- Author: Andy Lyons
IGIS and the California Naturalist Program are pleased to help celebrate the launch of a new information portal on climate adaptation. The California Adaptation Clearinghouse was officially launched at the California Adaptation Forum in August in Sacramento. The site was developed by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Geospatial Innovation Facility, CalNat and IGIS.
The Clearinghouse is a database-driven platform with a wealth of curated resources for climate adaptation. The site originated out of Senate Bill 246, which mandates OPR to provide resources on climate adaptation for local governments, regional planning agencies, and other practitioners working on adaptation and resilience. The database also contains sea-level rise resources collected by the Ocean Protection Council under Assembly Bill 2516. It's an amazing resource for anyone looking to strengthen climate change preparedness in their local government, community, or business.
The database includes numerous planning resources that have been developed and vetted by experts in the field. For example, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network has a how-to guide for local governments on developing equitable, community-driven climate preparedness plans, which you can find in the Clearinghouse. There are also examples of vulnerability assessments, local plans, and funding strategies. The majority of resources are hosted by other organizations, but unlike a Google search all the resources in the Clearinghouse have been reviewed, annotated, and cataloged by subject matter specialists.
To help find resources, the Clearinghouse has a number of search options, including more than a dozen topic categories adapted from Safeguarding California, the state's overall roadmap for building climate change resiliency. You can also search by Type of Impact (e.g., drought, sea level rise), Resource Type (e.g., case study, assessment, policy guidance), and of course an interactive map. Each resource has a descriptive blurb so you can quickly find what you need.
Adaptation planning can be information intensive, so the Tools and Data section of the website is devoted to helping people find data and crunch the numbers. Interested in rangelands? Check out the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative's compiled Threat Assessments to California Rangelands. Sea level rise? Perhaps the CosMos modeling tool from USGS, or the Surging Seas tool from Climate Central. Like all resources, each tool and dataset has a user-friendly description, a technical summary, a bit about the data, and links to the source. One of our favorites is the California Energy Commission's Cal-Adapt, which includes both historical and projected climate data downscaled for California.
Providing a more personal perspective, the Clearinghouse also contains stories about climate adaptation from individuals, community groups, and businesses. The stories were collected by the UC ANR California Naturalist Program and their vast network of certified naturalists. The climate stories are diverse and compelling, from a concerned grandmother who becomes engaged in a community choice energy program, to a solar project engineer working to strengthen measures to prevent heat stroke in field staff. An interactive Story Map developed by IGIS helps users find stories from their area, some of which even have audio or video clips so you can hear the story in the speaker's own words.
Climate adaptation is complicated, but information portals like the Clearinghouse allow anyone to tap into the incredible amount of work that has already been done in California and elsewhere. Rather than reinvent the wheel, local agencies can build upon vetted guidelines from similar areas. We are all fortunate that the State of California has invested in a platform to share curated resources for the long-term, because climate adaptation is already part of the new normal. More resources are in the pipeline, so check it out and then check back often to see what's new.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing farmers, natural resource managers and communities in California.
On Jan. 23-24, the Climate Change Program Team will hold the Integrating Climate Change in California Cooperative Extension Programs Workshop at UC Merced.
“It's open to all ANR academics and program staff who are interested in the topic,” said Ted Grantham, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.
“This meeting will bring together ANR academics and programmatic staff to strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations and enhance the capacity of UC Cooperative Extension to advance climate-change mitigation and adaptation efforts in California,” he said.
The day-and-a-half-long workshop will include updates on the latest science on climate impacts and sessions that focus on disaster preparedness and response, climate science communication, and climate-smart agriculture. The workshop will also include interactive dialog to identify priorities for enhancing the visibility, relevance and impact of ANR's climate-change research and extension programs.
In breakout sessions, participants will discuss wildfire hazard mitigation, environmental education and citizen science, building climate resilience with tribes and vulnerable communities, environmental horticulture and more.
To register and view the draft agenda, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/CalClimateChange/2019_Workshop.
- 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