Diet and Global Climate Change. Could eating a healthier diet reduce greenhouse gas emissions? A study out of University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) indicates that may be the case. Research results appear in the journal Climatic Change. There’s an excellent write-up about the work in The Current, a UCSB campus publication.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone has done this,” said study director David Cleveland, a research professor in UCSB’s environmental studies program and geography department. “People have looked at what effect diets have both on climate and on health, but they’ve never examined the potential to mitigate climate change through the food system and the health care system together.”

I’ve previously shared Cleveland’s work, including this important piece he wrote for the Union of Concerned Scientists blog. In it, he challenges us to examine our assumptions about agriculture and local foods. Cleveland provides case studies from Santa Barbara county (California), where he has conducted extensive research as a faculty member in Environmental Studies and Geography at UCSB. Cleveland’s also written an excellent book – Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture – that serves as an interdisciplinary “primer on critical thinking and effective action” to tackle food issues around the globe. #gauchos #ucsb #globalfood


Speaking of Climate Change, Here’s What Experts Forecast for California. Just before the New Year, I spoke with two climate experts about the forecast for California. One was Eric Holthaus –  the self-termed “climate hawk” and science writer who reports for Slate’s Future Tense (he’s also a former Wall Street Journal columnist). Holthaus is the co-host of the ourwarmregards podcast, which focuses on climate science. If you haven’t listened, you should. It’s become one of my favorites. When asked what he thought we might see in California vis-a-vis climate and ag in 2017, he responded:

“In 2017 –  as it has been for decades, if not always – it will be about water.”

Read the piece here.


Climate Smart Agriculture in California. To learn more about what’s going on with Climate Smart Agriculture in California (and beyond), read this piece by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) secretary Karen Ross. It recently appeared in UC Agriculture and Natural Resources’ California Agriculture magazine. Ross shares information about innovative programs at CDFA that are addressing climate change. She writes:

“I heard a lot about climate smart agriculture during a recent visit to the Netherlands with a delegation of agricultural leaders from California. The Netherlands is a leading agriculture distributor in Europe and the world’s second largest (after the United States) agricultural exporter. Climate smart agriculture is already strongly integrated into Dutch economic and food security strategies. Our delegation not only heard about the threats from higher precipitation, but also about how overly dry conditions in the summer threaten the stability of peat dikes, which dry up to the point that they may simply float away, compromising the levee structure in a region where most of the land is below sea level.”

You can subscribe to California Agriculture here. It’s free and has been one of my #mustreads for the last 25 years. Follow on Twitter, too.

Damaged Spillway at Oroville Dam May Be Needed Soon. Runoff from an anticipated storm and snowmelt may test a damaged spillway at a major California reservoir (and the country’s largest dam). Joseph Serna of the Los Angeles Times reports. And a terrific piece from Peter King, also at the Los Angeles Times: Life below Oroville Dam: Stoicism, faith…and cars poised for a fast getaway.


Wonder Where Your Water Comes From? Check out this cool infographic from the South Coast Water District in So Cal.