Welcome to the week. Here are a few reads to get you going…an update on the Farm Bill; some big climate change news; 4-H; and a piece about Highway 1.


The Farm Bill

The Farm Bill is stalled. Learn more about what’s at stake in this smart read by Helena Bottemiller Evich and Catherine Boudreau for PoliticoHint: cotton growers vs. urban farmers.


Climate change is in the news. 

  • Per a United Nations report, we have just twelve years to limit the devastating impacts of global warming. Here’s a link to the report issued by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Probably easier to digest – but no less disheartening – in this good explainer by Jonathan Watts, global environment editor for GuardianGood infographics and links to articles that provide additional information, including some specific steps you can take to help.
  • Museums respond to a changing climate. Sarah Sutton writes for the American Alliance of Museums’ blog about “how museums can respond to climate change by accessing new streams of funding for their communities; turning their archives, collections, and sites into research labs; and mapping their own impact to make strategic climate-friendly choices.” Really excellent read. Sutton helps cultural institutions work on climate change issues. She’s an incredibly interesting person to follow on Twitter. I’d also recommend visiting the Climate and Culture blog (“Strategies for cultural institutions committed to fostering environmental sustainability, responding to Climate Change, and supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals”).
  • A fix for fertilizer. “Nitrogen fertilizer is a disaster. Abandoning it would be a bigger disaster. Now a dozen billionaires are funding an alternative.” This is a stunningly good, interesting and important (long) read by Nathanael Johnson for GristI had bookmarked it to read over the weekend, because like millions of others, I was overwhelmed by the national news cycle and didn’t get to it right away. You’ll learn about the history of nitrogen fertilizer…and how a “pack of startups is racing to market with a means of fixing nitrogen without polluting the Earth.”
  • Extreme weather in Central America’s “Dry Corridor” is forcing farmers to make the hardest decision. This evocative piece by Anna-Catherine Brigida for Food and Environment Reporting Network puts a human face on the impacts of climate change and drought. Beautifully photographed by Frederick Meza


It’s National 4-H Week

The 4-H program began more than 100 years ago. Like many of you, I was a member. My experience in 4-H was incredibly valuable and grounding during a period in my life when things were unstable. I made friends and learned things. Two decades after being a member, I joined UC ANR as a 4-H Youth Development Advisor in Ventura County. I learned so much about community, the value of experiential education and life from the youth members and adult volunteers.

Here’s some information about 4-H:

It is a publicly-funded youth development program operated by the land-grant university in each state. 4-H adheres to the philosophy that every young person is unique, has valuable strengths and real potential to improve our world. Through experiential learning opportunities and positive partnerships with adults, youth learn, grow and develop life skills. 4-H members are empowered to seek out what interests them; they have exciting opportunities to explore through hands-on projects in hundreds of interest areas, including health, science, agriculture and citizenship. 4-H programs are delivered through school-based and after-school programs, community clubs and 4-H camps. In California, more than 85,000 youth are enrolled in 4-H; their work is supported by more than 13,000 caring volunteers. 

4-H grows here. Learn more.

P.S. If you were a 4-H member, share a picture or memory on social media with #4HGrowsHere. If you were a member of our California 4-H program, please tag us on Twitter: California4H and UCANR. We’d love to hear from you.



Related Reading: To learn more about the rich history of the 4-H Program and Cooperative Extension, click here.





California’s Highway 1, With Memory Riding Shotgun.

A perfect, lyrical read for the beginning of the week about one our favorite highways. Mac McClelland for the New York Times.

“Somebody who lives on the East Coast once told me that they don’t like California because it’s so big and full of possibility that they feel like they could disintegrate. That it makes the space between their cells feel too vast. There might be nowhere that space feels vaster than on Highway 1.”

Savor this one. (And have a great week.)