Did you ever imagine that an astonishing 41% of our planet’s surface consists of drylands? Though these seemingly barren expanses seem unimportant, they play a critical role in the world’s production of food and nutrition for roughly 200 million people in the world.
On Sept. 21, Dr. Hilary Hungerford, an associate professor a UVU’s Earth Science department, gave a presentation at the Bingham Gallery on drylands, their role in world economics, and why we should be mindful of the effects of climate change in these areas.
“This all started with a study abroad program for me,” Dr. Hungerford said. “When I was an undergrad, I decided that I was kind of bored at school, so I went to the study abroad office and said, ‘I want to go somewhere I know nothing about.’” She then went on to talk about her time in the study abroad program and how she was introduced to the nomadic cultures that reside within West Africa where she studied.
Hungerford drew her audience’s attention multiple times to the Roots of Knowledge stained-glass display behind her, illustrating the focus of knowledge in the Western world saying, “Challenges we’re presented with now like environmental issues and climate change really risks all of this to have the same fate as the Mali and Mongol Empire.”
During the doctor’s speech, there were a number of technical difficulties including a power outage shutting off the microphones and the TV she was using to present, however, that didn’t stop the professor who impressively kept things alive despite the hiccups preventing the presentation to go as planned. “You won’t get to see my beautiful slides, but that’s okay,” The professor said, opening the floor up to the audience for questions about the topic.
If you have any questions of your own, Dr. Hungerford’s presentation will be available in the Roots of Knowledge Speaker Series Archive. If you’re interested in learning more about drylands or other Earth science topics, you can also visit Fulton Library in person where several books on the topic are available to read, as well as the stained-glass display in Bingham Gallery where future speaker series presentations will be held.