- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
This partnership will provide $1.1 million to hire 10 UC Cooperative Extension community education specialists who will be deployed to 10 counties statewide to assist and encourage farmers to participate in CDFA programs aimed at increasing adoption of smart farming and ranching practices.
“Agriculture is an important part of the climate solution,” Ross said. “This funding enables CDFA and UC ANR to partner with farmers to scale-up climate smart agricultural practices.”
The new program is funded by California Climate Investments dollars through the Strategic Growth Council (SGC),
“Farmers and ranchers are key to carbon sequestration and a sustainable California,” said SGC chair Ken Alex. “The Strategic Growth Council is pleased to fund this partnership for smart agricultural practices.”
The partnership is focused on implementing on-farm solutions to improve soil health, nutrient management, irrigation management, on-farm composting and manure management – smart farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
- State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
- Healthy Soils Program
- Alternative Manure Management Program
This new joint effort reflects our commitment to extending research-supported solutions to our farming community so they have the information and tools they need to make climate-smart decisions,” Humiston said. “It also demonstrates our shared goal of promoting new practices that are grounded in science.”
The 10 new education specialists will serve in Mendocino, Glenn, Yolo, San Joaquin, Merced, Kern, Imperial, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties.
Three UCCE advisors will mentor and assist the new educators: water quality and management advisor Laurent Ahiablame, based in San Diego County; area dairy advisor Betsy Karle, based in Glenn County; and irrigation and cotton advisor Dan Munk, based in Fresno County.
In addition to working with the new educators, the UCCE advisors conduct research on farming and ranching practices that boost efficiency and protect the climate, therefore serving as a conduit between discovery and implementation.
“This is a great opportunity to really support growers find the right balance between food production and effective management of natural resources,” Ahiablame said. “With the 10 community education specialists, we will be one step closer to the producers across the state. I look forward to the opportunity to mentor these specialists, who in turn will be making direct impacts on the community.”
Karle said she was interested in participating in the program as a way to encourage dairy operators to try practices they are interested in but consider too costly.
“I've worked here locally with dairy producers who wanted to implement practices, but need financial assistance in order to make it feasible,” Karle said. “They need assistance in the grant application process and technical support to make changes on their farms.”
- Author: Jim Downing
UC Cooperative Extension researchers convey need for more climate change communication and curriculum tools
[NOTE: The Integrating Climate Change in California Cooperative Extension Programs Workshop will be held Feb. 6-7.]
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from natural and working lands is one of California's key climate change strategies. In particular, the potential for farm and rangeland soils to serve as carbon sinks has been getting a lot of attention lately in the national media — and during California Healthy Soils week, which wrapped up Dec. 7.
These are areas where UC Cooperative Extension, with its local presence across the state, is well-positioned to drive change. But as a recent survey of UCCE advisors, specialists and faculty found, while there is a good deal of climate work happening, there are also some significant obstacles.
The survey results — reported in an article by UCCE academics Ted Grantham, Faith Kearns, Susie Kocher, Leslie Roche and Tapan Pathak in the latest issue of California Agriculture — showed that while nearly 90 percent of respondents believe it is important to incorporate climate science into extension programming, only 43 percent currently do so.
Respondents pointed to a number of issues. One was "limited familiarity with climate science fundamentals." It's one thing to cite the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and is being driven largely by human activity; it is another to be able to respond quickly and convincingly to detailed questions from doubters. This list from Grist, for instance, details more than 100 common arguments raised by climate skeptics, many of which have non-trivially complex answers.
Another important issue cited by respondents was "fear of alienating clientele by talking about a contentious topic," a response that highlights the importance of personal relationships in UCCE's work, and the challenge of communicating an area of science that is highly politicized.
The authors conclude: "To further increase the capacity of UC ANR staff to support the needs of their clientele and the broader public, professional development around climate science fundamentals, communication, and adaptation strategies is critical." As an initial follow-up, the UCANR climate change program team (led by authors Grantham, Kocher and Pathak) is presenting a workshop and professional development meeting for extension professionals in February.
