Eric R.R. Weaver
Mr. Weaver has had a very direct and personal experience with research. His previous consulting experience working as a SWMM Expert gave him direct insight into the problems with rampant development and the resulting impacts on the natural environment, wetlands, and estuaries. Immediate climate change, with adjustment of rainfall patterns in local areas of Florida is witnessed with the replacement or wetlands that aborb water with concrete and asphalt that repell water. Thus, the teaching and learning experiences at USF's Patel College of Global Sustainability encouraged him to research the stormwater development techniques commonly known as Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Low Impact Development (LID). His direct desire to explore new methods of community development that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly was his primary driving factor.
Mr. Weaver's research explored the opportunities to develop Urban Agriculture as a sustainable alternative to the existing techniques employed by developers. Thus, his research began by utilizing his skills with the EPA Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) to develop methods for simulating green infrastructure. His examination of the agriculture literature convinced him that the science of Agroecology was a sustainable alternative for food production that could easily replace the current community development practices. He believed that by replacing the wasted space of green lawns with sustainable urban agriculture the community could become more environmentally friendly and regenerative. Thus, he intended to research how simple BMP and LID techniques could be encouraged in communities to address food desserts and simultaneously provide for environmental restoration of the Florida hydrology.
USF presented immediate potentials which he engaged, adapting open doorways and team members into a new projects to expand and develop this research further. Today, as a Ph.D. Academic he has several research threads that he is still exploring:
- Urban Agriculture as Sustainable Development: where his dissertation research uncovered that food desserts can be avoided with more direct community engagement:
- Community Stormwater redevelopment research, encouraging fish ponds and aquaculture in residential subdivisions.
- Organic farming and environmental restoration encouraging complete systems research to create collaborative community gardens.
- Biogas liquid composting research to support urban agriculture and hydroponics through food waste recycling.
- Green Team research into team building as a viable method to support STEM training in public schools and encourage more urban agriculture.
- System thinking courses to inspire more engaged internships through Flipped Service-Learning projects at the university level.
- Engagement of community stakeholders and secondary schools to support coastal restoration and farm to table products.
- Policy research to address climate change and diverse green job creation.
- Sustainable systems through engaging community members as instructors.
- System change experimenting with community design by educators and students.