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In addition to combating COVID-19, stimulating the economy and ensuring racial equity, President Joe Biden has focused heavily on environmental issues during his first months in office. Beyond a flurry of executive orders on key priorities, such as rejoining the Paris climate agreement and conserving at least 30 percent of federal land and oceans by 2030, the Biden administration faces a mountain of complex, often interlocked crises that require innovative, boundary-crossing solutions. Stanford researchers working at the intersection of multiple fields are identifying promising new approaches to some of these challenges. Their findings, expertise and policy experience could help contribute to sustainable, cost-effective solutions.

“Solving the most pressing environmental quandaries of our time will require interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers, practitioners and stakeholders on an unprecedented scale and thinking deeply about how people relate to the world around them,” said Stanford behavioral scientist Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, an assistant professor of Earth system science at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth) and a center fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “It’s time for fundamental changes in approach.”

The Biden administration’s energy and environmental justice plan sets ambitious goals for undoing unjust community pollution burdens, ensuring safe drinking water and leveraging natural climate solutions, among other targets. Here, we highlight insights from Stanford experts on how to tackle some of these goals as well as other environmentally focused objectives, such as combating damaging wildfires, dealing with mounting nuclear waste and adapting to a rapidly changing Arctic.