News

CEC Launches #EarthDayEveryday Campaign

Earth Day Everyday

The Community Environmental Council’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival is always a wonderful and inspiring time for the community to come together for the good of the planet. #Earth Day —Every Day is a way to take that momentum and transform it into everyday actions by setting goals to sustain that motivation throughout the year. Research has found that setting goals and making commitments help trigger new behaviors, help guide your focus and help you sustain that momentum and excitement you feel right now. In honor of Earth Day 2021, the CEC has come up with 21 actions with the idea that we can all do our part to help restore our planet in some way.

Spotting Cows From Space

Cow photo istock
Researchers use satellite imagery to track interactions between cows and elk at the interface of wildland and rangeland. All of the rather comical cow counting had a serious purpose, though: to measure the interactions between wildlife and livestock where their ranges meet or overlap. Roughly a third of the United States’ land cover is rangeland, and where these grazing areas abut wildland, concerns over predation, competition and disease transmission are bound to arise. Such is the case at Point Reyes National Seashore, a picturesque combination of coastal bluffs and pastureland about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. As part of a statewide species restoration plan, native tule elk were reintroduced to the park’s designated wilderness area in the 1990s, but they didn’t stay in their little corner of paradise for very long.

CEC’s Earth Day 2021

Earth Day 2021

Fifty years ago, Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council (CEC) gathered like-minded citizens who wanted to have a rapid impact on protecting the environment, and began taking bold action every day toward environmental solutions. Today it has grown from its fledgling state to encompass a budget of $2.5 million. CEC is in growth mode as it implements a five-year strategic plan that increases their programmatic reach throughout the Central Coast. This year, like last year, Earth Day will be a virtual event due to the challenges of the pandemic. Last year some 40,000 viewers enjoyed the featured speakers, music and conversations. Even more people are expected to join in for this year’s celebration.

California’s Central Coast Welcomes First Gray Wolf in Over 100 Years

Wolf

A young male gray wolf who broke from his Oregon pack in search of new territory and a mate has made his way all the way to California’s Central Coast, marking the first time in more than a century that the species has been detected here. In an epic journey that took around two months, the wolf ― known as OR-93 and fitted with a radio collar ― traveled 600 long miles and crossed at least two busy highways to reach San Luis Obispo County on April 6. Experts say if OR-93 continues his southeast trajectory through the Los Padres National Forest, he could enter Santa Barbara County in a matter of days.

Following Widespread Die-offs, Researchers Investigate the Dangers Droughts Pose to Oaks

Valley Oak

“In some parts, particularly the southern parts of this range, and on the southern foothills of the Sierra, [blue oaks] actually suffered from pretty extensive mortality due to that major, major drought,” Leander Anderegg, an assistant professor in the UCSB Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology said in an interview with the Nexus. In sites north of Santa Maria, for instance, 50% to 80% of the oaks on the landscape died. “For a blue oak that can live hundreds of years, seeing 50% of them die off in three years is pretty concerning. And so this has raised the specter for all of us like, ‘Oh, how vulnerable are oaks to climate change?’ Is this the Ghost of Christmas Future that we’re seeing?” Spurred by the mortality they were observing, Anderegg and his collaborators at UC Berkeley, the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres and the University of Bordeaux have since studied oaks across the west in North America, hoping to understand the resilience that the trees have to drought from the evolutionary and hydraulic perspective.

Crunching on Coral

Mo’orea

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have found that young corals are quite vulnerable to these predators, regardless of whether a colony finds itself alone on the reef or surrounded by others of its kind. The research, led by doctoral student Kai Kopecky, appears in the journal Coral Reefs. Kopecky and his co-authors were curious how corals can reemerge following large disturbances like cyclones and marine heatwaves, which periodically devastate the reefs of Mo’orea, French Polynesia, where the research was conducted.

The Nature of Ownership

Mine!

From the sandbox to the skies above, ownership is everywhere, even if you don’t see it. In their new book, Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives, James Salzman, a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and co-author Michael Heller of Columbia Law School take an in-depth look at how we define ownership — and how it’s defined for us — and the various ways people lay claim to things. In a conversation with The Current, Salzman shared some insights into the ways conflicts around ownership impact our lives and how we can navigate them.

Reflections from the Future of Synthesis in Ecology and Environmental Science Workshop Demonstrate Opportunity to Increase Diversity and Inclusion in Synthesis

NCEAS

There is never a bad time to think about the future, but the past year has certainly given us an inflection point for careful forward-looking consideration of many things. NCEAS has been looking to the future of synthesis and ecology, of course. In February, NCEAS hosted – virtually – the Future of Synthesis in Ecology and Environmental Science Workshop, which brought together 125 synthesis-oriented researchers from around the world to think big about the pressing questions that synthesis should tackle in the next decade. It was originally planned to be in person and in 2020, in celebration of NCEAS’ 25th anniversary. As you might guess, the COVID pandemic forced the delay and the shift to virtual.

Global Assessment of Cumulative Human Impacts to At-risk Marine Species Over Time

marine-biodiversity-istock_0.jpg

Despite the fact that our planet is mostly ocean and human maritime activity is more intense than it has ever been, we know remarkably little about the state of the ocean's biodiversity -- the variety and balance of species that support healthy and productive ecosystems. And it's no surprise -- marine biodiversity is complex, human impacts are uneven, and species respond differently to different stressors.

Earth Day Organizers to Honor Greenpeace USA's Annie Leonard as 2021 Environmental Hero Award

CEC Annie Leonard

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) proudly announces Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, as the recipient of its 2021 Environmental Hero Award, presented as part of CEC’s Virtual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival being held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 22-24. The free festival is available to view at SBEarthDay.org.