Poster Session Presenters
Thurs, April 27, 2023, 5:30-6:30pm
Electricity-utility ignited wildfires increasingly threatening communities in California, the American West, and around the globe as climate change accelerates dry conditions. Wildfires emit carbon, methane, and toxins, accelerate climate change, threaten lives and the environment, and contribute to environmental injustice. This poster makes a unique contribution to the environmental and distributive justice legal fields through its contention that electric utility and regulatory knowledge management are key to environmental and procedural justice. Knowledge management, iterative creation, analysis, dissemination, and use of information, data, learning, experience, and input, promotes understanding, decision-making, and effective, sustainable, and equitable service. This poster theorizes utilities as knowledge keepers and creators who must maintain and transmit knowledge from one group of workers to another over the course of hours, days, or decades to promote public and environmental safety and reliable service. Using discursive analysis of administrative and regulatory proceedings, this poster examines electric utility knowledge management through analysis of the fragmented analog and electronic information management systems employed by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). It highlights use of spray paint to manage vegetation in high wildfire-danger areas, the primary ignition source for utility-caused wildfires in California. It contends that limited information and communications technology adoption and deployment as business and regulatory practices contribute to fire risk and endanger communities.
Maryam Mobed Miremadi, Maryam Khanbaghi, Josh Chansky & Grant Gini
Most states in the US plan to provide 100% carbon-free electricity (Nuclear and Hydro), 100% renewables (Solar and Wind) or net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This requires large investments and urban planning that will temporarily increase the cost of electricity. Unfortunately it is not clear how this transition is equitably shared with underserved communities that won’t be able to afford the cost increase, depriving this sector from environmental, emotional and psychological needs. A solution that is low cost, renewable, inclusive and transferrable has been investigated. Biofuel is an option that meets these objectives. A lifecycle analysis based on a biorefinery prototype comprised of a biodigester and microbial fuel cell is under study. The obtained solution will explicitly address the integration of all pillars of sustainability embedded into environmental justice based on founding principles of diversity and inclusion.
Gene DePuy, Jessica Rudnick, James Chorr, Monica Cisneros & Hanna Payne
This project presents a living database of environmental justice conflicts across coastal counties in California called “California Environmental Justice Conflict Database”. Our research-to-practice team has worked to develop a comprehensive database resource that catalogs over 80 environmental justice (EJ) conflicts across 19 California coastal counties. Our efforts to track EJ conflicts focuses on the social dimensions of EJ conflicts: who is involved, who is impacted, how do communities respond, how do social networks connect communities and conflicts to one another, and when do conflicts lead to “wins'' or “losses” for EJ advocates. By facilitating cross-conflict comparisons, our team aims for this database to facilitate learning between communities and EJ organizations working across disparate conflicts and support more effective, coordinated responses. Of the 86 cataloged conflicts, 38 are “closed” and 48 are “on-going” cases with conflict sources ranging from air pollution to water rights. We have documented the most frequently-used strategies (e.g. Petitions; lawsuits/legal action; media activism) and their rates of success. We have compiled multiple sources of archival data by pulling cases out of the Global EJ Atlas and systematically searching the web for media and local news coverage, legal, technical and policy documents. At this stage, we are partnering with environmental justice organizations to review the cases we have compiled and provide feedback on the accessibility of our database and its usefulness to the EJ organizing community.
Jenny Skerke, Adam Nayak, Aniket Verma, Ben Rachunok, Buzz Thompson & Sarah Fletcher
Unaffordable water threatens water access in the United States, particularly for low-income households that struggle to pay the rising cost for water. In water-scarce cities, water shortages necessitate either expensive infrastructure development or costly emergency measures to meet demand, which in turn increase household water costs. Currently, utility-level water supply planning practices focus on meeting system-level reliability under water scarcity scenarios, for a minimal cost to the utility. This systems-level aggregation does not consider how utility-level decisions have varying impacts on different households, perpetuating current inequities. Our work develops two decision-support frameworks to design and optimize different utility-level decisions, including rate design, infrastructure development, and short-term drought policies, for household affordability. We are first working to design a socio-hydrological modeling framework to design rates that optimize water affordability fusing legal analysis, behavioral economics, and hydrological modeling. Second, we are building a decision-support tool focused on combining long-term infrastructure development with short-term drought response measures to explicitly model the tradeoffs between household affordability, utility cost recovery, and system reliability. We demonstrate this framework in Santa Cruz, California, which is particularly vulnerable to climate change because it is hydrologically isolated, mainly relies on surface water, and includes diverse socioeconomic populations. Additionally, California Proposition 218 deters public water utilities in setting progressive rate design. While our second model is still in development, our first framework on rate design demonstrates that flat drought surcharges are highly detrimental to affordability, particularly under increasing block rate tariffs. Both frameworks will improve the understanding of distributional equity implications for water supply planning under climate change through explicitly incorporating and optimizing for household affordability impacts.
