By Caitlin Looby, Climate Communications Writer
Temperatures are warmer, weather patterns are changing, oceans are acidifying, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at their highest.
It is important to talk about these changes. But, it is equally important to emphasize the efforts that institutions and individuals are taking to combat these changes.
The University of California (UC) responded to this climate crisis through the Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Through this initiative, the UC system committed to releasing net zero greenhouse gases by 2025. They are the first major university system to do this.
To complete this goal, each of the ten campuses named a Climate Action Champion. Our website highlights their charge towards carbon neutrality.
The Climate Action Champions
Currently, we feature this Climate Action Champions Steve Allison (Irvine), Sue Carter (Santa Cruz), Mike Dawson (Merced), Alex Hall, (Los Angeles), Gretchen Hofmann (Santa Barbara), Kristy Kroeker (Santa Cruz), Kurt Kornbluth (Davis), Claire Napawan (Davis), Mihri Ozkan (Riverside), Robert Pomeroy (San Diego), Whendee Silver (Berkeley), and Arianne Teherani (San Francisco).
Learn more about their projects
Each champion has an individual page that promotes their scientific research and the methods they are using to engage their communities. We discuss their broad research goals and their specific project as a Climate Action Champion. Each project contains a scientific component, but also is largely about community involvement.
Each page shows a unique contribution that each champion is making to carbon neutrality. You can view projects like Claire Napawan’s successful social media campaign, Whendee Silver’s composting program, or Robert Pomeroy’s algae-based surfboard.
We highlight the success of each project by including achievements and products. For instance, Steve Allison’s page shows the success of his Climate Action Training program through a web app created by his students. Kurt Kornbluth’s page displays successful posters made by his students on topics like reducing commuter greenhouse gas emissions.
More than just science
Similar to the Climate Action Champions, we strive to make this website about more than just science. To do this, we included a “Q and A” section with each champion. It is an opportunity to get to know the champions. You can also see images of the efforts that the champions and their teams make to do this work. Mike Dawson and his team hike difficult terrain to reach coastal field sites.
Personality and passion shine, and readers can see that fighting the climate crisis is about more than just research. A large part of each project includes engaging the community, involving non-academic partners, and building public awareness.
The Climate Champion’s news page stays up-to-date on what UC faculty are doing to work towards carbon neutrality. You can learn more about the efforts that are made and the events that are occurring to work towards this goal. For example, you can read more about the first Carbon Slam competition in 2016, organized by Sue Carter, or Mihri Ozkan’s latest research on using glass bottles for batteries. We will continue to provide content to highlight these incredible and collaborative efforts.
Each year will bring exciting perspectives and approaches towards becoming carbon neutral. We will continue to highlight the work of current champions, deliver news, and provide updates on past champions. Sign-up for updates or contact us if you have any questions about the Climate Action Champions!