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The Solace and Inspiration of Berkeley’s Nature

Noam Schimmel, Lecturer, International and Area Studies and Development Practice |

Growing up in New England, I distinctly remember as a child my kind neighbor showing me her yellow marigolds and teaching me about flowers. When it comes to flowers, marigolds are – in retrospect rather fittingly – a humble flower. They are fairly subdued in their beauty and not particularly extravagant or unusual. They don’t … Continue reading »

Women in Energy: A Powerful Case for Inclusion

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | March 4, 2022

March brings the annual celebration of Women’s History Month. What started as a week of activities sponsored by the Sonoma school district in 1978 expanded to a national commemorative month by order of Congress in 1986. That same year saw a remarkable two-day Congressional hearing on “Ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect and climate change.” As … Continue reading »

Overcooling of offices reveals gender inequity in thermal comfort

Stefano Schiavon, Associate Professor of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering | December 9, 2021

Our appetite for cooling is growing — air conditioning represents the fastest-growing source of energy use in buildings, with cooling energy tripling between 1990 and 2016. In our latest study, we found that part of this energy demand is wasted on excessive cooling of offices.

On Natural Climate Solutions: The Multi-Faceted Role of Restored Wetlands in the Bay Area

Dennis Baldocchi, Professor of Biometeorology | December 8, 2021

Ecosystems have the potential to act as Natural Climate Solutions by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it in the form of plant stems, roots, and soil organic matter. The more popular forms of Natural Climate Solutions include planting trees and restoring endemic, deep-rooted, perennial grasslands. To be effective, these Natural Climate … Continue reading »

Towards an equitable microgrid policy

Heather Lewis, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Environmental Law Clinic | June 30, 2020

The 2020 fire season has already started, and we cannot repeat the mistakes of past fire seasons. PG&E recently pled guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter after 84 people were killed when a derelict PG&E transmission line sparked the 2018 Camp Fire. The 2019 fire seasons saw widespread public safety power shutoffs (PSPS events), most … Continue reading »

Green in black and white: It’s time to show up

Claudia Polsky, assistant clinical professor of law | June 5, 2020

My favorite opening line from any Earth Day speech ever was this: “Today, black and white, yellow and brown, we are all green.”  The speech was delivered three decades ago; the place was Times Square; and the speaker was David Dinkins, New York City’s first (and to date, only) African-American mayor. How I wish his … Continue reading »

A Green Stimulus to recover from the COVID Recession

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | June 2, 2020

A Green Stimulus to recover from the COVID Recession Daniel Aldana Cohen and Daniel M Kammen The COVID-19 epidemic is ravaging our tattered health care system and shredding our economy. In the past month, over 20 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, compounding the fear that unemployment could breach 32% absent massive public action. This … Continue reading »

What Are The Benefits Of Phasing Out California’s Oil & Gas Production?

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | May 11, 2020

It might seem obvious that phasing out oil and gas production in California would benefit the climate. But the reality is much more complicated, in terms of emissions, economics and even geopolitics. CLEE just released the report Legal Grounds with policy options to reduce in-state production, but the question of how much a phase out … Continue reading »

Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | May 7, 2020

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization … Continue reading »

How Sustainable is the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain? New “FAQ” Released Today

Ethan Elkind, director, Climate Program at Berkeley Law | April 15, 2020

The global transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) will require the production of hundreds of millions of batteries. The need for such a massive deployment raises questions from the general public and critics alike about the sustainability of the battery supply chain, from mining impacts to vehicle carbon emissions. Growing demand for … Continue reading »

Please stop eating pangolins

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | March 11, 2020

Some years ago I was in Gabon. My host asked if I would like lunch in the French restaurant or to have traditional food. Without thinking, I said the latter. Sadly, it was one of many places that depended upon bush meat. We ended up having fricassee of pangolin and roast civet cat. I did … Continue reading »

Don’t let big agriculture squeeze out small cannabis farms

Michael Polson, anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher in environmental science, policy and management | February 18, 2020

California cannabis farmers are at a crossroads. Will cannabis go the way of ‘Big Agriculture,’ or can we develop an industry that supports a multitude of farmers, communities and the environment? The path that agriculture in the United States took has resulted in a highly consolidated industry that is debt-financed, built on underpaid labor, and … Continue reading »

How about we erect a ‘National Climate Denier Memorial’

Jonathan Jarvis, Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity | December 11, 2019

In 1976, I worked as a ranger on the National Mall in Washington, DC, interpreting monuments to past Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson, as well as memorials to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.  I spent that winter with Thomas Jefferson, who stands tall in a marble rotunda, surrounded … Continue reading »

California is burning: How can it stay golden?

Marissa Saretsky, Lecturer, Haas School of Business | October 29, 2019

It has now been three years in a row that, from my vantage point in Berkeley, I have been affected by the California fires. And as the Kincade Fire rages near Healdsburg, I am in touch with many of my friends and neighbors in Berkeley, Oakland and Marin County, whose power has been pre-emptively shut … Continue reading »

Why we need data science in the fight for climate justice

Catherine Cronquist Browning, Assistant Dean of Academic Programs and of Equity and Inclusion at the School of Information | October 21, 2019

Climate change may not seem like an obvious information science issue. Isn’t this the realm of environmental scientists and social activists? Yes—and we continue to need their expertise and leadership as desperately as ever. But we must also recognize that understanding, communicating about, and addressing climate change is a large-scale and multifaceted information challenge that … Continue reading »