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Posts Tagged: Climate Change

John Hargrove: Targeting Tsetse, Trypanosomiasis and Climate Change

African trypanosomiasis, also called sleeping sickness, is a disease caused by a parasite. People can get this parasite when an infected Tsetse fly...

John Hargrove in South Africa providing expertise on the tsetse fly. (Photo by Pietro Ceccato of the SERVIR Applied Sciences Team)
John Hargrove in South Africa providing expertise on the tsetse fly. (Photo by Pietro Ceccato of the SERVIR Applied Sciences Team)

John Hargrove in South Africa providing expertise on the tsetse fly. (Photo by Pietro Ceccato of the SERVIR Applied Sciences Team)

Posted on Monday, May 1, 2023 at 4:35 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment, Innovation, Pest Management

UC Climate Steward: ‘It’s the most fulfilling work’

UC Climate Steward Rose Brazil-Few is growing a compost program in Chico. Photo courtesy of Rose Brazil-Few

Climate Stewards course instructor inspires change in Butte County

Growing up in Butte County, Rose Brazil-Few has watched climate change devastate communities and ecosystems in the form of severe drought and deadly wildfire, including the 2018 Camp Fire that swept through Paradise. Through the University of California Climate Stewards program, Brazil-Few is taking action in her home county – and inspiring others to help.

“Seeing the environmental situation firsthand in California, every day I find a reason to work on climate action projects,” she explained. “It's the most fulfilling work that I could possibly be doing right now.”

As a California Climate Action Corps Fellow (a workforce development program affiliated with California Volunteers), Brazil-Few is working at the Butte Environmental Council as community sustainability coordinator. She said the UC Climate Stewards course she completed last fall – administered by the UC California Naturalist program – taught her crucial lessons she applies every day, especially on framing and conveying the climate crisis.

Brazil-Few helps plant a tree at Rotary Centennial Park in Chico. Photo by Caitlin Dalby

“One of the biggest takeaways is how to communicate about climate change while we're doing climate action work,” she said. “Sometimes you encounter community members who don't necessarily like the term ‘climate change,' but they still believe in cleaning up parks and planting trees for shade – so focusing on positive action will still accomplish your bigger goals.”

Brazil-Few will further amplify those locally rooted solutions and climate stewardship opportunities when she starts teaching her own UC Climate Stewards course this summer, through Butte Environmental Council.

“Rose is the first CCAC fellow to become a certified Climate Stewards course instructor as part of the Pathway to Leadership we co-developed with CCAC,” said Sarah-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards academic coordinator. “This pathway is an opportunity for fellows to continue fostering community and ecosystem resilience in their communities as active Climate Stewards, once their official fellowship has ended.”

Since launching in fall 2020, nearly 500 people have completed the UC Climate Stewards course, which is delivered by 17 partner organizations throughout the state. Nelson noted that, in addition to the CCAC collaboration, UC Climate Stewards is also working with Sustainability Service Corps and SEI (Strategic Energy Innovations) Climate Corps – and looking into bringing the course to other states.

A 2021 graduate of Humboldt State University with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies, Brazil-Few said she appreciates that the UC Climate Stewards course instills a sense of hope and empowerment and possibility.

Brazil-Few organized a climate action event at Oak Way Garden. Photo courtesy of Rose Brazil-Few

“I know some people who feel hopeless because there's such a focus on the doom of climate change – when in reality you can find so many programs and people in your local community making positive change,” she said.

In her community, Brazil-Few highlights the partnership efforts between the Butte County Local Food Network and area growers, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge sharing at Verbena Fields in Chico, and the continued growth of the community composting program – among many other projects.

They all illustrate a key point that Brazil-Few will emphasize as she designs her UC Climate Stewards course: a meaningful climate project need not take place at a large scale – action can happen, literally, in one's own backyard.

“It can be easily attainable and accessible,” she said. “And just talking about it with people and getting your community excited is the very first step in creating a series of events that eventually leads to a bigger impact on climate change and positive environmentalism.”

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2023 at 11:35 AM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

UC Davis Seminar: French Reseacher to Target Climate Change

You won't want to miss ecologist Sylvain Pincebourde's virtual seminar on climate change, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology...

These images will help tell the story when ecologist Sylvain Pincebourde presents a UC Davis-sponsored seminar on climate change on March 15.
These images will help tell the story when ecologist Sylvain Pincebourde presents a UC Davis-sponsored seminar on climate change on March 15.

These images will help tell the story when ecologist Sylvain Pincebourde presents a UC Davis-sponsored seminar on climate change on March 15.

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2023 at 5:22 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Innovation, Natural Resources

Los Angeles 4-H program cultivates future generation of water stewards

During their tour, the Palos Verdes Peninsula 4-H club members figure out how to build their own water filter using a set of basic materials. All photos by Dee Keese.

Ibrahim Yaaseen, member of the Palos Verdes Peninsula (PVP) 4-H club, grabs a hard hat and places it on top of his head. He then reaches for a bright orange safety vest and goggles to complete his safety gear outfit before joining the rest of his club members who are dressed the same.

The 4-H Youth Development Program of Los Angeles is already thinking about the future of water management and turned to the West Basin Municipal Water District in El Segundo to gain a deeper understanding of the precious resource we often take for granted.

The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program is managed through local Cooperative Extension offices. Through hands-on learning experiences, 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential and enables them to build self-esteem, connect with their community and emerge as leaders.

Dee Keese, community club leader for the PVP 4-H club, coordinated an exclusive and interactive tour of West Basin's Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility for the club's monthly marine biology meeting in December 2022.

Eager to inspire a stronger appreciation for water, Janel Ancayan, the West Basin's education coordinator, challenged the youth to build their own water filters using materials including fabric, a strainer, and a funnel. Since no specific directions were given, the activity challenged each student's science and engineering skills, such as carrying out an investigation, designing a solution, and communicating information with team members.

