May 22, 2017). Feeding a Hot, Hungry Planet. Commentary. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/feeding-a-hot-hungry-planet/
EHN’s Environmental Health News (March 28, 2017). Is Soil the Great New Integrator? http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2017/march/is-soil-the-great-new-integrator
Ensia (January 11, 2017). The Amazing Opportunity 2017 is Bringing to Business. https://ensia.com/voices/business-sustainability/
Ensia (January 11, 2017). Now More Than Ever We Need To Address the Environment and Human Rights Together. https://ensia.com/voices/equity-human-rights-2017/
Ensia (January 11, 2017). We’ve Done a Good Job Of Envisioning a Better World. Now We Need to Build It. https://ensia.com/voices/building-better-world/
Ensia (January 11, 2017). It’s Time To Stop Overspending Our Freshwater Budget. https://ensia.com/voices/freshwater-2017/
Ensia (Dec. 27, 2016). Technology Got Us Into This Climate Mess, and it Can Help Get Us Out—If We Let It. https://ensia.com/voices/climate-technology/
New Security Beat (Nov. 2, 2016). Could Climate Change Keep Kids Out of School?
E360 (May 10, 2016). How Rising CO2 Levels May Contribute to Die-Off of Bees. http://e360.yale.edu/features/bee_collapse_co2_climate_change_agriculture
Nautilus (Dec. 4, 2015). I went to India and Saw the Future of Climate-Smart Farming. http://nautil.us/blog/i-went-to-india-and-saw-the-future-of-climate_smart-farming
Pulitzer Center (Nov. 21, 2015). Learning from India’s “Smart” Farming Villages. https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/learning-indias-smart-farming-villages
Climate Connections (Nov. 19, 2015). Learning From India’s Climate Smart Farming Villages. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/11/learning-from-indias-climate-smart-farming-villages/
E360 (Nov. 5, 2015). Will Indonesian Fires Spark Reform of Rogue Forest Sector? https://e360.yale.edu/features/will_indonesian_fires_spark_reform_of_rogue_forest_sector
The Guardian (Oct. 12, 2015). India’s Climate Tech Revolution is Starting in its Villages. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/oct/12/indias-climate-smart-villages-use-technology-improve-farming
The Guardian (Aug 15, 2015). Businesses Delivering the Most Coveted Perk: A Better Commute.https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/aug/15/google-cars-pollution-environment-silicon-valley-alphabet
Climate Connections (July 8, 2015). Climate change Poses Challenges for Land Trusts. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/07/climate-change-poses-challenges-for-land-trusts/
Climate Connections (May 13, 2015). Challenges Ahead for California Ag Water Users.
E360 (Feb. 5, 2015). Agricultural Movement Tackles Challenges of a Warming World.
The Guardian (Jan. 13, 2015). Can a New Form of Accounting Save Animals from Extinction? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/13/environment-natural-capital-accounting-animal-nature-business
New Security Beat (Nov. 25, 2014). Can Ecologists and Engineers Work Together to Harness Water for the Future? https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/11/ecologists-engineers-work-harness-water-future/
E360 (June 5, 2014). How Weeds Could Help Feed Billions in a Warming World. https://e360.yale.edu/features/how_weeds_could_help_feed_billions_in_a_warming_world
Slate Magazine (April 10, 2014). Famine is a Feminist Issue. https://slate.com/technology/2014/04/educate-women-and-save-babies-how-to-control-population-and-end-hunger.html
E360 (March 13, 2014). In the Pastures of Colombia, Cows and Crops Coexist. https://e360.yale.edu/features/in_the_pastures_of_colombia_cows_crops_and_timber_coexist
Climate Connections (Feb. 5, 2014). Can Unbiased, Fact-Based, In-Depth Environmental News Compete? https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2014/02/can-unbiased-fact-based-in-depth-environmental-news-compete/
Climate Connections (Feb. 11, 2014). Scientist Boesch Emphasizes Ecosystems Management Approaches. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2014/02/scientist-boesch-emphasizes-ecosystems-management-approaches/
The Guardian (Jan. 22, 2014). Wanted: A Clean Trillion Dollar Investment to Limit Climate Change. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/climate-change-clean-trillion-dollar-investment
Climate Connections (Dec. 19, 2013). Reviewing Top U.S. Climate News Stories of 2013.
