The event features 5-minute talks by 32 UR faculty, staff, and student speakers divided thematic panels. Speakers represent diverse academic disciplines and fields of work and contribute unique perspectives on many aspects of climate change science, impacts, solutions, experiences, and narratives.
Thursday, April 7, 2022
5-8 p.m. in the Orton Center
Drought is plaguing the American Southwest prompting radical redistribution of water and shifts in existing hydrologic dynamics. This is particularly true in California, where rapid oscillations between extreme wet and extreme dry have created a roller-coaster climate. Here I present an overview of California’s water supply – from our precipitation delivery to our usage to our dynamic storage – and compare the current hydrologic condition to the last 1200 years. I will also discuss predictions for California’s water future using the Community Earth System Model, which suggests an increase in climate extremes as we look toward the year 2100.
Since the Industrial Revolution, pollutants have become airborne and traveled to every corner of the globe. With every snow season, another layer of pollutants become buried and compressed in glaciers. Now glaciers bear the historical record of every pollutant we have ever released, layer upon layer, like the rings of a tree. As average global temperatures rise and the glaciers melt at faster rates, the legacy of toxicity is released into downstream waters. But so many questions remain unanswered. What lies trapped there? How much and where does it go? Most importantly, what can we do?
The ocean is warming, here's why...
Gray whales were considered the success story of marine mammal conservation. Their population rebounded after whaling had decimated their numbers, and they were the first great whale to be removed from the Endangered Species List. But recently, a large number of gray whales have been dying each year. Are gray whales starving due to lack of sea ice in their Arctic foraging grounds?
In 2019, the White Earth tribal government passed a resolution to acknowledge the inherent rights of wild rice, or manoomin. This was the first time a plant was acknowledged to have inherent rights. The tribe also passed legislation to enforce the resolution that covers land outside the reservation. They have sued the State of Minnesota to stop oil pipeline development This talk will describe the resolution and how it may set a precedent for other tribal governments to protect the environment and so mitigate climate change.
The phrase “diseases of civilization” (cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease, etc.), with all its racist implications, also reinforces the sense that some diseases are tied to human culture while others more are “natural” phenomena. History, however, suggests that distinction is not so clear cut, with implication for a future affected by anthropogenic climate change.
A number of scholars across multiple disciplines over the past few decades have begun to explore the idea that climate change could be causally linked to phenomena like political violence, civil war, ethnic conflict, and even state failure. Popular books like "Tropic of Chaos" have introduced the public to precisely this idea. In this mini-talk, I provide an overview of the causal mechanisms most often highlighted by these researchers (particularly those in my field, political science), and give an overview of the available evidence in support of these contentions.
This presentation will touch on two key concepts of the "mountains-and-rivers" tradition in Chinese literary and artistic history: "wilderness and idleness." It will be discussed in relevance to Daoist and Zen Buddhist traditions as well as contemporary ecological thought.
Humans have existed in three broad eras of energy extraction. First, as hunter-gatherers, humans took in energy from the ecosystems around them, only able to extract it from plants and animals in nature from fire. Then, humans started cultivating specific ecosystems that only included useful plants and animals in the shift to agriculture. Most recently, humans learned to extract the very concentrated energy of fossil fuels. The future of energy extraction means moving to collecting diffuse solar energy from our environment. This involves moving to a fourth era of energy extraction: one that promises prosperity and a happier, healthier society.
This presentation will explore the ways that human information processing interferes with our ability to fully grasp the monumental effects of climate change. The role of specific cognitive biases will be detailed and strategies for addressing these biases will be proposed.
What will the future look like? How will we adapt to climatic changes? How will we deal with increasing physical and emotional stresses of climate change? In this presentation, I'll share ideas for how we can move forward with greater climate-awareness.
Malthus observed that population growth inexorably outstrips food supplies. Industrial innovations in agriculture have so proved him wrong. Although the last 100 years or so have seen food production grow faster than population, climate change partly caused by industrial agriculture threatens to bring a return to scarcity. This Malthusian environmental narrative suggests few solutions, and has often been used to justify repressive responses to an impending crisis. A critique of Malthusianism suggests we can look for solutions in realms beyond population and industrial production.
"Soil" is not dirt! It is a complex mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together create the foundation for terrestrial life on Earth. Soils not only support ecosystems and food production, but they also play an integral role in climate regulation. Much of the scientific literature is focused on aboveground organisms and processes with approximately 3% of articles focused on belowground process and organisms. Considering how integral belowground systems are to global biodiversity, biogeochemistry and humanity, it is hard to fathom why more research is not devoted to understanding the effects of rising atmospheric CO2, climate change, and changing precipitation patterns on soil mechanisms. As one of the largest carbon sinks, soil has a tremendous capacity to combat climate change, however, soil systems can be greatly affected by climate change as well.
Increasing global temperatures, and an increasing number of days with extreme heat, can affect pollinator health, efficiency, species assemblages, and diversity. This may affect pollination services in natural ecosystems as well as for our food systems. In this brief overview I will cover some effects of climate change on bees, specifically highlighting species other than the European honeybee.
How does food waste break down in a compost pile versus a landfill, and why is composting better for climate? What chemicals and organisms are key players in the composting process?
I will be discussing the current and projected impacts of the plastic industry on fossil fuel emissions and climate change, and the environmental implications of plastic production.