The University of California, in partnership with Vox media, has launched Climate Lab – a new six-part video series on climate change. Hosted by conservation scientist and UCLA Visiting Researcher M. Sanjayan, the videos explore the surprising elements of our lifestyle that can contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to mitigate its effects. The series aims to take the overwhelming subject of climate change and break it down into manageable topics to inspire viewers to transform the planet. The videos discuss everything from clean energy to food, and from religion to smartphones, through interviews with experts, scientists, thought leaders and activists, including many researchers and experts in our UC community.
The first two videos, "Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change” and “Going green shouldn't be this hard,” can be viewed at climate.universityofcalifornia.edu.
Future videos in the series will be released each Wednesday at 6 a.m. through May 24 and will be available on UC's Climate Lab website (climate.universityofcalifornia.edu).
This project builds on the UC system's ongoing commitment to address climate change. At a time when the importance of robust and sustained funding for climate change research is being debated on a national level, it's more important than ever to invest in ambitious research about issues important to our state and nation's economic health, prosperity and innovation and to communicate about it in a way that's fact-driven as well as relevant and engaging.
In 2013, President Janet Napolitano launched the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, establishing a systemwide goal of UC becoming carbon neutral by 2025. To date, energy efficiency measures and clean energy projects implemented across the UC system have generated savings of $28 million per year.
“As Climate Lab shows, investments in research and technology are critically important as we work to address global climate disruption,” Napolitano said. “Achieving carbon neutrality and addressing climate change are not merely operational or research goals at the University of California – they are moral imperatives. That's why I launched the Carbon Neutrality Initiative and committed UC to becoming carbon neutral in our operations.”
You can help spread UC's messages about climate change by sharing the videos on blogs, social media, websites or by email. If you follow UC's Facebook (facebook.com/universityofcalifornia) or Twitter (twitter.com/uofcalifornia) accounts, you can see and share the videos directly as they release. Or you can draft you own posts directing folks to climate.universityofcalifornia.edu – sample Facebook posts and tweets are below if you would like to modify them for your use.
The University of California has put together an amazing video project on climate change. Check it out at climate.universityofcalifornia.edu.
Our friends at the @uofcalifornia are releasing a series of innovative videos on #climatechange with @voxdotcom: climate.universityofcalifornia.edu
The @uofcalifornia & @voxdotcom seek to change the way we think, talk & act around #climatechange. Watch videos at climate.universityofcalifornia.edu
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
“To better understand climate-science training needs across UC Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station, we want to hear from colleagues across the family and consumer sciences, youth development, agriculture and natural resources disciplines,” said Leslie Roche, UCCE rangeland science and management specialist at UC Davis. “For example, if you lead programs on food, drought, pests, farmworker safety or environmental education, then climate science is relevant to you.”
“The survey includes questions about your interests and experiences in incorporating climate science and outreach into your research and extension programs,” Roche said. “We will use this information to guide future professional-development opportunities to better support UC ANR's research and extension work.”
The program team is also taking inventory of climate-related research and outreach being done by UC ANR so they would like to know about any research or outreach activities that are related to climate change.
The climate survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. This survey is anonymous and participation is voluntary. The program team plans to share the aggregate survey results.
To begin the survey, visit http://ucanr.edu/climatetrainingsurvey.
If you have any questions about the survey, contact Roche at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roche is collaborating with Climate Change Program Team members Ted Grantham, UCCE climate and water specialist at UC Berkeley; Faith Kearns, academic coordinator for the California Institute for Water Resources; Susie Kocher, UCCE natural resources advisor in the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership; and Tapan Pathak, UCCE specialist in Climate Adaption in Agriculture at UC Merced, to conduct the survey.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The Giannini Foundation sponsored "California's Climate Change Policy: The Economic and Environmental Impacts of AB 32" on Oct. 4. The conference brought together leading economists, analysts, and executives from academia, state government and industry to discuss the impacts of climate change policy and AB 32 on the California economy and the environment. The speakers provided objective and current analyses of the likely impacts of AB 32.
The speakers' presentations have been posted on the conference website. Videos of each session will be posted next week.
To view the slides, go to: http://giannini.ucop.edu/AB32/AB32conference.htm.