The Guardian (Nov. 15, 2013). Green Homes for the Masses. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/green-homes-masses
Climate Connections (Nov. 5, 2013). Feeding 9 Billion on a Hot and Hungry Planet.
The Guardian (Oct 24, 2013). The Power of Procurement. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/procurement-professionals-sustainable-supply-chain
The Guardian (Oct. 3, 2013). Vineyards Take Action As Climate Change Threatens Wines and Livelihoods. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/vineyards-climate-change-threat
The Guardian (Aug. 6, 2013). Texas Turning Substandard Cotton into Eco-friendly Products. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/texas-substandard-cotton-eco-products
The Guardian (July 30, 2013). What Can Madagascar Teach Us About Rice and Water? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/water-rice-growing-madagascar
E360 (July 29, 2013). Facing Tough Market, Coal Gian Peabody Energy Pushes Overseas. https://e360.yale.edu/features/facing_tough_market_coal_giant_peabody_energy_pushes_overseas
The Guardian (June 24, 2013). How Engineered Wetlands in Saudi Arabia Can Save Water and Money. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/engineered-wetlands-saudi-arabia-save-water
Slate Magazine (May 28, 2013). What are Extreme Runners Thinking?
Scientific American (March 6, 2013). Melting Arctic Ice Will Make Way for More Ships—and More Species Invasions. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/melting-arctic-sea-ice-means-more-shipping-and-more-invasive-species/
The New York Times (March 1, 2013). The Angry Economist. https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/q-and-a-the-angry-economist/
The New York Times (Feb. 15, 2013). Floating Islands to the Rescue.
The New York Times (Feb. 7, 2013). A Climate Proposal: Bundling Consumer Buying Power. https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/a-climate-proposal-bundling-consumer-buying-power/
TECHNOLOGY GOT US INTO THIS CLIMATE MESS, AND IT CAN HELP GET US OUT — IF WE LET IT
TECHNOLOGY GOT US INTO THIS CLIMATE MESS, AND IT CAN HELP GET US OUT — IF WE LET IT
IT’S TIME TO STOP OVERSPENDING OUR FRESHWATER BUDGET
Ensia (January 27, 2013). Artificial Islands Mimic Nature’s Way of Cleansing Water. http://stage2.ensia.com/articles/artificial-islands-mimic-natures-way-of-cleansing-water/
Slate Magazine (Nov. 13, 2012). Where is All the Coal? https://slate.com/technology/2012/11/coal-reserves-in-the-united-states-geology-explains-why-we-have-so-much-coal.html
Slate Magazine (Nov. 12, 2012). Why Does Old King Coal Still Rule? https://slate.com/technology/2012/11/economics-of-coal-the-most-abundant-fuel-is-declining-here-but-increasing-abroad.html
Slate Magazine (Oct. 29, 2012). Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change. https://slate.com/technology/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-and-climate-change-hurricane-sandy-and-climate-change-trenberth-of-ncar-on-dangers-to-coast.html
Slate Magazine (Oct. 29, 2012). Hurricane Sandy a Hybrid Storm.
Scientific American (May 22, 2012). Digging into Climate Change, U.S. Students Find More Than Science. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/digging-into-climate-change-us-students-find-more-than-science/
Scientific American (May 21, 2012). Climate Education Graduates to the Next Level. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-education-graduates-to-next-level/
Slate Magazine (May 10, 2011). Ice Flows. https://slate.com/technology/2011/05/extreme-ice-survey-time-lapse-video-of-everest-glaciers-melting.html
Scientific American (Dec. 28, 2010). Behavior Frontiers: Can Social Science Combat Climate Change? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-social-science-help-combat-climate-change/
Scientific American (Dec. 18, 2009). Eyes Wide Shut: Earth’s Vital Signs Soon to Go Unmeasured as Satellites Fail. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-observing-satellites/
Popular Mechanics (Oct. 1, 2009). 3-D Laser Imaging Helps Restore a 19th Century Firehouse https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a13059/4323400/
FORTUNE (Sept. 12, 2007). A Better Prenatal Test? https://money.cnn.com/2007/09/07/smbusiness/amniocentesis.fsb/index.htm
Yankee Magazine (July 24, 2007. ). David Haskell: Green Giant in Massachusetts. https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/living/profiles/horticulturist/
FORTUNE (July 27, 2007). An E-Z Pass for Emissions Tests. https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2007/07/01/100123042/
Boston Sunday Globe (Oct. 16, 2005). Mathematics Made Fun.
