Lisa Palmer

Hello! I am Lisa Palmer, research professor of science communication and the senior editor and education lead at Planet Forward, a journalism education project of the George Washington University (GWU) that aims to improve environmental storytelling and inspire early career communicators. I have over 20 years of experience as a journalist, author, program manager, and leader, covering topics such as climate change, energy, food security, natural resource scarcity, and public health for various media outlets, non-profits, and academic institutions. I manage editorial projects for non-profit and private organizations, and I collaborate on research pursuits globally.

As a research professor of science communication at GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and affiliate faculty at GW’s Milken School of Public Health’s Climate and Health Institute and GW’s Global Food Institute, I research, teach, mentor, and advise students and faculty on science journalism, sustainability communication, and environmental issues. I am also an adjunct lecturer in Environmental Studies at Georgetown University. I am passionate about fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation, and empowering the next generation of storytellers and leaders. I also write books. I am the author of Hot, Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change (St. Martin’s Press; 2017), which has received multiple accolades. I am an active journalist, public speaker, and participant in live events in Washington, D.C., New York City, and beyond. I seek to lift ideas and elevate discourse on issues of our time.

When I am not at my desk, I’m outside or spending time with family and friends.

About Me

Anneliese (Lisa) Palmer

Hello, there!

As a communicator and strategic leader focused on inspiring change through research and storytelling, my work spans roles in editorial leadership, education, program direction, and subject matter expertise. I am a Research Professor of Science Communication at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and affiliate faculty at GW’s Climate & Health Institute and the Global Food Institute, founded by Jose Andres. As Senior Editor and Education Lead at Planet Forward, I lead a community of associated faculty, contributing writers, and multimedia storytellers who focus on stories about solutions to environmental issues rather than simply describing problems.

I participate in the national and international discourse on science and socio-environmental issues. I write, publish, and speak on the environment, natural resource scarcity, environmental security, climate change, and agriculture sustainability. I develop and lead seminars, contribute to podcasts and digital media, offer analysis, and consult on science communication strategy.

An award-winning journalist, I write for publications such as the Nature family of journals, Yale E360, Undark, 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 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. 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.”

When I’m not at my desk I’m outdoors, exploring Rock Creek Park in Northwest D.C. and beyond. I’m a runner and like to stay active with sports like tennis and cycling. I’m also an ehtusiastic student of classical piano.

Select Writing & Media

New inroads on community-centric placemaking

As urban challenges mount, community-driven placemaking is gaining traction, with cities empowering residents to shape public spaces like parks and plazas through informal partnerships and decentralized decision-making. This global shift toward a range of partnerships is reshaping urban governance from the ground up,

Published in Nature Cities, January 2024.

Gender Equality and Food Insecurity—We Need Everyone at The Table

Is this rise in global food insecurity an unfortunate triple crisis, or a predictable shock we’ll see amid gender inequities and insufficient governance and international cooperation?

Published for the Global Governance Forum, January 2023

Global Governance Podcast with Augusto Lopez-Claros

Lisa Palmer on our Hot and Hungry Planet, January 2023.

Solving twin crises

In this interview for Nature Sustainability, I spoke with Margot Wallström, former European Commissioner for the Environment and former Foreign Secretary of Sweden, who led an international expert panel at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to study the intertwined risks of global environmental crises and conflict.

Published in Nature Sustainability, October 2022.

Trolling Is Taking a Toll on Science Journalism

Science journalists say they face threats of online harassment — and that newsrooms are doing little to protect them.

Published in Undark, May 2022

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.

Meta, Colombia. Photo by Lisa Palmer

Published in Nature Climate Change, May 2021

Finding Peace

Displaced and disenfranchised by decades of war, some Colombians are rebuilding their lives—and their forests—through ranching.

RED-LETTER DAY As part of a reparations program, the Colombian government offered Mercedes Murillo Gutierrez a parcel of scrubland to farm. © Juan Arredondo

Published in Nature Conservancy, May 30, 2020

Hacking Conservation

Standard efforts have failed to slow the pace of extinctions, so Conservation X Labs is trying a fresh approach.

