|Born and raised near Princeton, New Jersey, Mr. Brian Orland’s fascination with India began during his sophomore year at Davidson College, North Carolina when he studied abroad there. The next summer he returned to South India to conduct public health research at a rural leprosy hospital. After graduation, he went on to research at strategic studies think tanks in New Delhi and Mumbai and learned Hindi in the Himalayan foothills. While working on a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., he conducted field research on socio-economic responses to flooding and erosion on the Brahmaputra River in Assam. Following graduation, he taught young children at a tribal village near the wettest place on Earth (hint: it’s located due South of Shillong) and explored the area around the Thai-Burma border. His most recent travel has been in Indonesia where he has been learning Indonesian and exploring Sulawesi. For one month prior to conducting Fulbright research, he will lead a group of students from The Putney School, Vermont in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr. Orland’s Fulbright research project, “Climate Change Adaptation on the Brahmaputra River,” employs a new field-based, village-level research methodology to study climate change adaptation along the Brahmaputra River. The methodology links ecosystem services with livelihood strategies to pinpoint adaptation drivers for enhanced response planning. For eight months, he will conduct village case studies, mapping natural resource flows and hazards and engaging villagers in group discussions and interviews. The ninth month he will spend interviewing the leading experts who study the river and its riparian communities. As earth systems scientists continuously sharpen their climate change models, social scientists must apply the same research energy to forecast and channel the human response to these environmental impacts.