Climate Connections is an online news website and a nationally syndicated public radio show aired twice daily on over 220 stations in North America and is a podcast. I was a regular contributor for articles and audio 2009-2016. See selected audio programs and links to transcripts below.
Climate Connections (Mar. 24, 2017). Botanical Garden Sees Volatile Weather. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2017/03/botanical-garden-sees-volatile-weather/
Climate Connections (July 25, 2016). Calculate Your ‘Beyond Water” Water Consumption.
Climate Connections (June 24, 2016). Christian Values and Climate Change.
Climate Connections (May 27, 2016). The Climate Benefits of Healthy Forests. http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/05/the-climate-benefits-of-healthy-forests/
Climate Connections (April 12, 2016). Helping Bees as the Climate Changes. http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/04/helping-bees-as-the-climate-changes/
Climate Connections (April 8, 2016). A Better Way to Manage Reservoir Levels. http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/04/a-better-way-to-manage-reservoir-levels/
Climate Connections (March 30, 2016). Even a Single Tree Makes a Difference. http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/03/even-a-single-tree-makes-a-difference/
Climate Connections (March 23, 2016). Protecting Kids on Playgrounds in a Warming Climate. http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/03/protecting-kids-on-playgrounds-in-a-warming-climate/
Climate Connections (March 21, 2016). Self-Transportation in a Changing Climate.
Climate Connections (March 16, 2016). Shade Trees Help Save Energy. http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/03/shade-trees-help-save-energy/
Climate Connections (Dec. 23, 2015). Solar Momentum in North Carolina. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/12/solar-momentum-in-north-carolina/
Climate Connections (Dec. 1, 2015). The Co-Benefits of Climate Action.
Climate Connections (Nov. 27, 2015) Seeds of Change.
Climate Connections (Nov. 24, 2015). Climate Change Citizen Scientists. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/11/climate-change-citizen-scientists/
Climate Connections (Nov. 4, 2015) Community Net Metering.
Climate Connections (Oct. 23, 2015. New Climate Adaptation Professionals.
Climate Connections (Sept. 28, 2015). Preventing Washouts on Vermont Roads.
Climate Connections (Aug. 3, 2015). Climate Change and Children’s Health
Climate Connections (July 30, 2015). Asthma and Global Warming. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/07/asthma-and-global-warming/
Climate Connections (July 15, 2015). A Diet for a Warmer Planet.
Climate Connections (July 10, 2015). More Resilient Farming in a Changing Climate.
Climate Connections (July 2, 2015). Improving Irrigation Efficiency
Climate Connections (June 10, 2015). Ocean Acidification Poses Risks to Coastal Economies. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/06/ocean-acidification-poses-risks-to-coastal-economies/
Climate Connections (April 20, 2015). Help From Ancient Grains in a Warmer Climate.
Climate Connections (May 26, 2015). Iowa Farming Clean Energy.
Climate Connections (March 24, 2015). A Tougher and Cleaner Ford Truck.
Climate Connections (Feb. 24, 2015). How to Make Aspen Climate Resilient. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/02/how-to-make-aspen-climate-resilient/
Climate Connections (Feb. 6, 2015). Affordable Housing and Sustainability. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/02/affordable-housing-and-sustainability/
Climate Connections (Jan. 12, 2015). Military Experts Weighing Impacts on Mighty Mississippi River.
More Climate Connections available on request.
Editor, Climate Finance Works. 2011. The Center for Clean Air Policy-Europe. http://ccap.org/assets/Climate-Finance-Works_CCAP-Europe-2011.pdf
Simmons College, Boston MA – Master of Science in Communication
Boston University, Boston MA – Bachelor of Science in Business Management
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI – Teaching Certification
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC RESEARCH PROFESSOR OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION | THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY | JAN 2022 TO PRESENT
Taught classes in science journalism and science communications in the School of Media and Public Affairs. Mentor students and direct programming for environmental journalism internships. Lead education activities for a national consortium of 25 universities and colleges for Planet Forward and advise as senior editor.
National Geographic VISITING PROFESSOR OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION | THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY | JAN 2020 TO DEC 2021
Taught classes in science journalism and science communications in the School of Media and Public Affairs. Mentor students and direct programming for environmental journalism internship and Planet Forward.
