Moist meadow is more effective than fencing in keeping the Yosemite toad out from underfoot, or under-hoof, of the cows with whom it shares its home turf. PHOTO: R. Grasso
By Pam Kan-Rice, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
If you’re trying to save Yosemite toads, keeping large animals with hooves such as cows away from the small squishable amphibians would seem like a good start. University of California scientists conducted research to confirm such suspicions. Their research revealed that fencing off grazing cattle didn’t benefit the Yosemite toad, but increased meadow wetness did.
Continue reading "Please do not squish this toad" »
By Kathleen Maclay, UC Berkeley Media Relations
Harrison Fraker, a UC Berkeley professor of architecture known for his trailblazing work in sustainability and a former dean of the College of Environmental Design, is the 2014 recipient of the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, the leading award in architectural education in the United States.
The prize was announced today (Tuesday, Dec. 17) by the Board of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). The Topaz Medallion honors an individual involved in architecture education for more than a decade whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students.
In announcing the latest Topaz Medallion winner, the organizations commended Fraker, currently the chair of the UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, for pushing the academic study of energy use in buildings to the forefront of the sustainability movement.
Continue reading "ERG's Fraker named 2014's top architecture educator" »
By Steve Hockensmith, UC Berkeley News Center
UC Berkeley announced recently that it had reduced its carbon emissions to 1990 levels two years earlier than expected, showing how quickly progress can be made — at least at the local level — in addressing climate change. Unfortunately, getting the world community to take significant action has proven far trickier, and a recent exercise in a Berkeley class demonstrates why.
Kate O’Neill, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, has been teaching international environmental politics since 1999. This year, she decided to make a simulated international climate-change conference the centerpiece of her fall course. Each of her 125 students was assigned one of 26 nations, chosen to represent a range of political and economic interests, from superpowers to some of the world’s smallest, poorest countries. The students then spent the semester studying and writing about their assigned nation’s population, economy, politics and vulnerability to climate change.
All that preparation was put to use last month, when the students were divided into four groups, each of which held its own mock treaty negotiations.
“It gave them a chance to really understand why it’s so difficult for countries to agree on climate change and what to do about it,” O’Neill says. “Plus it’s much more fun than having to write a long final essay.”
Students Marina Shimoyama (left), Daniel Norton Luna and Radhika Kannan represent Canada, the United States and Mexico in a simulated climate-change negotiation session. (Steve Hockensmith photo)
Continue reading "Classroom treaty talks speak volumes on climate politics" »
By Carol Ness, UC Berkeley Public Affairs.
Rebecca Peters, a senior whose deep interest in water rights has taken her to Latin America many times to work on safe water projects and to Budapest and Washington, D.C., to take part in international water policymaking, has won one of the nation’s top honors for undergraduates, a Marshall Scholarship.
It’s the second big honor for Peters, a double major in international development economics and environmental studies who last spring was awarded a Truman Scholarship, for “exceptional college juniors.”
Read the complete story.
Rebecca Peters works on a water purification project in Chiapas, Mexico.
UC Berkeley Public Affairs
HOLIDAY TREE SALE DELAYED. Due to a storm in the Sierras, the sale will start on TUESDAY, Dec. 10. Check back here for updates.
Short of cutting your own, you can’t get holiday trees fresher than the white fir, incense cedar and other evergreens that Cal Forestry Club students will offer for sale starting on TUESDAY.
Equipped with chainsaws and fundraising spirit, the students will make their annual trek up to the Sierra foothills to harvest the trees.
The sweet-smelling conifers, along with decorated wreaths and pine cones, will be on sale TUESDAY through SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the south side of Mulford Hall, home of the College of Natural Resources. Mulford is near the campus’s West Gate, just north of West Circle.
Trees will sell for $6 a foot. The sale is the club’s annual fundraiser. The trees are cut on property owned by Sierra Pacific Industries, the lumber company based in Shasta County.
Eager young shopper picks out at tree at the Cal Forestry Club’s 2012 sale. (NewsCenter photo by Carol Ness)
By Claire Kremen, Professor of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and Co-director of the Berkeley Food Institute.
Like the European Union – which on Dec. 1 boldly began a two-year ban on selected pesticides thought to be harmful to honeybees and other pollinators – the United States should help protect pollinators by banning these pesticides. But the United States should do far more, and become a world leader in championing sustainable alternatives to harmful pesticides.
Pollinators are vital to our food supply and to California’s agricultural economy. They provide over one third of the food that we eat, improve production for 75 percent of all crop species, and are essential for many key crops grown in California, such as almonds, avocados, apples and cherries. Pollinators’ contribution to Californian agriculture is estimated at $2.7-6.3 billion per year.
Continue reading "Europe is banning bee-harmful pesticides; US should take the lead" »