Press & Public


  • Dornsife video: Tap the Past to Map the Future (3 mins) Our research on ocean sediment cores from the Indian Ocean to reconstruct change in the monsoon climates and vegetation over millions of years. Filmed in the leaf wax lab at USC. January 17th 2017.

Panel discussions

  • Mayborn Museum, Waco, TX. Earth Science Symposium Panel: Discussion, “Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future” video (1hr 30mins) 10/12/17
  • A Climate Series for the Ages, at the La Brea Tar Pitts, hosted by UCLA IOES “Climate Change Cliff Notes” panelists Mann/Swain/Feakins moderated by Lalasz video (1hr 30 mins) 10/5/17
  • USC Unruh Debate. CA vs. USA: How CA is mobilizing to protect its climate agenda video (1hr) 3/28/2017
  • Dornsife video: Electoral Commons on climate change. Panel discussion (1hr 30 mins) September 2016

Recent press:

  • Voice of America – TV interview by Kevin Enochs – “Finding Solutions to the World’s New Reality: Water Shortage” Sept 10th 2017 (2mins)
  • Voice of America – TV interview by Kevin Enochs – “Prepping for Future with Drought-resistant Wheat” August 29th 2017 (2mins)
  • KPCC Environment and Science News radio piece interviewed by Emily Dugdale: “Can we breed crops to be more drought resistant?” August 18th 2017 (1 min)
  • USC News  “Wax on: how wheat  plants shield themselves during drought” August 15th 2017
  • Dornsife video: We See Trees Differently. (3 mins) Holiday greeting featuring several faculty including Prof Feakins. December 2016.

Climate & Society

  • KPCC Environment & Science News radio interview by Sanden Totten, recorded interview with Feakins in the leaf wax lab and others. (4.5 mins) Aired 12/12/2016.
  • The Press Enterprise (serving 12 local newspapers): “Why Trump’s climate change rollback doesn’t change anything for California” by Daniel Danelski. Feakins quoted on p2 3/28/2017
  • KTLA 5 short clip on coal aired 3/28/2017
  • University of Bristol: Hothouse climates of the past: lessons for the future. Feakins quoted 5/19/17

Drought in California

  • NBC4 News Conference – studio TV interview on Governor Brown’s declaration of drought in California, past droughts and future predictions. (6 mins) Aired January 19 2014.
    • It’s official. California is in a drought. But as Sarah Feakins, Ph.D. assistant professor of Earth Sciences at USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences explains we have been here before. NBC4 Conan Nolan gets a historical perspective.
  • BBC 5 radio – live in depth interview. (18 mins) Aired February 4 2014.
    • California is suffering its worst drought since records began, over a century ago. So how bad is it? On BBC Radio 5 Live’s Up All Night with Rhod Sharp, I spoke to USC assistant professor of earth sciences, Dr Sarah Feakins.
  • US News and World Reports – quoted on ski resorts February 14 2014.
  • KFWB – live drive time interviews June 25, March 4, February 6 2014.
  • CBS-2 6pm TV News, January 27 2014.
  • Santa Barbara Independent quoted on Zaca Lake research; 2012.

Grasslands Earlier than Thought in the Cradle of Humanity

  • The Economist Grassed Up: A cherished theory about why people walk upright has just bitten the dust February 16th 2013

    • This news piece features the findings of the study based on an interview with Feakins, within the Human evolution and Paleobotany section of the print edition. Authored by Matt Kaplan.
  • CBC radio: Quirks and Quarks, extended radio interview by Bob McDonald, Canadian public radio (5 mins).
    • Encroaching Grasslands and Bipedalism. Scientists have long theorized that human ancestors became bipedal as a result of grasslands encroaching on the forests in which they lived; in particular those of North-East Africa, where fossils trace the history of human evolution.  It was thought that with fewer trees to climb and move around in, they were forced to the ground.  But a new study by Dr. Sarah Feakins, an Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at USC in Los Angeles, overturns that theory, based on the timing of changes to the grasslands.  By looking at sediment core evidence of plant leaf waxes and pollen blown from the land into the Gulf of Aden, she determined that the changes to the vegetation occurred 12 million years ago, a full 6 million years or more before human ancestors became bipedal.
  • Academic Minute WAMC Northeast Public Radio
  • read the scientific publication open access article at Geology
  • Scientific American coverage, translated into Chinese here
  • Futurity: How long have humans walked on grasslands
  • RedOrbit coverage
  • National Geographic A hidden victim of Somali Pirates – Science.
    • Feakins was interviewed by Pulitzer Prize winning Paul Salopek, on his 7 year walk Out of Eden project with National Geographic, following in the footsteps of the human diaspora out of Africa. Paul interviewed Sarah, by satellite phone, powered by solar panels on a camel, near the start of his journey. The topic, how piracy has interrupted scientific research in the region.
    • Update: we’ve drilled elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, but still not close to Somali waters.

Ancient Warming Greened Antarctica

  • National Geographic News
  • CBC Quirks and Quarks extended radio interview by Bob McDonald, Canadian public radio (8 mins). archived here
  • KPCC Environment & Science news cast (0.5 mins) by Molly Peterson
    • Global warming could make Antarctica green again. Environmental scientists say we could see a repeat of climate conditions from a time when plants grew not far from the South Pole.
  • Feakins interviewed on RadioLIVE New Zealand.
  • Feakins’ guest blog on RealClimate.org ‘My oh Miocene’
  • Read the original publication at Nature Geoscience
  • NASA press release
  • Online coverage in dozens of outlets in many countries and languages around the world, including France, Germany, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, the UK.

Peruvian River Research

Earlier interviews:

  • With the recent rains are we still in drought? KABC TV7 NEWS – 2009
  • Turning over an Old Leaf Huntington Frontiers – Fall/Winter 2008

Available for Press Interviews

Find Sarah Feakins’ profile, along with other USC faculty, in USC Experts Directory here