Plastics have become an essential part of our daily lives as durable, lightweight, and low-cost utility. Despite their benefits, there are growing concerns about their impact on global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, the oceans, ecosystems, and human health. Responding to these human-induced challenges and climate crisis, several artists and activists have transformed plastic waste into sustainable utility products that are innovative and make a small contribution toward addressing plastic pollution. This presentation showcases human ingenuity for addressing complex global problems through art and creativity.
In a future where diminished food production and interruptions to supply chains are routine, more efficient food systems become imperative. What policy decisions can be made now to reshape consumer habits to ensure a more efficient and less wasteful food cycle? What policies are being implemented to reduce what goes into a landfill? Take a quick tour of waste reduction initiatives that also help address the constant and universal need for nutritious food.
Big business (read "corporate business") is most often considered a threat in the fight to mitigate climate change. However, maximizing profit and return on investment can play on both sides of the damage versus improvement calibration. What is in store on the advancing technologies front? ESG, or environmental, social, governance formulas, have been bantered about. But what do they really mean? Are companies that adopt these outlines friend or foe to the natural, as well as the human/social environment? This presentation will point to several new "tech" advancements and explain the peril but also the promise in their long-term development.
I'm reading a new monologue: Do you feel a pang of regret and guilt every time you dispose of a material that you no longer need? What happens to that plastic cup from Starbucks after you throw it in the recycle bin? What REALLY happens to it? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution in making the world a safer more environmentally friendly place to live? What can one individual really do to make a difference? Can we make a difference? These are the kinds of questions we are faced with as we are inundated with information about the future. Scientists tell us we have about 12 years to really affect a change in the direction we are going. Will we do it, or will we succumb to a bleak and hopeless future?
No Forgetting is a short work of video art inspired by climate change.
Reflections on painting, representations of the landscape, and interventions in nature.
Writers who approach environmental issues and climate must juggle multiple tasks: tell the truth, consider their audience, and process the tangle of emotion, uncertainty, and curiosity that is natural to so complex a topic. Let’s look at some simple observation techniques to activate memory, curiosity, and a creative approach to overcome the dreaded blank page.
Undergraduate students studying environmental science at the University of Redlands lamented the federal governments withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord during the last administration. In an effort to instill a resilient mindset, an experiential course was created to investigate and develop a framework centered around how communities in the United States think globally and act locally. Ten students enrolled in the Resilient Cities: Planning for Climate Change seminar that launched an experiential educational endeavor to assess economic, environmental, and social vulnerabilities as a result of climate change. Students considered local planning efforts through community-scale climate action or adaption plans, economic, environmental, and social capital benefits and threats in the initial phase of discovery. Through further distillation of issues, students critically constructed economic topics such as diversified income streams and livelihoods, housing stock, personal economic security, and education levels. Their environmental examination considered foci such as greenhouse gas inventories, reduction plans and goals, biodiversity, restoration of hydrologic flows, and agricultural yields. By analyzing social equity, students were able to explore the multiple services communities can provide, cultural resilience, gentrification, citizen empowerment, youth involvement and leadership, out migration of youth, and vulnerable people. By the end of the semester, students gained critical knowledge regarding alternative responses to climate change by engaging in real world policy analysis, while acquiring professional development skills and developing a resilient mindset.
The University of Redlands is proud of its long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability. We have implemented measures on campus that have led to reduced water usage, increased energy efficiency, improved air quality, and reductions in waste to landfills.
In this presentation, I will introduce story maps as an online multimedia storytelling tool and cover the basic principles of effective spatial storytelling (conscious attention to the audience; addressing a spatial question of interest to the audience; engaging the audience with maps, multimedia, data visualization, and stories; paying attention to the so what? of the story and benefits to the audience; and scaffolding the story to promote comprehension and interpretability). I will conclude the presentation by sharing a few examples of excellent storytelling about climate change with story maps.
Get an overview of what’s going on in the Office of Community Service Learning (CSL) related to sustainable service and community outreach. This includes the California Climate Action Corps (CCAC), Treestock, Youth Outreach and the Sustainable University of Redlands Farm (SURF). The U of R was part of the inaugural year of the CCAC fellowship program in 2021, with support from this program along with additional support for U of R staff, CSL has been able to increase resources dedicated to supporting this work. We are excited for what is ahead and we need your help, come learn about what you can be a part of!
How can business be part of the solution rather than part of the problem?
In a world of rapidly increasing pressure to mitigate the effects of climate change, we have been motivated by our ethical values to target oil giants and dismantle their operations. We have physically protested, and we have protested monetarily. Our investments into these fossil fuel companies give them the power to continue their works. In the mission to decarbonize our world there is an ethical argument to uninvest our money, to divest, from fossil fuels.
An essential question climate policy faces is whether private finance can be marshaled to meet the needs of decarbonization. Finance directs resources to competing ends, acting as a high-level economic planner. The premise of much of the finance – climate complex is that by adjusting price signals (perhaps by pricing carbon or adjusting central bank subsidies to carbon intensive sectors) we can direct resources to low carbon activities and away from carbon intensive ones. I’ll offer a somewhat pessimistic view, suggesting that “greenwashing” is rife among financial actors who seek to benefit from government price adjustments without doing the work of decarbonization.
A central question in environmental economics is how to assign a numerical value to a non-market good, like having good health. What happens when that good is affected by a non-rivalrous, common pool resource, like air pollution. Burning fossil fuels releases harmful particulate matter into the air that, when inhaled, causes adverse health effects. Economists have developed methods of measuring these impacts through cost of illness estimates and willingness to pay methods. This presentation will discuss how these methods can be used to discuss air pollution impacts from wildfires and its relationship to particulate matter from fossil fuels.