Lisa Palmer

Hi, I’m Lisa Palmer!

I’m a narrative storytelling pro–an award winning journalist, editor, podcast script writer and producer, multimedia storyteller, public speaker, and educator. I’m an editor’s or producer’s essential go-to for uncovering rich stories while pursuing the truth and tackling intricate subjects with a with a keen reporter’s sense and a wordsmith’s use of language.

As a narrative journalist and writer, I specialize in reporting on fundamental innovations, responses and creative solutions to complex problems. My stories bring together unexpected connections and surprising individuals. My reporting has led me to remote parts of the Amazon, innovative rural communities in northern India, corners of Colombia where rural families and environmental researchers co-exist with FARC dissidents, prickly cities and villages of East Africa and coastal Alaska, and communities in the US facing an uncertain future.

My news feature articles appear in the Nature family of journals, Yale e360, Undark, The Guardian, Nautilus, The New Republic, The New York Times, 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). I frequently appear on media, podcasts, and in public forums to talk about my work, including Voice of America TV, the American Public Media Journalists Association, the World Affairs Council, Global Governance Forum, the Global Futures Conferences in New York, the Society of Environmental Journalists events, the U.S. State Department, the Wilson Center, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and at universities across North America and Europe.

I am a Research Professor of Science Communication at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and affiliate of the GW Alliance, the Global Food Institute, and GW’s Climate & Health Institute. As Senior Editor and Education Lead at Planet Forward, I lead a community of contributing writers and multimedia storytellers. I occasionally lecture in Environmental Studies at Georgetown University. 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 a student of the piano. 

Here’s what some of my students have to say: “I want to express my complete gratitude for selecting me to participate in (your seminar). Our week in D.C. felt like the learning experience of a lifetime. As a growing climate communicator, I understand how important conveying climate information to the public will be and I gained a plethora of skills to do so.”

— Columbia University graduate student

About Me

Anneliese (Lisa) Palmer

Hello, there!

I am Anneliese (Lisa) Palmer, an interdisciplinary communicator and strategic leader with the goal of inspiring change through research and storytelling. 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. I’m also an Adjunct Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Georgetown University. As Senior Editor and Education Lead at Planet Forward, I lead a community of contributing writers and multimedia storytellers who focus on stories about solutions rather than just describing problems.

I participate in the national and international discourse on science and socio-environmental issues. I write, publish, and speak on environmental, climate change, and food security issues. I develop and lead seminars, contribute to podcasts and digital media, and offer 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, 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 a student of the piano. I try to be on time.

Writing

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


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 get many requests for speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars; and with enough time, I would love to prepare a great experience for you and your group. Contact me: lisa@lisa-palmer.com

2023

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. 

2022

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.

2017-2021

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)

Research

Teaching

Professional Affiliations

National Association of Science Writers; Society of Environmental Journalists; Washington, D.C., Science Writers Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors

Fellowships

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

AWARDS

Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting Travel Grants | 2017 & 2015

Solutions Journalism Grant | 2013

National Education Reporting Awards | 2013

Rhode Island Press Association | 2007 & 2008