Author to talk chile and climate change Tuesday at UTEP

Inspecting chilis cleaned by the experimental machine are ARS agricultural engineer Ed Hughs and New Mexico State University extension specialist Stephanie Walker. Peppers, part of the Paso del Norte region's claim to fam, will be the topic of a talk Tuesday at UTEP. (Photo by Peggy Greb)

Veronique Masterson

University of Texas at El Paso

The hotness of peppers is not causing climate change but, according to Gary Paul Nabhan, Ph.D., we can learn a lot about how climate change is impacting our region from these spicy little tasty treats.

Nabhan will speak at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, in Room 116 of the Undergraduate Learning Center on The University of Texas at El Paso campus. A reception and book signing will follow at the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, located at the corner of University Avenue and Wiggins Road on the UTEP campus.

Nabhan is co‐author of Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along The Pepper Trail (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011) with Kurt Michael Friese and Kraig Kraft. Their book follows the three authors over a yearlong journey where these three pepper-loving gastronauts (an agroecologist, a chef, and an ethnobotanist) set out to find the real stories of America’s rarest heirloom chile varieties, and learn about the changing climate from farmers and other people who live by the pepper.

Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since their introduction to Europe in the early 1500s via Christopher Columbus. Chiles today are delicious, dynamic, and very diverse. They have been rapidly adopted, adapted and assimilated into numerous world cuisines, and offer an unusual window into the issue of global climate change.

The event is co-sponsored by the Centennial Museum, the UTEP Center for Environmental Resource Management, and the College of Liberal Arts. Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Centennial Museum at 915‐747‐5565 or museum.utep.edu.

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