Tag Archives: Climate Change

Adapta Sertão – Social & Technological Innovations for Adaptation to Climate Change

Here’s a short video I did for a couple organizations based in Europe and Brazil. It’s based on my research and experiences in Brazil from Nov’12 – Feb’13. I think it does a solid job summing things up. Hope you enjoy it! And, as they say in Portuguese, “a gente se fala.” If you’d like to see the longer version with interviews, click here

My First Op-Ed: Oregon needs to set an example with climate action

Here’s a link to my first ever Op-Ed: Oregon needs to set an example with climate action.

My First Opinion Piece: The Oregonian

My First Opinion Piece: The Oregonian

 

Right now UNFCCC COP-19 is underway in Warsaw, Poland. For the second year in a row, I am missing the negotiations after having gone to Cancun and Durban (i.e COP-16 and -17). Unfortunately, not much is expected until COP-21 Paris. This Op-Ed was my attempt to pay it forward to friends and colleagues working out in the field and at the negotiations. I’ve seen the impacts of climate change with my own eyes in Latin America and Africa and can’t help but get a bit frustrated with the gridlock so succinctly described by David G. Victor in his book, Global Warming Gridlock. Amidst this gridlock, we have 2 years to get our ducks in a row by increasing political will in our home countries and, most importantly, building awareness and support for good ideas. On that note, I like what I have seen thus far with respect to the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy. With 52 million people and a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion, this is going to be a pilot project for the world. Paris, here we come!

The California Climate Ride

Thanks Citizen’s Climate Lobby for teaching me about the California Climate Ride! I heard that someone on the East Coast’s version of the event road a unicycle from NYC to D.C. — that’s 300 miles! This things raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Come ride with me!!! Here’s more info on the CA Climate Ride.

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My Video on Climate Change in Brazil

Here’s a short video that I filmed and co-produced for a couple European and Brazilian organizations. It’s HOT OFF THE PRESS. I think it does a solid job summarizing my recent work in Brazil from Nov’12 – Feb’13. If you’d like to see the longer version, click here. For the Portuguese version, click here. Under this video, you’ll find an interview I did about a month ago. Can you guess where in San Diego it was shot? 


From Brazil to Africa and Back Again

I wear a fist-shaped, green necklace around my neck. It beats against my chest when I run. I only take it off when I surf, for fear of loosing it. It’s made of African greenstone, my favorite. The stone is from Zambia — a precious gift given to me during a trip there in 2011. Wearing it reminds me of the Zambezi River, the generous people of Africa, their rich cultures, the profound wildlife, and the incredible 2-month journey in a continent I’d dreamt about visiting since childhood.

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Rewind to Bahia, Brazil in 2008. At this time, in Salvador, I purchased a small wood carving strikingly similar to that of my greenstone fist. This image of a fist – called a fig – is considered good luck in both Africa and Brazil. The cultural transmission from the former to the latter must have taken place centuries before. I believe Africa is the mother to us all, but who knows where the fig comes from. Maybe it has its roots somewhere else. Maybe an anthropologist will tell me one day…

I am back in Brazil, currently working with a dedicated group of rural development professionals from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Bangladesh, South Africa, and Nepal. Here in Bahia, Brazil, where the city of Salvador is considered to be the most African city outside of Africa, there are moments when I forget if I am in Salvador, Brazil or Maputo, Mozambique (also Portuguese-speaking). The knowledge, charisma and dedication of my colleagues from Africa and Asia inspire me more than they know. They are here to exchange ideas within a learning platform called ELLA, which is associated with my partner NGO, Adapta Sertão. Along with the ELLA organizers (Daniele Cesano, Martin Obermaier, Charlotte Heffer, Thais Corral, and Emily Trainor) we have all become fast friends. The stories from their home countries — experiences grounded in an incredible breadth of environmental, cultural, political, agricultural and historical understanding — amaze me on an hourly basis.

We are in the community of Pintadas, Bahia, Brazil. (Interesting side note: I am apparently the first person from the United States here in Pintadas, an intriguing thought.) My research, based out of UCSD, is helping Adapta Sertão determine the best technologies and strategies to help rural farmers in the Sertão region adapt to climate change. Bolstering resilience and improving livelihoods is the name of the game. My climatology analysis is nearly done and now we have to start looking at socio-economic indicators to see the impacts of the regions changing water cycle, especially ever-increasing droughts. The current drought here, starting in 2010, is said to be the worst in over 50 years. During a farm visit with a farmer named, Maceus, we saw how innovative these farmers can be. Deep wells, crop diversification (including varieties of cactus), drip technology, and many other techniques are yielding results and increasing climate resilience. These farmers, this community, and my colleagues from Brazil, Africa, and Asia give me a great deal of hope that we will improve the livelihoods of vulnerable communities around the world.

Tomorrow morning I will run again, and the green fist will beat. Many of us feel that same green beat and we should continue to act on it; in spite of our frustration with the UNFCCC gridlock (fingers crossed COP-18), in spite of the reluctance of our respective domestic governments to agree (fingers crossed 2nd Obama administration), in spite of the skeptics. Just keep running — our sense of direction is sound. Good luck to the good work.

A special thanks to the ELLA participants (below). You are true thought-leaders.

Antwi-Boasiako Amoah (from Ghana); Farayi Madziwa (from Zimbabwe, resides in South Africa); Hedwig “Halima” Nenkari (from Kenya); Leonard Unganai (from Zimbabwe, Unganai means “come together” in Shona); Monica Chundama (from Zambia); Mousumi Pervin (from Bangladesh); Ram Chandra Khana (from Nepal); Sherpard Zvigadza (from Zimbabwe); Simon Shomkegh (from Nigeria); Stephen Awuni (from Ghana); Ujjal Tiwari (from Nepal); Victor Orindi (from Kenya).

#Green Week Ahead (May 07-13)

Hello everyone — I hope you had a festive Cinco de May weekend!

Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Tues May 08

One of thousands of islands in Queensland, Australia.

On a personal note, I am excited to announce that I will be teaching a monthlong course on sustainability this summer for San Diego State University undergraduates. The course, as part of their study abroad program, will be conducted throughout Queensland, Australia. I will be giving a pre-departure orientation on this day as we prepare to explore, firsthand numerous socio-environmental issues, developing a new perspective regarding our relationship with the planet.

 

Wed May 09

CleanTECH Advocacy Meeting from 2-3:30pm.

David Victor

New Ways to Stop Global Warming from 5:15-7:00pm. Professor of Political Science and Climate Change Specialist, David Victor discusses how global warming is affecting our planet today. Professor Victor will explore strategies that would be more effective in addressing issues surrounding climate change. He recently authored a 2011 Economist Best Book – Global Warming Gridlock – and advises countries and companies regarding energy and climate policy.

Here’s an interview I did with Professor Victor while studying with him at UCSD. My Interview with David Victor.

 

“IF WE DO NOT CHANGE OUR DIRECTION WE ARE LIKELY TO END UP WHERE WE ARE HEADED” – Chinese Proverb

My Close Friend & Mentor, Byron Washom, On TEDx

From Midway Island to Hawaii, from Hawaii to California, then MIT and back again. During this journey, he explored live ammunition fields, fell for surfing, set numerous energy world records, and developed amazing projects here at UC San Diego. Byron’s incredible life experiences, game-changing accomplishments, and deep insights create a story you MUST hear!

How do we tap into our innate creativity? Byron encourages us to follow our passion and push the boundaries, even beyond our comfort zone — beyond the barrier reef. How right he is. One in a million, Byron. Slam dunk!