Letter from the Dean

This spring the campus welcomes a new chancellor, Nicholas Dirks. With his impressive leadership record, his interests in global sustainable development, and his wife Janaki Bakhle’s interest in sustainable food systems, he and his family should feel at home at UC Berkeley, and I look forward to their active engagement with the College.

With each new extreme weather event, climate change makes headlines again. We asked a few of our economics experts to unpack this complex topic, to challenge our readers to understand climate change not just as it relates to headline-making fires, storms, and heat waves, but to consider the vast societal implications of those kinds of events, and how the adaptation process itself is fraught. Their analysis is unnerving, but essential reading, especially in the context of their own personal stake in the future their children will inherit.

A study coming out this month on heat islands and social justice is just one example of how the complexities of climate change play out in the real world. It is also further scientific evidence of the “the climate gap,” a Berkeley-coined principle that has long been documented anecdotally through news and advocacy: that climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color.

As the Atkins Center for Weight and Health gears up for its cosponsorship of the biennial Childhood Obesity Conference in Long Beach this June, this issue’s On the Ground section highlights CNR’s work on obesity, both in the lab and in the schoolyard.

And finally, CNR alumna and advisory board member Carrie Maser gets passionate when she talks about giving back to the College and the University — we are happy to give her a soapbox to stand on in College Support.

I welcome your comments at gilless@berkeley.edu.

J. Keith Gilless