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The Politics of Fracking

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 22 September 2012

I got a call last night from the ABC national office to talk about fracking, and the upcoming GlobalFrackdown planned for September 22, 2012. This media contact comes on the heels of an earlier interview from the Associated Press, where they were asking me about the psychology of perceptions regarding fracking. The ABC reporter was interested in a much wider range of issues, including some thoughts about the environmental effects of fracking. I know a little about some of the physical and natural sciences involved, but I needed to do some homework. What follows are some facts, some uncertainties, some analysis, and some opinions about fracking.

California Levees: The Bureaucratic Politics of Risk

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 24 August 2012

Interesting news today about the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to declare that many of the levees in the Sacramento region fail to meet maintenance standards. As a result, the Army Corp may decertify the levees as meeting the 100-year flood protection standards, forcing many homeowners in the area to purchase expensive flood insurance ($1200 per year!) and limiting federal funding for rebuilding in the wake of a flood. Not only does this case have important implications for Sacramento, which has one of the highest flood risks in the country, but it also illustrates a number of recurring issues in the bureaucratic politics of risk with respect to flood management.

Solving Global Water Problems: Hydrological Science is Not Enough

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 09 July 2012

Jay Famiglietti of UC Irvine just posted a blog at National Geographic's Water Currents, calling for greater investment in hydrological science in order to better understand current and future water supplies and demand. Much of Jay's recommendations focuses on better data availability and computer models for hydrological processes. He also acknowledges a need for technology transfer to decision-makers and communication to the general public. I absolutey agree with all of these points. But it is not enough to solve the water problems in the US or globally.

"We have structure-to-structure ignition": When Climate Change Hits Home

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 26 June 2012

Updating now at 10:26pm Pacific Time. There is only so much you can take before you need a break.

This is climate change.

It is 7:26pm Pacific Time on June 26, 2012. I'm watching a live video feed of the Waldo Canyon Fire barelling towards my parent's house in Colorado Springs, CO. It is quite possible that by the time I finish this blog post, their home could be on fire. They had to endure gridlock to make it to a friend's house. I grew up in this neighborhood, and already several landmarks are gone. This will be the largest natural disaster in Colorado history most likley...unless something worse happens before the fire season is over (it is only June).

So what can we learn about climate change from a disaster like this?

Research Review: Disentangling intangible social–ecological systems, by Orjan Bodin and Maria Tengo

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 18 May 2012

Today for lab meeting the CEPB crew is reading Orjan Bodin and Maria Tengo's excellent new paper "Disentangling Intangible Social-Ecological Systems". These two scholars have been international leaders in developing theoretical and empirical approaches to studying social-ecological systems (SES). In my opinion, the concept of SES is one of the most important ideas for furthering our understanding of environmental governance and policy, and how social decisions link to environmental outcomes.

Entering the blogosphere

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 25 February 2012

Not everybody reads university sponsored blogs. So I've opened a public blogosphere version of CEPB. We'll see how this works!
http://ucdavisenvironmentalpolicy.wordpress.com/

Most People in California are Clueless on the Delta

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 04 February 2012

Well, I'm stuck on a 7 hour layover at the Houston airport, en route back to California after giving talks on water governance at both Duke and University of Michigan. Both of these were very fun visits. So, after reviewing an interesting paper on IRWM in Southern California, I was browsing Aquafornia and came upon a story for this really interesting survey conducted by Probolsky Associates, I think paid for by the Southern California Water Committee.

Whiskey is for drinking, water is for cooperation

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 09 January 2012

I hereby call for a ban on using "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over" to describe California (or any other) water politics. Instead, I suggest we use the phrase "whiskey is for drinking, water is for cooperation".

Now why would I possibly suggest discontinuing the use of such a colorful quote, from such a colorful historical figure as Mark Twain?

First, Mark Twain didn't say it. Or at least nobody can confirm that he said it. So really the quote is an urban legend that everybody seems to believe. For historical accuracy alone, it shouldn't be used.

Four Anecdotes about Sustainable Viticulture in Napa Valley

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 05 December 2011

The sustainable viticulture team visited Napa Valley last week to seek wisdom from our advisory council about the design of our study, and present some initial findings at the Green Wine Summit. During the course of the day, I heard some of the most interesting anecdotes about social networks and sustainable agriculture that I've yet encountered:

Environmental Policy Lab Occupy Desolation Wilderness

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 23 October 2011

Question: What has 16 legs, can hike 14 miles, and likes to throw snowballs? Answer: The Fall 2012 lab hiking trip at the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior! For this trip we went to the Ralston Peak trail in the Desolation Wilderness, which is jointly managed by the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. The picture was taken at the beautiful Lake of the Woods, after a well-earned lakeside nap on an outcropping of Sierra granite. On the pass over into the lake basin, we hiked over the remnants of an early snowstorm and had a very nice view of Lake Tahoe. Our group likes to get outside to renew one of our inspirations for studying environmental policy.

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