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Gary Paul Nabhan on climate change

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Gary Paul Nabhan, an internationally known writer and conservation biologist, gave a convocation lecture titled "Chasing Chiles — Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail" on Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Centennial Hall.

He discussed how climate change impacts world food security, including world hunger. His activism for sustainable agriculture led Mother Earth News to deem him the "father of the local food movement."

Nabhan's lecture focused on his latest book, Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail (2011). Nabhan and two others took a two-year journey across Mexico to investigate the origin of chiles and the effects of climate change on the growth of chiles. The New York Times said Nabhan's book "captures the essence of why people continue, against all odds, to grow the food that they love."

Nabhan's other books have included Renewing America's Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods (2008), which celebrates efforts to preserve America's food diversity, and Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine (2008), which shares the work of hunger activist Nikolay Vavilov and explores contemporary threats to our food supply.

As a writer, scientist, farmer and activist, Nabhan integrates his research with his lifestyle. "I grow 15 kinds of chiles, which are lenses through which to see climate change," he said. "I am also the wild chile-eating champion of Baja, Arizona."

Nabhan works as a research scientist at the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona and is the author or editor of 24 books. He has founded several food and farming alliances and was honored with a 1990 MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the Genius Award) for his writing and conservation work. He also is an orchard-keeper, wild forager and Ecumenical Franciscan brother in Arizona.