Sarah Danon, Eliza Steenrod, Hannah Hagen, Hannah May Browne, Maddy Hwang, Iris Stewart-Frey, Marisol Aguilar, Elias Rodriguez & Nicholas Jensen
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was passed in 2014 to address declining groundwater levels in California. The implementation of SGMA proves controversial because it may restrict access to water for disadvantaged communities. We partnered with the non-profit law firm California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) to research SGMA‚Äôs status nearly 10 years into its implementation and if or how it protects disadvantaged communities in Stanislaus, Merced, and Monterey counties. Our research found that the current state of groundwater is increasingly declining and that dry wells disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities. The 15 Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) in these counties all met the deadlines specified in SGMA; however, the extensive timeline delays the implementation of effective groundwater management in these counties. Regarding these 15 GSPs, 33% of public comments concerned inadequate protections for disadvantaged communities. The DWR feedback on the GSPs does not reflect the same concern for disadvantaged communities, and therefore, we recommend increased consideration of these communities in the GSP review process.
Arianna Libenson, Clare Pace, Jenny Rempel, Lara Cushing & Rachel Morello-Frosch
California applies more pesticides annually than any other state, yet monitoring efforts fail to adequately evaluate the impact of pesticides on groundwater. This may pose significant health risks to the approximately 1.58 million Californians who rely on domestic wells for drinking water. Communities served by domestic wells are disproportionately located in rural, agricultural regions, including the San Joaquin Valley, where pesticide application rates are also high. The fact that these communities are disproportionately Latinx and socioeconomically disadvantaged raises environmental justice concerns. Using data from the Department of Pesticide Regulation, we evaluated regional differences in the application of 166 pesticides most likely to contaminate groundwater and a subset of 6 pesticides likely to infiltrate groundwater and contribute to health risks. We focused on domestic well communities and evaluated disparities in pesticide application with respect to sociodemographic risk factors. Spatial regression models adjusted for regional variables suggest that Latinx race/ethnicity and unincorporated community status are associated with higher levels of pesticide use, however, these relationships are not entirely independent of spatial factors. Our evaluation of groundwater monitoring efforts found that 94,094 domestic wells (32.1%) serving over 282,000 people are located within an approximately 1x1 mile grid square that received no pesticide monitoring between 2011-2019 despite the application of pesticides over the same period. We recommend restricting the use of pesticides in areas heavily reliant on domestic wells, increasing monitoring efforts in areas of intense pesticide use, and supporting community outreach efforts to promote water testing and treatment.
Marisol Aguilar, Nicholas Jensen & Elias Rodriguez
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) is a nonprofit legal aid that provides free legal services to over 50,000 low-income community residents a year. The high volume of clients allowed CRLA to identify systemic, environmental justice issues in disadvantaged unincorporated communities (DUCs) across the state. DUCs share a lack of basic infrastructure such as sewers, sidewalks and gutters, lack of access to municipal services such as clean water, public transportation and broadband, and bear the burden of polluting and noxious land uses such as hazardous waste sites, industrial facilities, and agricultural pollution. In response, CRLA created the Community Equity Initiative (CEI) to work alongside community residents to address environmental justice issues through a community lawyering model that blends legal representation, advocacy, community leadership development, and collaboration. CEI addresses DUC issues in four priority areas. The first area, infrastructure and municipal services, responds to the health and dignity affected by the lack of basic infrastructure and services. The second, local planning, recognizes that many environmental issues begin at the planning stage. The third, impediments to public participation, is CRLA‚Äôs long-term investment in community leadership to ensure residents can be their own advocates. The fourth, environmental hazards, responds to environmental issues experienced by DUCs and the unique solutions needed to address them. CEI relies on innovative approaches to address the needs of entire communities. CEI teams, composed of an attorney and a community worker, work closely with community residents, community-based organizations, academia, and local agencies to identify and advocate for community-led solutions.
