Posts Tagged: Tapan Pathak
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.
Climate Change Program Team is asking UC ANR academics to complete a survey to help assess their needs for professional development related to climate science and outreach.
“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 email@example.com.
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.
UC ANR held a seminar for credentialed journalists on the first day of the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The Feb. 9 seminar featured 11 key UC ANR academics who serve as expert sources for the news media on hot topics.
The seminar was hosted by VP Glenda Humiston. Each of the UCCE advisors and specialists delivered a three-minute synopsis of his or her research and outreach efforts in California, such as the spread of Asian citrus psyllid, adapting to climate change in agriculture, GMOs and more. Afterwards, they fielded questions from the reporters.
“The Newsmakers Seminar was well-attended and well-received by reporters so we plan on hosting a similar event at next year's World Ag Expo,” said Jeannette Warnert, senior public information representative in Strategic Communications, who spearheaded the seminar. “In the fall, we will be looking for academics who are interested in building relationships with reporters to take part in the 2017 event.”
Agricultural trade reporters filed stories on several of the subjects and exchanged business cards with the scientists for future reference. The Kaweah Commonwealth newspaper published two stories by John Elliott about the seminar: On the cutting edge of agriculture: World Ag Expo's Newsmakers Seminar reveals current research and Newsmakers' Seminar reveals current research, Part 2.
The following academics participated in the seminar:
- Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in citrus entomology and director of the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center
- Jeff Dahlberg, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in agronomic crops and director of the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
- Bob Hutmacher, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in cotton and director of the UC West Side Research and Extension Center
- Lindsay Jordan – UC ANR Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
- Rose Hayden-Smith, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor, editor of the UC Food Observer blog, part of UC President Janet Napolitano's Global Food Initiative
- Themis Michailides, Ph.D. – UC ANR pathology researcher, based at Kearney Ag REC
- Jeff Mitchell, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in conservation agriculture, based at Kearney Ag REC
- Toby O'Geen, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in soil resources, based at UC Davis
- Tapan Pathak, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in climate change adaptation in agriculture, based at UC Merced
- Maurice Pitesky, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in poultry food safety, based at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
- Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in animal biotechnology, based at UC Davis