Jared Aldstadt, UB associate professor of geography
What are you doing to help UB become more
One characteristic of Geographers is that they examine problems
from an ecological perspective. This means that we consider
human social, cultural, and economic factors as well as the
connections between human systems and the natural and man-made
environment. Understanding the complexity of the real world,
filled with feedbacks and interactions, is very important when
thinking about sustainability. Many of our environmental
problems result from failure to properly assess the broader impacts
of our decisions. In all my teaching I try to instill this
ecological perspective to help students make informed choices and
hopefully to avoid unintended consequences.
What kinds of sustainability related research/projects do you
pursue at UB?
My research takes an ecological approach to health issues.
The risk for a given disease can vary widely from place to
place. Understanding the underlying causes for this
geographic variation in disease risk can help us improve public
health by designing better mitigation and control programs.
Public health efforts often have to be tailored to the local
environment, including the social relationships and economic
activities, to be effective and sustainable.
What is the one thing you would like people to know that you
do in your personal life to further sustainability?
I am always experimenting with ways to lower my impact on the
environment. I do some composting, some gardening, and
collect rainwater at home. The lifestyle choice that probably
makes the most impact is commuting by bicycle and UB
Stampede. Not only does this reduce my emissions and carbon
footprint, it also builds some exercise into my daily
routine. It has also been fun and challenging to build a
bicycle that is low maintenance and ready to ride in almost any
How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?
I think UB has made sustainability a priority and the results
are visible at many scales. The solar strand is a big
project, but I also notice more ecologically friendly landscaping,
higher capacity bike racks on buses, more bike racks on campus, and
biodegradable packaging in the food courts. I think this
attention to all aspects of UB’s operations will continue to
be the best way to improve sustainability.