The environmental justice movement was founded on the belief that all individuals have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment. Historically, tribal lands have disproportionately been the site of extractive industries, including mining of uranium to build the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal. This inequitable distribution is the result of ingrained systems of settler colonialism and racial capitalism that devalue people of color, both of which co-occur to produce wastelanding of tribal lands. One such site is the former Midnite Mine, located within the reservation of the Spokane Tribe of Indians in Washington. To better understand how individuals in this community are impacted by the uranium mining industry, this study analyzes experience- and perceptions-focused written news media published by both tribal and non-tribal news sources through the use of qualitative coding strategies. Results derived from my analysis of these articles document adverse health impacts, such as cancer, amongst community members, loss of cultural activities due to contamination, and strained relationships between the Tribe and stakeholders in industry and government. Themes emerged that focused on the unequal returns that have altered the Tribe’s human-environment relationship, knowledge as a source of power, accountability avoidance by industrial and governmental stakeholders, and future-focused activism. This work reveals just one example of the lived experiences and community costs of extractive industries operating in indigenous communities who have experienced an extensive history of marginalization, which these industries continue to perpetuate today.
Within the broader landscape of climate adaptation labor, I have focused my research on the California Conservation Camp Program (CCP), which is a programmatic collaboration between the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire). The CCP is a remarkable case study of the role of incarcerated workers because it is by far the largest centralized program of prison public works in the country, and these workers have historically made up 92% of CALFire’s hand crews, or manual labor force. My research question is: Under what conditions has the CCP grown to be such an outsize player in California firefighting and forestry labor? I have employed two methods to research the history of this program so far, using primary archival material to research the birth and growth of this program, and 12 interviews with formerly incarcerated participants of the program during the 2020 historic fire year. My poster will include my preliminary results from these two methods and contextualize the importance of this program within California’s changing wildfire labor regime. Climate justice in California is deeply linked to a just transition away from punitive and carceral systems, and toward life-affirming social institutions, which must include good jobs for climate adaptation labor.
Tashina Vavuris, Karen Crespo Triveño & Magaly Santos
The research focuses on collaborations between the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and a community organization, Leaders 4 Environmental Activism Reclaiming Their Health (Leaders4EARTH). This collaboration cultivated the implementation of an Environmental Justice Youth Leadership Academy (EJYLA). The EJYLA is a program designed to connect youth and undergraduates through programming that interwoven topics of environmental justice (EJ), agroecology and food sovereignty, critical pedagogy, and critical research practices while centering aspects of community engagement and relationality—including connecting with, engaging, care, and responsibility, or being in relations with others. The EJYLA pulls from feminist, ethnographic, and anti-colonial methodologies that integrate critical participatory reflections. This research poster showcases student perspectives of the EJYLA through various research methods—including surveys, visual and audio critical reflections, and PhotoVoice collages. Findings reveal diverse learning processes to understand and examine how EJ and agroecology can “unsettle” science and, in doing so, revitalize students’ desires for environmental sense-making and praxis. Their perspectives illuminate how critical and intentional environmental education programming can nurture students from systematically marginalized groups to engage in inclusive, compassionate anti-colonial, and anti-racist critical environmental justice praxis—the marriage of theory and action. And in doing so, students can enact their own sense of self with the environment, their community, and the broader society.
Faith Bukachevsky, Benji Rogers, Jamie Robinson, & Jake Taylor
Restoration is crucial for an ecosystem’s health and future success. Ecosystems continue to be threatened by climate change and destruction from human activity, the desire to conserve habitats because of their value to society and the planet has increased the number of restoration projects. For this senior capstone project at Santa Clara University in collaboration with the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO), ten focal tree species were evaluated on how well they self-recruited in two riparian restoration projects situated along Coyote Creek in Milpitas at the Coyote Creek Field Station. These ten species are Blue elderberry, California buckeye, Black walnut, Box elder, California bay, Coast live oak, Fremont cottonwood, Valley oak, White alder, and Western sycamore. This project aimed to measure how successful tree species in both restoration areas have become at self-maintaining, the sampling distribution, and the abundance of each species. In both restoration areas, eight transects were laid and a single transect line was run in a remnant riparian habitat as the control measurements. The information recorded along transects included: diameter at breast height (DBH), location on the transect, height class, and mature or sapling. It was found that mature and sapling species distribution appeared dependent on location and that self-maintenance is going well for two species, but not for the other tree species. Our recommendation was that SFBBO needs to continue monitoring species distribution and developing a definition of restoration success.
Maria Autrey, Kate Rickwa, Anna Keenan & Yajaira Orozco
This poster presents a reflection on the environmental justice immersion program offered by Santa Clara University (SCU). Drawing on the principles of Ignatian pedagogy, immersions bring together students, practitioners, and community members in West Virginia to learn and work together on environmental justice issues in the United States. By using a lens of transformative justice, we examine the impact of the immersion on promoting solidarity, understanding environmental justice issues, and advancing just power relationships. Through reflective conversations between and among students and the program director of immersions, we identified the strengths and limitations of the immersion approach and offered recommendations for improving and expanding the program. Our experience suggests that immersion programs can effectively promote environmental justice, build solidarity among diverse communities, and contribute to broader social and environmental change. We conclude by highlighting the importance of collaboration among grassroots organizations, academic institutions, and faith-based approaches to climate justice in creating a more just and sustainable world.
