Chair's Column


Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends of Hunter College Geography,

I hope that all of you are beginning a wonderful and productive summer. To those of you who have recently graduated I offer heart-felt congratulations from the Hunter Geography community, and wish you all the best in whatever endeavors await you. To any recent (or previous) graduates, I urge alumni to consider signing up to our Keep in Touch list ( .

Our Keep in Touch list allows us to maintain a network of alumni with whom we share information and networking opportunities. It also provides a platform for you to share job opportunities and other relevant information with others. We send out very few emails over this list: our daily communications continue to go through the geo-l listserv. It’s easy to sign up for Keep in Touch: Just go to  and provide the basic information. We do not share any of your information with others.

While I am writing, I thought I would mention some environmental news from the last week...

One of the biggest challenges facing environmental conservation efforts is assigning monetary value to natural systems. While in many instances this is difficult, or even impossible, efforts must still be made in order to perform any sort of cost-benefit analyses of environmental protection measures. One of the leaders in this area of research, Robert Costanza of the Australian National University, and his colleagues have recently published an update of their influential 1997 study attempting a global analysis of this issue. A discussion of this study was published in The New York Times recently (links below). The authors conclude that along with an increase in our understanding of these issues the value of natural ecosystem services to the global economy is much greater than previously thought. This is not an esoteric issue, but in fact enters into important decisions on a regular basis. For example, the authors' study of coral reefs indicates that reefs provide a number of services to society that are worth a great deal to the global economy; and just this week another article in The New York Times addresses the economic and political issues associated with saving the corals prior to the planned dredging in the Port of Miami (link below).

Climate-related news this week focuses on the EPA’s proposal to cut carbon emissions from power plants, and the potential political implications of this measure. Furthermore, the House of Representatives voted to pass an appropriations bill that prohibits all federal funding for climate change related research. The Senate version of the bill has no such provision.

Again, I wish you all a good summer, and to those who have graduated I wish success in the future. And, don’t forget to consider signing up for our Keep in Touch list ( .





Allan Frei, Chair
Department of Geography, Hunter College