- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The University of California today launches Sustainable California, a new media-rich web portal to share its efforts to sustain the world's sixth largest economy, a site of unequal natural resources and provider of more than half the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables. The portal is hosted by University of California Television (UCTV).
Principal project partners are UC Water, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC Merced School of Engineering, among others.
“California has a tremendous diversity of plants, animals, ecosystems and people,” said Glenda Humiston, vice president of UC ANR. “The state also plays an important role in feeding the nation and the world. We are now facing climate change, increasing conversion of agricultural land to urban uses, introductions of invasive diseases and pests, and other threats. UC ANR will share its science-based solutions for California sustainability on this new outlet.”
Sustainable California will broadcast stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and student.
“This is what UCTV is about, connecting Californians to the real-world, inestimable values that the UC provides all of California,” said UCTV Director Lynn Burnstan. “We are very excited to be able to join these partners and give the public direct access to what they are doing for all our benefit.”
As well as a video introduction to the portal, the launch features three fresh videos, spanning natural resources and agriculture. Water in the Balance, from UCWater, is a five-minute journey from Sierra Nevada snowpack through the state's system of dams and reservoirs to groundwater storage. The first in a series of six episodes, Introduction to Conservation Agriculture Cropping Systems, from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, features California farmers and UC scientists working together to develop sustainable farming practices. Taking technology to the mountains, Sierra-Net highlights the development of innovative cyber-infrastructure to provide real-time monitoring of the state's water resources and forest health. Produced by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of natural resources management and innovation.
The channel's content is appropriate for audiences of all ages and freely accessible to the public online at uctv.tv/sustainable-cal. The integrated video, article and curriculum format of the channel, in addition to its focus on biodiversity, natural resources and low-impact living, provides users both a look at and connection to practical solutions and approaches the UC is developing, making it a valuable resource for professional practitioners, educators, and media outlets.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
UC ANR has chosen Gavin McNicol and Stella Cousins, both UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidates, to receive UC President's Sustainability Student Fellowships.
“Our search for new ways to reduce UC's and California's carbon footprint is sure to benefit from the creativity and innovative ideas brought by these two exceptional student fellows,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
McNicol, a native of Scotland, is studying how much methane is released from restored wetlands in the Sacramento Delta region. The results of his research will inform the development of future wetland restoration plans, encouraging more effective efforts to minimize emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Cousins, a Californian from Ceres and an alumna of UC ANR's 4-H Program in Stanislaus County, is examining how forest mortality and standing dead trees impact the pools and fluxes of carbon in California's mixed conifer forests. Her research results will improve the accuracy and completeness of forest carbon accounting and greenhouse gas budgets for California's changing forests.
The UC Office of the President is providing $7,500 to each of UC's 10 campuses and to the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, earmarked to fund student awards in support of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative and other UC-based sustainability efforts.
An initiative to enhance competitive and sustainable food systems is part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The UC Office of the President will provide $7,500 to each of UC's 10 campuses, as well as the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to fund student awards in support of UC's Carbon Neutrality Initiative and other university sustainability efforts. Awards could be made as early as late February.
The program was inspired by UC's Global Food Initiative fellowship program, through which 54 students across the university system have received $2,500 awards to support projects that further the food initiative's goals.
UC President Janet Napolitano said she hopes this new program will spark a similar universitywide interest among students in advancing UC's carbon neutrality goals.
"It is essential that we harness the passion and creative energy of our students as we look for new ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our campuses, our communities, our country and the world,” Napolitano said. “I am hopeful that these awards will galvanize student activity.”
The program will be open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and will be administered at each location to ensure that student efforts align with local needs. UC locations will also have flexibility in determining the number of awards to issue.
At each UC campus, one award recipient will be designated to support student engagement and communications for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative and the President's Global Climate Leadership Council, which was created in 2014 to guide UC's efforts on climate action and sustainability.
Since President Napolitano launched the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in fall 2013, UC has achieved several key milestones, including:
- Creation of the President's Global Climate Leadership Council, which is now mapping out UC's long-term strategy for achieving university-wide carbon neutrality.
- Becoming a wholesale power provider, a move that has allowed UC to begin supplying electricity to some of its campuses and medical centers. The change allows UC to make renewables a bigger portion of its power supply and brings energy price transparency to its electricity purchases.
- UC signed an agreement with Frontier Renewables for the largest solar energy purchase by any higher education institution in the United States. As a result, a significant share of UC electricity will come from solar power beginning in 2016.