Molly M. King, Ana Martinez & Emily Pachoud
Climate change is increasingly affecting vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities; however, despite their increased vulnerability and disproportionate exposure to environmental catastrophes, people with disabilities are often excluded from climate disaster planning and policy making decisions. Further, the limited social and financial resources of people with disabilities, such as a lack of transportation, are likely to be further strained during climate-related disasters. In light of this, disability climate emergency planning and disaster response are critical to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are protected during emergency situations. Numerous studies show that access to information is a prerequisite to perceiving risk and taking action. Departing from this work, we link disability as an identity, the consequences of this identity on access to information in climate-disaster response spheres, and climate change action. A lack of disability-inclusive emergency planning heightens the risks faced by the disability community via a lack of access to applicable climate emergency response manuals and procedures. Through interviews with 25 people with mobility disabilities and 15 climate activists, we examine the current gaps in disability climate emergency response and provide recommendations for improving institutional and individual preparedness. This paper explores the relationship between disability-inclusive climate emergency planning, risk perception and information seeking, and adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change.
Samantha Lei, Erica Svendahl, Lilah Foster, Iris Stewart-Frey, Nick Jensen, Thalea Gastelum & Marisol Aguilar
Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) in the Central Valley and other agricultural regions in California are often dependent on shallow household wells for their water supplies. For decades, much of this shallow groundwater has been impacted by widespread and persistent contamination from nitrate and other agricultural contaminants, which have been associated with cancer and other negative health outcomes. More recently (2006), the CV-SALTS process has been conceived to combat the growing issues surrounding unsafe drinking water through collaborative efforts between local communities, community organizations, and government agencies. The program focuses on improving nitrate management practices and providing safe drinking water to the highest-priority basins in California’s agricultural regions. The six Priority 1 Basins include Turlock, Modesto, Tule, Kings, Kaweah, and Chowchilla where each basin is required to submit a timeline of goals. Across all Priority 1 Basins, these goals include meetings between the local community and stakeholders, community outreach of resources and information, and establishing a contact list of targeted residents. This community-based research explores the water justice aspects and the effectiveness of the CV-SALTS Program in DACs through a study of the process, a resident survey, and GIS mapping. The goal of the work is to determine what further support might aid these communities to obtain their right to clean water. Findings include that DACs are disproportionately affected by contamination from nitrates and other agricultural chemicals, the process does not sufficiently address the needs of DACs, many remain unaware of their drinking water quality, and provisions for safe water are inadequate.
Gautam Chitnis, Alex Avila, Turner Uyeda, Briana Guingona, Raul Diaz, Allan Baez Morales, Edwin Maurer & Iris Stewart-Frey
There are more than 500 million smallholder farmers cultivating less than 2 hectares of land worldwide. Although these smallholders are the cornerstone of the local food security and local economies, many are highly vulnerable to climatic events such as extreme precipitation, hurricanes, and droughts. In response to requests by small farming communities in northern Nicaragua, and in partnership with a local community development organization CII-ASDENIC, the Frugal Innovation Hub has developed a mobile phone application called “NicaAgua”. The app has 3 core functionalities: live weather updates from a local weather station, broadcast message system for critical water alerts, and access to local weather forecast information from the UC Santa Barbara‚Äôs Climate Hazards Center Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) The development of this app was done using React Native framework which allows the app to work on Android and iOS operating systems. The backend of this app is built with the Node.js framework that is connected to a forecasting library developed by our team. The user interface (UI) of the app has been designed to utilize human centric principles from focus groups and surveys insights. The NicaAgua app is a technological tool to democratize complex but fundamental climate data to empower local farmers and grassroot organizations in their everyday decision-making process whilst respecting their agriculture history and knowledge.