During the tour, students saw firsthand the impressive equipment and essential staff members that help to produce nearly 40 million gallons of recycled water each day. At the end of the day, students left with a deeper understanding of water resources and felt empowered to do their part to conserve water sources.

“We learned that recycling water helps to conserve our limited water supply and improves the environmental condition of our coastal waters,” said Yaaseen. “We ultimately learned a great deal about how to conserve water for future generations and that water conservation is one of the most important elements in combating climate change.”

Though Keese has volunteered as community club leader for 48 years, this is only the second time she has partnered with the West Basin. “I like to mix it up,” she said. “I'm always looking for community organizations and local businesses to partner with because these are places that the kids will likely interact with since they're nearby.”

Janel Ancayan guides the 4-H members on their tour, providing important information throughout the day.

Regardless, it's leaders like Keese and programs like 4-H that encourage water stewards like Ancayan. “I'm always so humbled and inspired when teachers make it a point to come out and visit our facility. In Southern California especially, [water] is not something we think about,” Ancayan said. 

Even in a drought, water continues to flow from our faucets allowing us to shower, wash dishes or water the lawn. It's no wonder why water conservation is not always top of mind, especially for consumers. Educating the public, and targeting the younger generation, however, is a great start to prepare for the future.

West Basin offers a variety of educational programs that focus on different age groups. Many of them involve hands-on learning like the Teach and Test volunteer program, a partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, where high school students test samples of coastal water for bacteria, and then publicly share their findings to contribute to water quality monitoring in the area.

According to Yaaseen, the time spent with Ancayan at the West Basin was “one-of-a-kind” and provided a “golden opportunity” to learn why water recycling facilities are important. Ancayan hopes that her time spent with students ultimately influences them to consider a career in water.

“It's not a glamorous job but I'm really passionate about the next generation of water workers,” she said. “I hope that once they see the engineering, the excitement of these scientists that work in our laboratory and everything in between, that they start to think about water as a future career path.”

For those interested in joining 4-H, visit https://4h.ucanr.edu/Members/

 

To read this story in Spanish, please visit: 

Programas 4-H de Los Ángeles forman a la futura generación de administradores de los recursos hídricos

https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=57063

PVP 4-H club members touring the West Basin Municipal Water District's Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo in December 2022.
Posted on Friday, March 3, 2023 at 10:51 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H, Economic Development, Environment, Natural Resources

Climate change may reduce frost damage to orchard crops

Extreme cold can kill almond buds and flowers. Running sprinklers can warm the orchard to prevent frost damage. Photo by Allen Vizcarra

Irrigation water may ice some flowers, but help protect flowers in the upper canopy from frost damage. Photo by Allen Vizcarra

CalAgroClimate web tools help farmers prepare for frost events

A cold snap damaged almond blossoms across the Central Valley, resulting in more than $44 million in crop insurance claimsin late February 2018. A multi-day frost event wiped out roughly 75% of California's citrus crop and severely damaged avocados in January 2007. Frost can damage crops, impact growers' bottom lines and drive up food prices for consumers. With advance notice, farmers may be able to use heaters, wind machines, irrigation and other tactics to lessen some of the impacts of cold weather, such as damaging near-ripe citrus fruit or killing the bloom in almonds.  

CalAgroClimate is a new farmer-focused website that can help growers anticipate weather-related risks and make plans for taking defensive action. Growers and crop consultants can use CalAgroClimate's crop and location-specific tools and resources to help prepare for upcoming frost events. The website's tools can also support on-farm decisions for managing heat, crop development and pests. 

Future holds less frost

The risk of frost damage to crops and the need to prepare for that risk is top-of-mind for many farmers today, but will it always be so? To examine what climate change might mean for future frost risk, researchers at UC Davis, UC ANR and the USDA California Climate Hub conducted a study examining the incidence of temperatures below multiple “frost thresholds” during the months of critical development phases for three frost-sensitive California crops: almonds, avocados and navel oranges.

Severely frozen avocados may show brown water-soaked spots in the skin, gray areas in the flesh and may even crack or split. Frost-damaged fruit is unmarketable and will drop from the tree. Photo by Mary Lu Arpaia

The researchers found that even during the coldest winters and springs, the incidence of frost exposure declined under projected mid-21st century climate conditions by more than 50% for almonds and oranges, and by more than 75% for avocados. While farmers in 2050 will not find frost risk to completely be a worry of climates past, they will not have to contend with the same frost concerns that farmers face today.

Frost-damaged citrus
Beyond the obvious benefits of reduced risk of crop damages, additional benefits of reduced frost exposure include lower water use and energy costs associated with mitigation actions. Irrigation is a primary means of protecting crops from frost temperatures, and with fewer hours below freezing that means fewer hours of running water and using pumps. The authors of the future frost exposure study showed that growers may collectively save tens of thousands of acre feet of water and enjoy millions of dollars in energy savings.

Few aspects of climate change are considered “positives,” and although the warming winters and springs that result in reduced frost temperatures could also come with increased pest pressure, reduced chill accumulation and other challenges, the reduction in frost exposure is a silver lining.

However, until this frost-free future arrives, growers still need to be prepared to protect their orchards from frost. To assess frost risk for the next seven days for your location, check out the new interactive Frost Advisory Tool at CalAgroClimate.org.

Posted on Monday, January 23, 2023 at 1:20 PM
  • Author: Lauren E. Parker, USDA Climate Hub
  • Author: Tapan Pathak, UC Cooperative Extension specialist
Tags: almonds (65), avocados (6), CalAgroClimate (1), citrus (27), climate change (117), Tapan Pathak (11)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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