Tuesday, March 21, 2017

April 2017: Contests and Funding

UCSC Student Research Project
This is your chance to participate in a by student for student focus group that has been designed to collect your experiences with various resources on campus. We want to hear about the resources you have found useful, not useful or even ones you may think we need to bring to campus. The findings from this project will be used to better inform future UCSC programs and services offered to students. Given this it is important that students that are need of specific resources participate (e.g. first generation, students of color)

Is your lab green labs certified? Is there a new energy efficient piece of equipment you have had your eye on? If you are a Green Labs certified lab, there is now a simple equipment funding application that you can submit to Green Labs to apply for new equipment. Find more information by clicking this link.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

April 2017: Spring Tips

In this modern age, many of us have become detached from our food systems and growing seasons. Spring has come around and the Sustainability Office would like to share some gardening tips and crops associated with this time of year.

The fruits and vegetables that are best to plant in April include: Beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, onion, peas, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes and herbs like sage, oregano, thyme, and sage. Learn more when to plant certain crops throughout the year at the Urban Farmer article, "What to Plant Now."

Some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season for April include: Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Chives, Dandelion greens, Fava Beans, Horseradish, Lettuce, Limes, Oranges, Papayas, Peas, Rhubarb, Shallots, Strawberries, Sweet Onions, Turnips, Watercress. Find out more about what is in season at the Spruce website.

Spring time is an especially productive time on the farm. The most hard work for the farmer or gardener goes into the spring to provide for summer and all crops. These crops were traditionally what got people through the winter. The Stevenson Garden is planting a variety of crops throughout the Spring (March, April & May). These crops include: peas, kale, carrots, holy hock, summer squash, varieties of tomatoes, corn, broccoli, and sunflowers.

If you want to find out more, CASFS has great information about sow dates and growing seasons for various crops. Check out this article on Growing Seasons in Santa Cruz.

April 2017: Classes, trainings, and community

Trajectories of Justice in America Class (Cowell 126) at UCSC for Spring 2017
Romero Institute is hosting a super cool class at UCSC called The Trajectories of Justice in America that will cover historical and contemporary events like the #NoDAPL movement and the root causes of climate change. The class will be taught by Daniel Sheehan. Even if you are not a student, can not enroll, but are generally interested in the content, you are free to audit. Class will be held from 3:20 to 4:55 every Tuesday and Thursday. You can access more information on the class website. Email class@romeroinstitute.org for any questions and permission codes.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program Info Session on April 4th
If you are graduating this year or if you have recently graduated, you may be eligible to apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Attend an information session about the program on April 4th at 3 pm in the Graduate Student Commons Fireside Lounge at Quarry Plaza (above Cafe Iveta) to find out if you are eligible or interested. Visit their website to find out more. If you know that you want to attend, RSVP for the session.

National Movie Screening and Discussion of "Priceless" on April 5th
On Wednesday, April 5th at 7 PM eastern, The Bard Center for Environmental Policy will host a national screening of “Priceless”, an episode from the National Geographic Series, Years of Living Dangerously. The one-hour show, focusing on both carbon pricing and the biodiversity loss threat from climate change, will be followed by a webcast panel discussion. Participating schools will be able to watch the episode at no charge, and the panel will welcome questions from a national viewing audience. A great event to kick off Earth Month! Students clubs and classes welcome to participate. Please RSVP to stay updated about this free screening and national discussion. 

Earth Week: Monday, April 17st, 2017 - Saturday April 22th, 2017

Earth Week is a campus-wide, week-long series of events dedicated to increasing environmental awareness and engaging students in current sustainability issues. This year’s Earth Week aims to foster a positive relationship between our society and our planet with the theme of “Standing Together: Taking Action in our Community and Environment”. With this theme, we want to focus on the importance of integrating social justice into sustainability and environmental issues. Ultimately, it is our goal to promote action and sustainability, through the mission statement that we are stronger when we stand together. Check out the Earth Week 2017 homepage to find out more. Rachel Carson College Highlights are listed below.

Eco Fest on Monday, April 17 from 11 am to 2 pm
Eco Fest is happening on April 17th at the Rachel Carson College Plaza. The goal of Eco Fest is to bring organizations together to showcase the amazing sustainability work being done in our community. The Earth Week team will provide sustainable snacks and DIY activities at Oak’s Field. Eco Fest will allow people to get outside and enjoy the campus’s natural environment, as well as meet others in the community who are also focused on changing the world through sustainable practices.

Sustainable Cinema on Tuesday, April 18 from 7-10 pm
Sustainable Cinema takes place on April 18th at the Rachel Carson College Red Room and will feature a movie that will bring attention to our theme of community and environment. This movie feature will lead to an open discussion about how to engage with each other and within the environment, bringing up topics such as social justice and inequity in sustainability issues. We hope to have students engage by watching the movie and connect it to current issues.