Briana Guingona, Alex Avila, Turner Uyeda, Gautam Chitnis, Raul Diaz, Allan Baez Morales, Edwin Maurer & Iris Stewart-Frey
Though smallholder farmers have minimally contributed to the root causes of global warming, they bear a disproportionate amount of the climate change impacts. Climate variability and change impose a significant threat to smallholder farmers and global progress toward poverty alleviation, food and water security, and sustainable development. In response to farmer feedback, faculty and student researchers from Environmental Science, Civil Engineering, and the Frugal Innovation Hub at SCU have partnered with CII-Asdenic, a development organization in northern Nicaragua to develop a forecasting app (NicaAgua) tailored to local needs. For this process, we developed a survey to understand community responses to climatic shifts and extreme events, and community needs for information, mitigation and adaptation strategies. Responses indicated several months of water insecurity and need for forecasts that include the timing of the rainy season, droughts, and extreme events. Main sources for climate and weather information are radios, cellphones, and televisions. Moreover, when warned about a drought, farmers prepare by conserving and storing water, as well as adapting their plantings. In order to be better prepared, farmers expressed a need for more specific weather, climate, drought and rain forecasts, and resources for a range of adaptation strategies. Survey results support the development of NicaAgua in order to increase climate resilience and preparedness for our partner smallholder farmers in Nicaragua.
Alex Avila, Turner J. Uyeda, Gautam Chitnis, Briana Guingona, Raul Diaz , Ed Maurer, Allan Báez Morales & Iris Stewart-Frey
Smallholder farmers are highly vulnerable to climatic variations as most depend on rain-fed agriculture. Additionally, the farmers cultivate marginal areas susceptible to climate change and lack critical access to real-time climate forecasting that supports their decision making process. In order to provide communities in Nicaragua with locally-specific climate forecasting information, our team collaborated with a local development organization, CII-Asdenic, to prepare short and medium term climate forecasts that are distributed through our forecasting app: NicaAgua. Climate data from UC Santa Barbara‚Äôs Climate Hazards Center Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) data as well as from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is analyzed using the R coding environment. Current climate information is compared to historic averages and graphics were developed to communicate whether expected rainfall lies within the historically normal ranges for any given day. Medium-term forecasts provide information on how the upcoming months of rainfall will compare to what has been observed previously. Furthermore, a script was developed that aims to make the rainfall data easier for the farmers to understand as well. Other developments include a messaging system that warns of extremes and a code package that allows for the determination of the characteristics of the mid-summer drought (MSD), an important rain pattern in South America. A preliminary version of the app and forecast graphics were presented to a focus group of Nicaraguan farmers, and their feedback continues to guide the development of the forecasts and how they are presented to the user.
Maeve Davitt, Jackie Cruz, Olivia Morris, Mae Uniacke, Gabby Yabut, Iris Stewart-Frey & Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Universities have a unique and urgent responsibility to lead the way in addressing the challenges and mitigating the effects of climate change and promoting sustainability. As part of its commitment to the Laudato Si‚Äô Pathways, SCU is currently developing a Sustainability Action Plan in response to the Laudato Si Movement that builds on the goals of the original Sustainability Strategic Plan published in 2019. The Center for Sustainability is seeking recommendations on how to maximize sustainability on campus and integrate them with the Laudato Si process in the areas of energy, wastewater, solid waste management, and campus engagement. In this report, our team utilized interviews and STARS data to analyze these respective areas and discover how SCU could be most strategic and where improvements could be implemented. We also compared SCU to peer universities in order to understand where SCU ranks, and to recommend programs from these peer universities that could be incorporated into our own strategies. Our team found that the topics of Buildings as well as Investment and Finance have the greatest opportunity for improvement. We also found multiple ways to maximize sustainability, including developing a new transportation program, reassessing unnecessary grass patches, establishing various sustainability programs, and ultimately, integrating the SCU campus as a living lab for sustainability solutions.
Studies indicate that college students experience high rates of food insecurity. Growing awareness of food insecurity on college campuses has resulted in efforts by many institutions to address the problem through innovative programs such as food pantries, campus gardens, and educational workshops. While these initiatives play an important role in facilitating food access, they fall short of meeting students’ needs. There is little research on how students’ experiences or knowledge can inform strategies to address food insecurity, nor is there extensive research on how students view this issue for themselves and their peers. This study looks at the benefits of engaging students in participatory action research (PAR) to address college food insecurity. PAR is particularly well suited to address campus food insecurity given its tenets of research, reflection, and action. This study examined how a PAR project, conducted throughout a semester-long community-engaged learning course at the University of San Francisco (USF), resulted in innovative strategies to address college food insecurity, addressing the needs of marginalized students. This justice-based research approach deepened students’ understanding of the issue and inspired them to address food insecurity through the intersection of power, privilege, and environmental and social justice. Students worked to shift the narrative of food insecurity on campus away from an individual experience that carries stigma toward one of community, relationships, environmental sustainability, equity, and collective action. This study shows the opportunities to address food insecurity not only through immediate needs-based solutions but also through a justice-based research methodology that centers student experiences and knowledge.
