Sandra Postel

Sandra Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project, based in New Mexico, and lectures, writes and consults on global water issues. She is also the National Geographic Society's first Freshwater Fellow, serving as lead water expert for the Society's freshwater initiative. During 2000-2008, Postel was visiting senior lecturer in Environmental Studies at Mount Holyoke College, and from July 2007 to December 2008 directed the college's Center for the Environment. From 1988 until 1994, she was vice president for research at the Worldwatch Institute, a non-profit environmental research organization. Postel was a 1995 Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, and in 2002 was named one of the "Scientific American 50" by Scientific American magazine, an award recognizing contributions to science and technology.

A leading authority and prolific author on international water issues, Postel's work is dedicated to the creation of a more environmentally secure world in which all people and living things may thrive. She is author of Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last' and of Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity, which was chosen by Choice magazine as a 1993 Outstanding Academic Book. Last Oasis appears in eight languages and was the basis for a PBS documentary that aired in 1997. Postel's article 'Troubled Waters', was selected for inclusion in the 2001 edition of Best American Science and Nature Writing. She is also co-author (with Brian Richter) of Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature (Island Press 2003), which calls for new approaches to harmonizing human and ecosystem needs for fresh water. In 2005, the Worldwatch Institute released her publication Liquid Assets: The Critical Need to Safeguard Freshwater Ecosystems.

Postel has authored more than 100 articles for popular and scholarly publications, including Science, Natural History, Scientific American, Foreign Policy, BioScience, Ecological Applications, Technology Review, Environmental Science and Technology, International Wildlife, and Water International. She has written some 20 op-ed features that have appeared in more than 30 newspapers in the United States and abroad, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. A frequent conference speaker and lecturer, she also has served as commentator on CNN's Futurewatch, addressed the European Parliament on environmental issues, and appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, ABC's Nightline, and NPR's Science Friday. She also appears in the BBC's Planet Earth and Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour.

Postel has served as advisor to the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the U.S. National Research Council as well as to American Rivers. She has served on the Board of Directors of the International Water Resources Association, and on the editorial boards of Ecosystems, Water Policy, and Green Futures. She received a B.A. (summa cum laude) in geology and political science at Wittenberg University and an M.E.M. with emphasis on resource economics and policy at Duke University. Postel has been awarded two honorary Doctor of Science degrees, the Duke University School of Environment's Distinguished Alumni Award, and a Pew Scholar's Award in Conservation and the Environment. 

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