Alex Dehgan leads the technology non-profit Conservation X Labs from Washington DC. Credit: Stephen Voss for Nature

Published in Nature, May 30, 2019

One meal a day

As Lake Chad vanishes, seven million people are on the brink of starvation.

Photograph by Chris De Bode

Published in The New Republic, July 2017

Urban Agriculture growth in U.S. cities

Published in Nature Sustainability, January 8, 2018

Adding power to the value of trees

Published in Nature Energy, April 11, 2017

‘It’s a perverse system’: How Colombia’s farmers are reforesting their logged land

Published in The Guardian, December 29, 2017

The next water cycle

Published in Nature Climate Change, October 29, 2014

Colombia finds hope for saving its wild lands.

Published in E360, October 25, 2017.

 A new climate for grazing livestock.

Published in Nature Climate Change, May 8, 2014

See additional writing selections here.

Hot, Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change

The U.N. predicts the Earth will have more than 9.6 billion people by 2050. With resources already scarce, how will we feed them all? Journalist Lisa Palmer has traveled the world for years, documenting the cutting-edge innovations of people and organizations on the front lines of fighting the food gap. Here, she shares the story of the epic journey to solve the imperfect relationship between two of our planet’s greatest challenges: climate change and global hunger.

“This lively, concise book is packed with practical and often surprising ideas for meeting the profound challenges of global food scarcity. Lisa Palmer is a clear-eyed realist, but her fascinating tour of our Hot Hungry Planet will leave you more optimistic than you may have thought possible.”

— Dan Fagin, Pulitzer-prize-winning author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation

Speaking Engagements

Public Speaking

As a journalist, educator, and research professor, my work is in high demand and I’d love to share what I know with your audience. I receive many requests for speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars; and with enough time, I would love to prepare a great experience for your organization. Contact me:


Fortify Your Reporting With Facts And Figures, SciLine , Public Media Journalism Association Conference at National Public Radio, Washington, D.C., June 6, 2024.

World Press Freedom Day: Journalism For The Planet, Our Voices, VOA Africa TV, May 7, 2024.

Rethinking Environmental and Climate Journalism Education, Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Penn., April 5, 2024.


United Nations, Climate Week Event, Sustainable Futures, Sept. 19, 2023.

Global Futures Conference, Healthy, Safe, and Secure Food For the Global Population (moderator), New York, NY, Sept. 21, 2023.

The Big Think: Extinction Solutions Index, Brooklyn, NY, Sept 14, 2023.

Weaving the Personal Into the Global and Political: Environmental Stories Close to the Bone, Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference, Boise, Idaho, April 22, 2023.

Environmental Communication: Sustainability, storytelling. and communicating on climate, health, and the environment. The GW Climate and Health Institute, Washington, DC, March 8, 2023.

Keynote Speaker, Climate Crisis, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, Feb. 27, 2023.

Keynote Speaker, World on a Plate: The fragility of the world’s food systems and how to fix them amid a changing climate, Walking Mountain Science Center, Vail, CO, Jan. 25, 2023. 


D. C. Science Writers Association, How science communicators can deal with hate and harassment, Professional Development Conference, Washington, DC, July 23, 2022.

American University, Investigative Reporting Workshop, Science Reporting and Investigations, June 8, 2022.  

The George Washington University, Faculty Seminar on Urban Governance, Multidisciplinary Collaboration, and Climate Change. Climate Change and the City: Building Communication Capacity for Urban Sustainability and Adaptation. Apr. 21, 2022.

American University, Conflict Cuisine: From Local to Global. Food in the Anthropocene: Making Peace with Nature, Feb. 24, 2022

Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Calderwood Environmental Seminar in Public Writing. Feb. 22, 2022

New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Newsroom: Science Journalism. Jan. 31, 2022.

Global Futures Conference, Sept. 20-22, 2022. New York, NY. Food Security and Climate Change.


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, Bissell 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, 2018 World 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

Projects, Research, and Teaching

Projects (forthcoming)



Professional Affiliations

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