Madeline Pugh, Erica Svendahl, Antonio Amore Rojas & Taylor Key
In 2019, research conducted by Hope Labs found that an estimated 29% of college students at 4-year institutions of higher education are experiencing food insecurity. Santa Clara University, an institution with about 9000 students, is no exception, as data collected in 2020 found that nearly 1 in 5 students were food insecure at some point while attending SCU. Unfortunately, there are still few studies focused on private universities, which generally have less access to public funds to support food insecure students. Over the past 3 years, research conducted by the Agroecology, Climate Resilience and Food Justice lab has aimed to assess current levels and perceptions of student food security and food sovereignty, and identify what lessons can be learned in order to make recommendations for addressing these challenges. Through this research, several disparities amongst demographic communities emerged. Our current research has sought out to better understand these complexities. We conducted surveys, a case study, and 9 semi-structured student and key stakeholder interviews to gain a better understanding of how students at a private university experience food insecurity. Interviews were coded and recurring themes that emerged were lack of cultural relevance, stigma, and lack of access to university and government resources. Survey results from 2022-2023 found that about 35% of all students have experienced food insecurity while attending SCU. This number was almost double for the international students, at around 62%.We found that MENA and Southeast Asian students displayed the lowest level of food security amongst other demographic groups. We concluded that systemic issues, which are exacerbated by existing racial disparities and barriers to resources, prevent students from accessing affordable, healthy, and culturally relevant foods. With this research we hope to raise awareness about the complexities of food insecurity and spur further research into private universities.
Michelle Benavente, Katie Dalpino & Brita A. Bookser
The research presented in this poster describes the content and qualities of children’s literature about climate and environmental justice. In particular, we investigate the core components of storytelling that foster imagination and action toward environmental justice among early childhood populations and the important others in their lives. In addition, we introduce the concept of story stewardship, a framework grounded in decolonial praxis. Our research bridges antiracist and decolonizing frameworks to analyze the bilingual English and Spanish story, I am Sausal Creek/Soy El Arroyo Sausal, written by Melissa Reyes, illustrated by Robert Trujillo, and translated by Cinthia Muñoz. Using critical content analysis, we synthesize themes that illuminate ways the story functions as a tool for decolonial environmental education and justice. Notably, Sausal Creek is a culturally relevant waterway that travels through unceded Lisjan Ohlone Territory in what is currently Oakland, California. Reye’s (2015) story traces the significance, legacy, and ancestral and ongoing relationality of the creek to the Ohlone people, specifically, and the East Bay community, generally. With a focus on the telling and stewarding of culturally relevant, justice-oriented stories, this poster will invite (re)considerations of children literature as a tool for social justice imagination, advocacy, and action toward relationality, protection, and thriving in community. Further, our team explicitly recognizes the political importance and social relevance of our standpoints in relation to the process and presentation of this work.
Mikaela Dacanay, Sofie Fernandez & Brita A. Bookser
The research presented in this poster discusses how children‚Äôs literature (a) functions as a curricular tool to make climate science and environmental justice accessible to preschool and school-age children, and (b) operates as an integral component of decolonial frameworks for experiential learning for young children in metropolitan contexts. Grounded in Nxumalo’s (2019) frame of restorying, we focus on the bilingual English and Spanish story, I am Sausal Creek/Soy El Arroyo Sausal, written by Melissa Reyes, illustrated by Robert Trujillo, and translated by Cinthia Muñoz. Notably, Sausal Creek is a culturally relevant waterway that travels through unceded Lisjan Ohlone Territory in what is currently Oakland, California. Reye’s (2015) story traces the significance, legacy, and ancestral and ongoing relationality of the creek to the Ohlone people, specifically, and the East Bay community, generally. Relating to and integrating children’s lived experiences as part of the process of knowledge-sharing and solutions-building, we describe how decolonial experiential learning builds culturally relevant and relational understandings of climate and environmental justice issues. This poster brings developmental science into conversation with the curricular and decolonial potentials of children’s literature as a tool for experiential learning. With a focus on relationality, protection, and thriving in community, our team is especially concerned with establishing an empirical record that addresses the implementation of children’s literature and inclusion of children’s lives in relation to climate and environmental justice. Further, our team explicitly recognizes the political importance and social relevance of our standpoints in relation to the process and presentation of research.
