Social Justice and Entomology Webinar Series

Food Systems, Security, and Equity

From supporting agriculture to entomophagy, the impact of entomology on food systems in undeniable. However, extant food systems have been created in a system of inequality. For instance, only 2% of agricultural land in the US is owned by people of color and indigenous knowledge is undervalued. What is the role of entomology in creating equity and sustainable food systems?

Panelist: Esther Ngumbi 

Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an Assistant Professor of Entomology and African-American History in the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois. She is the founder of organizations that empower farmers and youth in Kenya, and she’s served as a mentor for entities like the Clinton Global University Initiative and President Obama’s Young Leadership Program. Dr. Ngumbi uses her education as a voice for the voiceless, and use her intellect to serve the needs of the hungry, the poor and the needy!

Panelist: Georgina Bingham

Dr. Bingham is Research Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Bingham's research supports global food security and nutrition and has developed, evaluated and used innovative affordable agricultural and digital tools to support smallholder farmers, government policy and improve food safety and nutrition.

Climate Change

Climate change impacts both host plants and insects leading to changes in human and animal migration, disease patterns, and food production. Changes such as these often increase inequity among social groups. Whether in the area of vector-borne disease or food production, can entomology work to lessen inequity caused by climate change locally and globally? What are the roles and responsibilities of entomologists?

Panelist: Charles Ben Beard 

Charles Benjamin (Ben) Beard is the Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. He also serves as co-chair of CDC’s Climate and Health Taskforce and is CDC’s representative to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. He has served outside of CDC on numerous working groups and advisory panels for the World Health Organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and the American Meteorological Society. He served as an editor and lead author for the USGCRP Climate Change and Human Health Group 2016 report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, and he is an author currently on the Human Health Chapter of the USGCRP Fifth National Climate Assessment. He is an Associate Editor for Emerging Infectious Diseases and past president of the Society for Vector Ecology. During his tenure at CDC, his work has focused on the ecology, prevention and control of vector-borne zoonotic diseases, both in domestic and global arenas, and he has published over 140 scientific papers, books, and book chapters collectively.


Panelist: Emily Meineke

Dr. Emily Meineke earned her doctoral degree at North Carolina State University in the Department of Entomology as an EPA STAR Fellow where she pioneered research characterizing the effects of urban heat islands on insect herbivores. As a is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard University Herbaria, she studied how urbanization and climate change have affected plant-insect relationships worldwide over the past 100+ years. Emily joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at University of California, Davis in 2020. Her laboratory leverages natural history collections, citywide experiments, and observations to characterize effects of recent anthropogenic change on plant-insect herbivore interactions

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