Milan Shrestha is a broadly trained environmental anthropologist and sustainability scientist with background in food-agriculture systems, geospatial analysis, and international development. He is currently an Associate Teaching Professor (School of Sustainability) and Senior Global Futures Scientist (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory) at Arizona State University (ASU).
Milan is interested in studying the fundamental question of how shared cultural knowledge and rules influence people's perception and decision-making related to their livelihood, land use, disaster risk, common pool resources, and sustainability. In recent years, he has conducted a series of fieldwork in the Himalaya to study how people perceive, experience, interpret, and respond to disaster risks, particularly glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) in the Himalayan region and beyond. He collaborates with geoscientists and engineers in an NSF funded multidisciplinary research grant on GLOF disaster risk reduction and mitigation. His own focus in this research project was on the socio-cryosphere system of GLOFs, particularly the historical context, institutional dynamics, cultural relevance, vulnerability, and social adaptation of GLOF in the region.
Outside of GLOFs in the Himalayas, Milan spends time thinking about the intersectionality among culture, disaster risks, and ecosystems; more specifically, how socio-cultural and institutional factors enable (or hinder) people for appropriate response to deal with hazards and disasters. He is also interested in interdisciplinary approaches that combine socio-economic and cultural data with geospatial analysis and visualization techniques to reveal complex patterns of environmental change such as, deforestation, land cover change, landscape fragmentation, and urban growth.
Milan's publications have appeared in interdisciplinary journals such as, Applied Geography, Global Environmental Research, International Journal of the Commons, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Natural Hazards, the Professional Geographer, the HIMALAYA, and Urban Ecosystem. He has served in the executive board of some professional organizations such as, the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) and the Culture & Agriculture section of the American Anthropological Association.
Beyond academia, Milan is a serious hobbyist of photography focused on nature and culture (see samples in 500px and vimeo), always seeking to improve his design-visualization skills. He is captivated by mountain communities as well as Arizona’s unique desert landscapes, which are often the subjects of his research and hobbies.