Panel 3: MONTEREY BAY AREA
Nosce Te Ipsum: Bridging our values and actions in addressing climate change
Scholarship on anthropogenic causes of climate change has expanded exponentially in the last three decades. Academics are well-versed on the challenges political economy, social values (consumption), and “development” pose to the future of our planet. However, the lens has rarely been flipped. This short presentation discusses how our pontification in research and the classroom may not correlate with our own lifestyles. By developing a self-reflexive approach in our own lives, I argue we will be better suited to not only discuss climatic impacts and the interaction between the micro- and macro-levels, but also positively exemplify concrete strategies in reducing our ecological footprint.
Food waste and Sustainability: Modeling how to bring university initiatives to life in a K-12 setting
In this talk we will showcase the Zero Waste initiative on the UC Merced campus and how we are working with local K-12 teachers and students to increase awareness of how much trash that goes to landfills can actually be composted, recycled and/or reused. We dive into what it means to go “Zero” waste and some of the challenges of going zero waste on a college campus through a series of hands on activities led by undergraduate students in the CalTeach program. Students investigate the ins and outs of recycling bins, signage and what it really takes to change behavior when it comes to throwing out the trash.
Reducing Carbon Emissions through Middle School Science cCrriculum
Strategies to mitigate climate change often center on clean technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels, while the mitigation potential of a quality educational experience is rarely discussed. In 2011, I started working with artists and educators to create learning materials that would inspire young people to take action in response to climate change. This work centered around the character and storyline of Green Ninja, a climate-action superhero who helps kids understand what they can do to make a difference. Today we are building on Green Ninja media to create formal middle school science curriculum that satisfies the new standards and inspires youth-action on climate change. This work leverages a number of successful programs that demonstrated reductions in carbon emissions through school-based programs. In this talk, I’ll describe the work we’ve been doing and our plans for integrating technology into our curriculum to monitor and track carbon emissions. I’ll also discuss the important role that collaboration across disciplines has played in the success of Green Ninja, and how important future collaborations will be in demonstrating the environmental benefit of quality education.
The Sustainable City Year Program – Enhancing Sustainable Ideas and Practices through Partnerships Between Campuses and Regional Governing Bodies
A program to enhance sustainable practices established at the University of Oregon is spreading throughout dozens of campuses nationally and internationally. This program involves formalized yearly partnerships between campuses and regional governing bodies, typically city governments.
Traditionally, city governments and campuses function quite independently from each other. Campuses offer cutting-edge educational opportunities for their students that typically do not address or integrate the needs of their partner cities. Conversely, city governments have enormous responsibilities for maintaining and improving the environment of their residents and often do not have sufficient resources, capital, or access to new and innovative ideas that may enhance policies, practices, procedures and projects that they are responsible for.
Furthermore, city governments, while often theoretically supportive of projects that enhance regional sustainability, often lack the necessary bandwidth to pursue such projects that extend beyond the status quo of regular operations.
Enter the Sustainable City Year Program, a partnership between a campus, such as CSU Monterey Bay, and a partner city, which was the City of Salinas from 2015-2017 and will be the City of Seaside from 2017-2018. Through this program during the 2016-2017 school year, 11 classes across campus participated in the program from disciplines as diverse as teacher education, business, journalism, environmental studies, and statistics. The instructor for each course integrated a sustainability-based project within her/his curriculum based upon the stated needs of the city partner and students within each class generated and followed through on the associated projects. The City provided funding to support each instructor in their efforts.
This program’s benefits are multi-faceted. One clear benefit is that it provides students with relevant learning experiences that directly benefit the regional community/city in some aspect that works toward enhanced sustainability and livability. Another is that it provides the City with support to promote enhanced sustainability within the scope of their operations. It enhances the often rather limited connections between regional governing entities and their neighboring universities. It also opens opportunities for employment for university students and sets up a pipeline of potential hires for the governing bodies, which tend to have an aging workforce. Finally, and perhaps most relevant, it opens the door to sustainable ideas that the city can pursue in its operations that it may not have even considered prior.
Resilience, Justice, and Hope: Foundations and Inspiration for Young People’s Meaningful Involvement in Climate Change
A recent report from the American Psychological Association identifies children’s mental health impacts due to climate change and environmental uncertainty. These impacts extend from Inuit and Aboriginal populations to urban children in the U.S. who are profoundly concerned about our planet’s future but do not feel empowered to act. In this presentation, I will explore the foundations that support young people’s meaningful participation, ideas of resilience and constructive hope, and inspiring examples that show a variety of ways positive action can occur.
Envisioning Sustainable Futures and Other Tools of Reflection
Summer Gray (UC) Santa Cruz
In the digital age of corporate capitalism, the tools of representation are no longer monopolized by corporate media, but are at the fingertips of our students. This talk puts forth the concept of “cinematic sociology” and explores some of the creative and emergent ways in which issues of climate change, climate crisis, and climate justice can be infused into a variety of learning environments. The goal of this method is to foster a relational and intersectional understanding of social problems as they relate to the future of the planet.
We Are Wiser Together: Intergenerational Collaboration for the Common Good
How can we work intergenerationally to usher in “The Great Turning” from the industrial growth society towards a life sustaining society? In this presentation I discuss principles for working together across generations, and share examples of intergenerational dialogues I have hosted at UC Santa Cruz, the California Student Sustainability Coalition, and the national Bioneers Conference using the World Cafe methodology. Let’s collaborate across the cycle of life to shape our shared future.
Working for Environmental and Climate Justice: Faculty, Students, and NGOs
The continuing scourge of environmental and climate injustice in communities across the globe requires urgent action and creative solutions. Environmental and climate justice scholarship and movements reveal that communities marginalized by our political, economic, and social systems tend to also face greater threats and challenges associated with environmental and climate disruption. In this talk, I describe cases where university scholars, students, and NGOs came together to address some of these challenges to produce new knowledge in the service of socioenvironmental change.
Climate and Context: Looking at Climate Data in Monterey and across the U.S. High School and Undergraduate Curriculum
Students use two tools:
1) U.S. Climate Explorer for the Climate Resilience Toolkit – A resource for visualizing and downloading data on climate change for the US. https://toolkit.climate.gov/climate-explorer2/
2) NOAA Sea Level Rise Map Viewer https://coast.noaa.gov/slr/
Using the two resources above students evaluate future changes to temperature, precipitation, and sea level for a location in Monterey County. Students then repeat this analysis for another city in the U.S. (for example, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Lincoln, NE, or New York, NY). Helping students construct knowledge to discover climate change is only one piece of learning. Creating opportunities to empower students to make positive changes to address climate change is a second, pivotal piece.
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