Ruchika Jaiswal, Sarah Rebolloso McCullough, Ruchika Jaiswal, May Myo Myint, Agustin Angel Bernabe, Zoë Temple, Juan Carlos Garcia Sanchez & Selika Josiah Talbott
The effects of increased global temperatures are being experienced by marginalized communities first and worst. To confront this challenge, municipalities around the globe are adopting policies shifting transportation and energy systems towards decarbonization. While these are critical pieces to combat climate change, implementation of these policies can reproduce past practices and exacerbate existing inequalities for environmental justice (EJ) communities. Historically, EJ communities have received little investment and been burdened with adverse social and environmental conditions. Today these issues have compounded to produce a transportation and energy system with many challenges for EJ communities. The UC Davis Environmental Justice Leaders Program engages a cohort of rising community leaders within the Environmental Justice space and immerses them into the academic/research/policy space. The goal of the program is to foster fertile ground for the creation of mutually beneficial research and policy collaborations between environmental justice leaders, researchers, and policymakers. We will discuss the results of the first year of the program, changes made for year two, and anticipated outcomes.
Grace Adams, Alayna Milby, Daniel Cardozo & Chris Kerr
The Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance (CEPA) aims to bring education and actionable steps to Catholic universities on aligning purchasing practices with the mission and values of their campus. CEPA works with various partners and vendors who prioritize producing garments in the U.S.A., paying workers a living wage, and incorporating sustainable methods and end-of-life plans for clothing. A key component of the CEPA program is to educate the environmental and worker rights components in ethical purchasing through programming and immersive opportunities by highlighting the garment industry's negative effects on people and the planet. CEPA works to bring ethically sourced clothing to college and university bookstores and campuses that have a clear mission associated with Catholic Social Teaching and its focus on sustainability and workers’ rights. CEPA gives universities the tools to bring more ethical purchasing practices to their campus through the bookstore and purchasing policies. CEPA Steering Committees have been a way to create a significant campus movement that is student, faculty, and staff based to bring engagement opportunities and conversations around why ethical purchasing is essential to the university mission. CEPA-partnered products are sold in five university bookstores, John Carroll University, Xavier University, the University of Dayton, Mercyhurst University, and Catholic University of America. CEPA is also engaged with multiple other universities and high schools as well.
Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Connor Grady, Declan Bernal, Ayla Flanagan & Leslie Gray
The three inaugural undergraduate Silicon Valley Power Sustainable Futures Fellows from Santa Clara University will share an overview of their Fellowship research. The SVP Sustainable Futures Fellowship experience is designed to enable students to explore intersectional issues surrounding the global climate crisis as well as application and scaling of climate solutions at the local level, using the SCU campus and the City of Santa Clara as living laboratories. Fellows’ work centers around integration of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) practices into the City’s sustainability projects. This year‚Äôs Fellows are conducting research focused on socially vulnerable populations in the City of Santa Clara in three main topic areas: transportation, renewable energy, and food systems. In June, Fellows will present policy briefs to the City of Santa Clara and Silicon Valley Power to support implementation of the City's Climate Action Plan.
The University of California's award winning 'University-Community Links' empower youth & families in local communities through the world-class research framework known as Participatory Action Research (see https://uclinks.berkeley.edu). Our Teams at UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley are especially focused on issues of youth environmental justice and sustainability. I started up the first UC Links seminar in Germany at the University of Augsburg, not far from Munich. My bilingual seminar is entitled 'Media & Learning Communities/Medien & Lerngemeinschaften'. I connect the disciplines of American Studies, Art Pedagogy, Educational Technologies and Sociology, thereby creating fresh interdisciplinary contributions to Participatory Action Research and international opportunities for university students.
Pedro Walpole SJ, Jason Menaling, Andres Ignacio, Rowena Soriaga, Sylvia Miclat
Winds of Change is a 16-minute video documentary produced in 2022 to communicate findings from the five-year participatory action research partnership of the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) with Jesuit universities in Belgium and the Philippines. This initiative was in response to lived experiences of farming families of students in the Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (APC), a culture-based school serving the Upper Pulangi Watershed, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines. The interdisciplinary team of researchers from economics, geomatics, philosophy, agriculture, hydrogeomorphology address two main research questions: (1) What are the social, economic and cultural factors that determine decisions to change agricultural practices, from traditional to genetically-modified corn in the Philippine uplands? (2) What are the consequences of such changes on human development and social justice? The video captures the socio-economic vulnerabilities the smallholder farmers experience from the corn industry for animal feeds, the increasing cost of farming inputs, and the impacts on the landscape. The reflections reaffirm the transition potential of food systems towards agroecology through culture-based actions (https://apupalamguwancenter.essc.org.ph/?p=3779), and posits a genuine challenge for broader society to learn from the integrity of Indigenous Peoples and their role as guardians of ecological services.
