Building Climate Resilience in Vulnerable Regions

The world is facing growing demand for food, energy and water (FEW) systems that sustain human life. This growing demand comes with challenges in the way we use land and allocate resources in the face of climate change. A research team at Johns Hopkins is collaborating with counterparts in Ethiopia and Mali to understand how these rapidly developing, but highly climate vulnerable countries, will adapt to food, energy and water dynamics in a changing climate. They are developing modeling tools to assess energy and food security initiatives to better understand who will benefit from the rapidly changing food, energy, and climate landscape, and who might be left behind.

Armed with a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), climate scientist Ben Zaitchik (Dept of Earth & Planetary Sciences) is leading an interdisciplinary team to examine multi-scale resilience options for climate-vulnerable Africa. The team includes modeling expert Sauleh Siddiqui (Dept Civil Engineering), climate policy and agriculture expert Jonathan Haskett (Energy, Resources & Environment Program), and other researchers from the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, Columbia University, University of California Santa Barbara, and Addis Ababa University. Using the multi-scale approach, they are able to look at critical human outcomes – such as nutrition and household economic well-being – coupled with development and climate adaptation strategies. Their goal is to better understand these complex systems in a way that can help improve development and climate adaptation strategies.

This project builds on the team’s research supported by a 2015-2016 Johns Hopkins Discovery Award, “Modeling the Effects of Climate Change on the Global Food System.”

Research Team

Ben Zaitchik, E²SHI Associate
Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Krieger School of Arts & Sciences (KSAS)

Sauleh Siddiqui, E²SHI Associate
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Whiting School of Engineering (WSE)

Jonathan Haskett, E²SHI Executive Committee Member
Associate Director, Energy, Resources & Environment Program
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


See the full project abstract

Learn about NSF’s support for research in integrating food, energy, and water systems

Learn more about the project, “Modeling the Effects of Climate Change on the Global Food System,” supported by a JHU Discovery Award

Women merchants sell food at the market in Sikasso, Mali. Photo credit: C. Hugues

Learning to be an innovator is about learning to cross disciplinary boundaries and exploring problems and their solutions from multiple perspectives.
— Tony Wagner