A global leader and authority in sustainability efforts and the development of environmental and climate change policy will be speaking at Virginia Tech and discussing future avenues for collaboration.

Izabella Monica Teixeira, the former minister of the environment for Brazil, will discuss land use and Brazil’s challenges in the global climate change agenda on Sept. 27 at 12:30 p.m. in Fralin Auditorium on the Blacksburg campus. Her presentation is open to the public.

Stella Schons, assistant professor of international forest economics and management in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, is coordinating Teixeira’s visit to campus through the Mentoring Program for New Faculty Members. It’s the first step in what Schons hopes will be an ongoing mentoring relationship that will allow her and her students to benefit from Teixeira’s 30 years of experience as a Brazilian public servant and global advocate for sustainability.

“Amongst the stewards of the Amazon rainforest and, as such, of the interests of Brazilian society, Izabella Monica Teixeira has played a prominent role in improving policies to curb deforestation and forest degradation in Brazil and in contributing to the negotiations of the Paris Agreement internationally,” Schon said.

Teixeira served as Brazil’s minister of the environment from 2010 to 2016. During her tenure, she played a major role in the development and adoption of the new Forest Code at the National Congress in 2012. She also achieved the lowest deforestation rates in the Amazon up to that point and, consequently, a large impact on a global scale in relation to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Internationally, she has been recognized numerous times by the United Nations for her knowledge and experience in environmental policy, serving as a key leader at the 2012 U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and leading the Brazilian delegation for negotiations of the Paris Agreement at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in 2015. The U.N. named her a Champion of the Earth in 2013.

Currently, Teixeira works as a consultant on environmental and climate change issues, serving as a senior fellow at the Brazilian Center for International Relations and co-president of the International Resource Panel of UN Environment.

Because of Teixeira’s unique combination of knowledge and direct experience, Schons sees her as a mentor who can guide her in finding her own niche and developing a research program centering on deforestation reduction and forest restoration aligned with development in tropical regions. Schons is also interested in the possibility of collaborating with her mentor on future articles related to land-use policy in the Amazon region of Brazil.

One area that is of specific interest to Schons is incentives to land-use change and their impacts on individual and community welfare and resource conservation. Here again, she sees Teixeira as an authority with much to share, as she was instrumental in working with different stakeholder groups in Brazil to address the challenges of deforestation.

“She was able to connect the different sectors of society, truly understand the problem, and tackle it,” Schons said.

Teixeira’s presentation on Sept. 27 will be part of the curriculum for Schons’s Natural Resource Economics course in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Teixeira will also visit the Climate Change and the International Policy Framework course taught by Carol Franco, a senior research associate in the department, as well as talk with individual students and faculty and attend a dinner with college and university leadership.

Schons hopes that the seminar and additional opportunities for engagement will be the beginning of an ongoing relationship between herself and Teixeira, as well as with Virginia Tech, that will aid in sustaining and advancing land-use policy and deforestation and carbon emissions reduction efforts in Brazil and other tropical regions.

Parking information

The Fralin Auditorium is located in Fralin Hall at 360 West Campus Drive. With a visitor’s pass, parking is available in the Wallace, Hillcrest, and Litton Reaves Lots, which can be accessed from Washington Street or Duck Pond Road. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center located at 965 Prices Fork Road, near the intersection of Prices Fork and University City Boulevard next to the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.

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