Pedro Walpole SJ, Brex Arevalo, Sylvia Miclat, Raiza Javier
We are challenged to collaborate globally by: (1) sharing stories from the ground – the struggles, hopes, and relations of care and solidarity, (2) providing communication and collaboration platforms for youth, marginal communities and Indigenous Peoples, and (3) linking ecological activities, from the Conference and the local, to the global. This workbook is shared with the Ecojesuit community to strengthen collaboration in responding to socioecological concerns. Section 1 reviews the network in terms of our discerned objectives guided by the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs). Section 2 highlights lessons learnt and offers points of reflection and action in moving forward. Section 3 talks of the process underwent by the Ecojesuit team during the 2019 Annual Meeting in Mumbai. Section 4 shares valuable insights from the Jesuit Conference of South Asia, and the region’s unique context. Section 5 tells the stories of two Adivasi communities in the urban context, the challenges they face and their hopes for the future. Section 6 shares five lessons from the experience in South Asia, and leaves us with an image of hope and energy in giving life to the network.
Pedro Walpole SJ, Fr. Gerard Burns, Busby Kautoke, Sirino Rakabi, Sher Abdugapirov, Charles Bertille & Criselle Mejillano
As its contribution for the Synod 2021-2024, RAOEN, the ecclesial network for the Oceania-Asia biome, reviewed the 23 synod synthesis reports of bishops’ conferences in the region, highlighting the voices and experiences of Indigenous Communities, how the Church seeks to engage, and the proposals for change. This document was put together by a small synodality team from the RAOEN network. Nine reflection points emerged that can be a basis for further discussion: 1. The economic, political, social, and religious history and context of each country is acknowledged. 2. There is much hope expressed by Indigenous and Local Communities for greater welcome and cultural inclusion. 3. Community engagement entails involvement in the concerns and celebrations of the different cultures. 4. There is much to learn from Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) and how better dialogue might form with greater participation. 5. The Church is called to appreciate human vulnerability, particularly when accompanying the poor. 6. Human-environmental vulnerability now defining the lives of millions is acknowledged as an integral reality by the local to the universal Church. 7. There is a need to focus on reflection and growth in self-identity, engagement in community, and formation for mission. 8. There is a call to put more emphasis on the liturgy of the Church and not just practices, to find more creative ways in how the Indigenous feel at home in gatherings. 9. The Church is reawakening in giving importance to the need for new types of ministries and new ways of including people.
Erica Svendahl, Jeremy Wang, Taylor Omoto, Nicholas Jensen, Thalea Gastelum, Marisol Aguilar, Iris Stewart-Frey
Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) in the Central Valley and other agricultural regions in California are often dependent on shallow household wells for their water supplies. For decades, much of this shallow groundwater has been impacted by widespread and persistent contamination from nitrate and other agricultural contaminants, which have been associated with cancer and other negative health outcomes. In 2006, the CV-SALTS process was conceived to combat the growing issues surrounding unsafe drinking water through collaborative efforts between local communities, community organizations, and government agencies. The program aimed at improving nitrate management practices and providing safe drinking water to the highest-priority basins in California’s agricultural regions. Our research has aimed at the dissemination of information regarding groundwater quality status in relation to CV-SALTS. While working with community partners, we have compiled a variety of datasets that capture the state of groundwater quality in California. Findings include that DACs are disproportionately affected by contamination from nitrates and other agricultural chemicals, the process does not sufficiently address the needs of DACs, many remain unaware of their drinking water quality, and provisions for safe water are inadequate. Additionally, these communities are disproportionately impacted by water scarcity in California’s recent droughts, with many household wells drying up completely
Morgan Billington & Emily Pachoud
In June of 2020, during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SCC Department of Agriculture and Environmental Management, with the support of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), led the initiative to develop the Santa Clara County Food System Workplan, which was designed to provide a roadmap towards the development of a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable county food system. Through community-based participatory research and a mixed methods approach, this research investigates what work the fifteen cities in Santa Clara County are doing related to food that supports the goals of the Workplan. Interviews with one individual from each of the seven cities that responded found that compliance with SB 1383 and the running of senior nutrition programs are both top priorities for municipality-led food programming, with many municipalities also running community garden programs. Several gaps were identified, including lack of coordination, insufficient funding, low knowledge of the Workplan, lack of leadership, and limited attention to justice. Most cities tend to defer to nonprofits and the county for food security programming, and funding barriers are cited as a reason for less expansive programming. In particular, the end of emergency funding from the COVID-19 pandemic is identified as a large concern for many cities. Based on these findings, recommendations for the county include designating a head of food-related matters in each city, additional funding for implementation of the Food System Workplan goals, a more digestible synopsis of the Workplan, and a selection of one or more cities to serve as leaders in implementing the Workplan goals.