Wildfires that generate their own weather, drought, record-breaking heatwaves, and frequent flooding are compelling more people to try to mitigate and adapt to climate change. A new book co-authored by Adina Merenlender, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, shows how Californians are working together across diverse communities and landscapes to improve resilience and address climate justice.
“The climate leaders profiled in this book are inspirational,” said Wade Crowfoot, California's Natural Resources secretary, in his review of “Climate Stewardship: Taking Collective Action to Protect California.”
“Their stories reflect the diversity of California's people and landscapes and show the power of collective action to create change,” he wrote. “They also reveal our profound connection with nature and with one another, and the power of nature-based solutions to address the climate crisis. Perhaps most importantly, this wonderful book reminds us of what we are capable of as individuals to improve the future of our planet and people.”
Published by UC Press, “Climate Stewardship” will be required reading for participants of the UC Climate Stewards certification course, but it isn't a textbook. The book is a collection of personal stories of individuals who are striving to improve climate resilience.
“The stories, many gathered through UC Cooperative Extension efforts, show what everyday people can do together to improve community resilience across agricultural, natural and urban landscapes,” Merenlender said. “‘Climate Stewardship' also offers an uplifting way to learn about climate science that is most relevant for California's communities and ecosystems.”
Michael Yang, UC Cooperative Extension small farms and specialty crops agricultural assistant, works with Hmong farmers in Fresno County, such as the Tchieng family, to advance climate-smart agriculture. In the book, Ka Tchieng, whose family grows vegetables, wrote about how they are adapting their farming practices to climate change. "My parents, Siong and Fong Tchieng, are picking green bell, purple bell and sweet Italian peppers. The shade is to help prevent sunburn on the peppers during the hot summer in Fresno,” he wrote.
While the book is research-based, it is written for a general audience, Merenlender said.
“It is written in narrative form with stories meant to showcase what can be done and some relevant climate science is woven throughout,” she said. “For this reason, it is meant to be of interest to a wide California audience.”
The book is illustrated with original paintings by Obi Kaufmann, author of “The California Field Atlas,” and co-authored by Brendan Buhler, an award-winning science writer.
For more information about the book, see the California Naturalist blog at http://calnat.ucanr.edu/cs/Climate_Stewardship. To buy the book from UC Press, visit https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520378940/climate-stewardship.