Senior Fellow for Socio-Environmental Understanding at the national socio-environmental synthesis center | 2015 to May 2020
Self-motivated, detail-oriented writer, strategic thinker, and producer who translates diverse scientific concepts, discoveries, and research processes to scientific and non-specialist audiences.
AUTHOR, JOURNALIST, AND EDITOR at Palmer media | 2000 to Present
Author of Hot, Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change (St. Martin’s Press; 2017). As a journalist, served as writer, researcher, editor and producer for major publications and short videos with circulation of 50,000 to over 1 million covering topics from team science, climate change, agriculture, and sustainability to food security, public health, and social sciences.
Energetic and meticulous writer, editor, producer, and researcher working effectively in a self-directed, fast-paced environment. Author of HOT, HUNGRY PLANET (St. Martin’s Press; 2017), awarded journalism prizes and fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the Pulitzer Center, Wilson Center, Vermont Law School, The Knight Center, the Solutions Journalism Network, and Society of Environmental Journalists.
Effective at presenting in a range of settings and media – from interviewing senior leaders and scientists to writing for a lay audience; contributing to news, video, podcasts and radio coverage of published stories; delivering keynotes, moderating panels and media events; conveying written and verbal proposals; and writing and editing reports.
Led and produced multi-disciplinary team resources including photographers, Web editors, and writers to successfully deliver editorial content. Strong ability to maintain focus and dedicate resources to complete projects on time and on budget. Superior organizational skills with the ability to manage multiple projects and assignments while maintaining a sense of humor.
Lecturer and educator in the fields of science communication, science and environmental reporting, sustainability, narrative writing, and international reporting. Led seminars for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and interdisciplinary research teams in areas of science communication, communication strategy, storytelling, and audience analysis.
The Contagion Next Time: Book Discussion with Boston University School of Sandro Galea, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor, with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and the Pulitzer Center. Nov. 2, 2021.
State University of New York (SUNY) College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, Writing for Self-Advocacy and Expression. Oct. 29, 2021.
University of Arizona, Honors Program. Calderwood Seminar in Environmental Writing, Oct. 27, 2021
Food Meets Science Conference, The Best Chef, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. What is Sustainability? Sept. 14, 2021.
Linda Hall Library and International Relations Council of Kansas City. Toward 10.9 Billion: Challenges of Global Population Growth, Jul 29, 2021.
American University, Conflict Cuisine. Coming to Peace with Nature, March 5, 2021.
Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Calderwood Lecture. Science, Technology and International Affairs, March 1, 2021.
Hiram College, Bissel Lecture Series, Science, Story and Wonder, February 23 and 25, 2021.
Ohio University, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Environmental Studies Graduate Colloquium. Science Communication, November 12, 2020.
The George Washington University, School of Media and Public Affairs, Conversations in Science Communication, 2020-2021.
University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science, May 2020. Commencement address to students receiving master’s and doctoral degrees. Video archive.
University of Utah, College of Science ACCESS, July 2019. Seminar for freshmen in STEM.
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, April 23-26, 2019, Multiple seminars and keynote on campus covering environmental communication, journalism, and creative writing.
The University of Milan, Milan, Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, Environment and Sustainability, Culinary Mind Network, hosted by the Philosophy Department.
The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, Sept. 23-26, 2018, Multiple seminars on campus covering environmental studies, journalism, and creative writing.
The George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2018World Bank Roundtable: Sustainable Development and the Healthy Future of Food.
University of Iowa College of Public Health, Research Week Keynote speaker, Global food security for peace, agricultural development, health and prosperity, April 3-4, 2018.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Seminar Under-reported and urgent stories on climate change, food security, and public health. November 29 and 30, 2017.
Global Food Security, May 18, 2017, Center for Security and International Studies, Washington, D.C
National Association of Science Writers, Society of Environmental Journalists, Washington, D.C., Science Writers Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors
Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Thematic Residency on Science for Development | 2018
Science Media Fellow, SESYNC | 2015 to 2020
Public Policy Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars | 2014 to 2015
Summer Media Fellow, Vermont Law School, Environmental Law Center | 2013
Society of Environmental Journalists and University of Montana 20-20-20 Fellowship | 2010
Society of Environmental Journalists: Rivlin Fellowship | 2008
Knight Fellow, Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, University of Maryland | 2008
Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting Travel Grants | 2017 & 2015
Solutions Journalism Grant | 2013
National Education Reporting Awards | 2013
Rhode Island Press Association | 2007 & 2008