Art & Action Banquet on Wednesday, April 19 from 11 am to 1 pm
The Art & Action Banquet will take place on April 19th at the Rachel Carson and Oakes Colleges Dining Hall. The Art & Action Banquet will be the largest event consisting of a lecture and organic food in the Oakes & Rachel Carson Dining Hall. The night will be centered around a lecture by artist Benjamin Von Wong who makes incredible art pieces with trash and recycling (partnering with the Sustainability Office). Additionally we will be working with dining staff to create a menu featuring sustainable, local, and organic foods.

Pre-Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 22 from 11 am to 1 pm
On Saturday, City of Santa Cruz is hosting a festival in San Lorenzo Park and we want to encourage students to get involved in the local community and attend the off-campus festival. We will be rallying people at Rachel Carson College with giveaways and music before encouraging students to go together to the festival.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Vox Limax: UCSC Talks About the Weather

This winter has highlighted the consequences of extreme weather events. Through January and February we saw rain-induced landslides cover Highway 17 multiple times and the near-collapse of the Oroville dam. Climate scientists predict that California will see more extremely hot days and an overall temperature increase of 1-2ºC (2-4ºF) over the next 50 years. Northern California is predicted to see more precipitation, but as rain instead of snow (Pan et al., 2010 – DOI 10.1007/s00382-010-0961-5). In all, California is becoming increasingly vulnerable to deadly heatwaves, flooding, and water scarcity.

So this week we ask for your stories:

 How has an extreme weather event, or the consequences of one, impacted your life?

"I got stuck on Highway 17 for seven hours and had to camp out in a turnout." – Amelia (Environmental Studies)
"I live on a houseboat out near Tiburon and it got detached from the dock and we floated out into the bay.  The houseboat is attached to mooring piles.  The piling popped out because the wind and current were so strong.  Because that wasn't holding us, all of our sewage, water, and electricity lines shredded.  Crashed into some other houseboats.  The fire department came out and tried to wrap us around a tree.  I haven't been able to access my house for a week." – Fran (university contractor)
"My grandma has a house in Cagel Canyon. I was staying there and had to evacuate because there was a fire (LA is always on fire). The fire was over the ridge and it was raining ash. My car was covered in ash (it was pretty legit).  I had to pack up all my shit because my grandma was concerned that the house might burn down." – Sarah (Theater Arts)

"I have a house in Bolder Creek. We got a call two weeks ago from our neighbor who was like 'You're deck is falling into Bear Creek.' My dad came down from San Francisco with a circular saw to cut off the deck. It was gone by the time he got there, so we just left and went back home. We hired contractors to come out and discovered that the entire foundation of the house was gone. So now we're paying $50,000 to have the house anchored to the mountain."
 – Sophie (Environmental Studies)

"I ended up getting an internship with CalPIRG so I had to run the pledge drive during the storm... which was fun." – Anonymous

"In the past couple of weeks, the intense rainfall and subsequent landslides on Highway 17 have impacted my ability to get work on time by bus from San Jose to UCSC. I've fortunately been able to work from home on days when the commute was dangerous or significantly longer due to closed lanes and hazardous conditions. I have also seen the community of Highway 17 commuters come together in the face of these challenges by developing an active and supportive Facebook group where people post updates, questions, and information. Many people are turning to carpooling to try and reduce traffic, which from a sustainability and community building perspective is a huge silver lining. It's been interesting to have first-hand experience of how severe weather--made worse by the years-long drought we've had--bring strangers together to form a community. I believe this is one local example of the kind of severe weather we'll be facing in the years to come due to climate change, and I now have a stronger sense of hope that people will be able to come together to support one another when we face these challenges."   – Melissa (Sustainability Office)

UC Santa Cruz Hosts National Climate Change Policy Conference

Last weekend, the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences and the Division of Social Sciences co-hosted "Changing Climate: Acting Now to Secure a Sustainable Future.  This annual conference drew experts from across the country, including Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of atmospheric and climate sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who gave the keynote at the conference's Friday night kick-off.

Daniel Shugar, CEO of NEXTracker, speaks on the "Engineering Change" panel.

The Saturday session consisted of three panels of presenters: "Engineering Change," "Motivating Change," and "Communicating Change." Each panel was followed by questions from attendees.  Topics discussed includes the role of technology in green engineering, the future of U.S. environmental laws, and an economic forecast for the green energy sector. "Clean coal is an oxymoron. It's over." Said Daniel Shugar, CEO of NEXTracker, a solar panel installer, as he concluded a colorful analogy comparing the coal industry of today to the typewriter industry of yesteryear.

The event concluded with "Climate Change Science and Policy in a President Trump Administration," a discussion moderated by Fred Keely, former state assemblymember and Santa Cruz County treasurer.  The conference was sponsored by the Physical and Biological Sciences and Social Sciences divisions of UC Santa Cruz.  Learn more at the conference's web page.