Stockholm International Water Institute

Meet the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate


The 2011 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Prof. Stephen R. Carpenter believes that the need to deal with large catastrophic events such as floods and droughts will make us rethink how or landscapes and institutions are built.

In an interview with the Stockholm Water Front from his office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Carpenter says that natural science is making a lot of progress in understanding the risks of catastrophic events. He explains that the next big scientific advances will be made in the area of catastrophe resilience.

“We now need to work with the public and policy makers,” he adds. Prof. Carpenter will receive the Stockholm Water Prize from H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during the 2011 World Water Week in Stockholm on August 25. He will elaborate on his message to more than 2,500 expected attendees representing politics, business, science and water professionals.

Prof. Carpenter, 59, is recognised as one of the world’s most influential environmental scientists in the field of ecology. By combining theoretical models and largescale lake experiments he has reframed scientific knowledge of freshwater environments and how lake ecosystems are impacted by humans and the surrounding landscape. Carpenter’s contributions in helping us understand how we affect lakes through nutrient loading, fishing, and introduction of exotic species, is what won him the honourable prize, according to the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee.

“Prof. Carpenter has shown outstanding leadership in setting the ecological research agenda, integrating it into a socio-ecological context, and in providing guidance for the management of aquatic resources,” noted the committee in its motivation. Known for this multi-disciplinary approach to find answers to hard ecological questions, Prof. Carpenter says this was the only path that he could take as he started his research in the field of limnology – the study of lake environments.

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