Machlis poses in the field.

Gary Machlis is a former science advisor to the director of the U.S. National Park Service and University Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson.
Image Credit: Clemson University

A Clemson University faculty member will join international industry, government and academic leaders to discuss and develop sustainability policy as part of a special group assembled by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS).

Gary Machlis, former science adviser to the director of the U.S. National Park Service and University Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson, began serving on the NAS Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability on Feb. 1 and his term will continue through Jan. 31, 2022. Machlis will meet with NAS members and members of the roundtable Feb. 27-28 in Washington, D.C.

The group will focus on two areas during the February meeting: rethinking cities for sustainable development and communicating with youth about ocean and coastal sustainability. Machlis said these topics are important to him on both a professional and personal level.

“For South Carolina as in many other coastal areas, these topics are tightly linked,” Machlis said. “Areas such as Charleston will depend on a new generation of environmental, educational and economic leaders to be sustainable. And, I have an 11-year-old grandson that is so passionate in his concern for the world’s oceans; he has something to teach us all about how young people can learn about science and sustainability.”

Established in 2002, the roundtable provides a high-level forum for sharing views, information and analysis related to harnessing science and technology for sustainability; members of this roundtable also aid in advisory work through the Academies.

The roundtable draws on expertise of leaders from research institutions as well as senior decision makers from government and industry who are in a position to mobilize new strategies and resources for sustainability. Franklin Carrero-Martinez, senior director of the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program, said the program is glad to have added Machlis to its team.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Machlis as a member of the roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability,” said Carrero-Martinez. “Dr. Machlis brings a wealth of information and experience that will enrich our discussion and the work of the roundtable.”

Machlis, who calls Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management department home, said he thinks the true strength of the roundtable will be in its ability to focus on specific topics such as the ones to be discussed later this month. He looks forward to hearing the many creative ideas that will be spurred from the collaboration of its members.

Roundtable members include heads of industry, such as Kara Hurst, head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, and Cyrus Wadia, former vice president of sustainable business and innovation at Nike, Inc. Also on the roundtable are governmental leaders such as Suzette Kimball, senior advisor to the U.S. Geological Survey, and Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Machlis will be joined on the roundtable by faculty and academic leaders from other universities including the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University and Carnegie Mellon University.

Bob Jones

Robert H. Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Clemson University.
Image Credit: Clemson University

“I am enthused to be included in this group of scholars and leaders who are working on the leading edge of sustainability science,” Machlis said. “I look forward to the work that this roundtable can do to aid the National Academies.”

Robert H. Jones, Clemson’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said the work of faculty members such as Machlis clearly reveals how much Clemson as an institution values the use of science in efforts to drive international change related to sustainability. Jones said that University leadership is thrilled to have Machlis representing Clemson on a roundtable populated by leading thinkers on the myriad issues of sustainability.

“As a land-grant institution, Clemson sees issues related to sustainability as some of the most important challenges facing our state, our nation and our world today,” Jones said. “For Dr. Machlis to have input at this level of the discussion speaks to the quality and reputation of our faculty and our work in environmental science.”