David López-Carr, Ph.D.
Professor of Geography
University of California, Santa Barbara
Background: David López-Carr directs the Human-Environment Dynamics Lab at UCSB. He studies the links between human population, health, and livelihoods and environmental change in North and Latin America, Asia and Africa. López-Carr has traveled to over 70 countries and speaks five languages.
Question 1: What are you most proud of in your work?
Answer: Helping my students to think critically and geographically, and to distinguish between fact and opinion. In terms of research, I am proud of our work in highlighting the role of human population and health in sustainability and conservation outcomes.
Question 2: What's your favorite food? Got a sweet tooth? Caffeine junkie? Are you a chef or a restaurateur?
Answer: My wife and mother in law's Pugliese cooking. Anything they make is amazing.
Question 3: Read a book you are dying to tell your peers about? Give us a brief summary and why you love it.
Answer: I read E.O. Wilson's "The Diversity of Life" in college, the year it was published, in 1992. It inspired me to study human impacts on biodiverse environments and influenced me to research human impacts on Guatemala's rainforests for my PhD thesis. As a human geographer, \The Diversity of Life\" compelled me to pursue research that helped us address how to confront the human and environmental implications of, in Wilson's words, "the sixth great extinction spasm of geological time is upon us, grace of mankind."
Question 4: What's playing on your iPod/music player?
Answer: Pandora's 'hipster cocktail party' or 'Vivaldi' stations, depending on my relative craving for motivation or concentration.
Question 5: If you were president for a day, what would be the first law you would want to pass?
Answer: Increase taxes on non-essentials, cigarettes, and gas to fund sustainable renewables, to achieve quality public education, nutrition, and healthcare, especially for the world's children (with a focus on the most underserved: women and girls), and to support transparent democracies. These are key UN Sustainable Development Goals. We can achieve them with a tiny fraction of the developed world's GDP and political commitment. It is imperative we do so.