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I spent all day Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday at the conference for Integrated Regional Water Management Planning sponsored by the Water Education Foundation . I was invited to participate as a panelist on the future of IRWMP in California, in particular what criteria we should use to evaluate success. The invitation was stimulated by a paper that I wrote on a pilot study of the Bay Area IRWMP, which pointed out the challenges of IRWMP and suggested that the Bay Area had only made incremental changes from water politics as usual.
Should California have a Water Czar? Everybody would agree that California water management is complex and chaotic with many different actors making decisions in many different policy venues, often ignoring how their welfare is interdependent, and therefore missing out on opportunities for mutual gains and avoiding mutual costs. For the last two decades in California, along with many other places in the US and internationally, the solution to this chaos was the implementation of collaborative watershed management, or integrated regional water management, or whatever synonym you prefer. The theory is that by getting all the stakeholders together to jointly make water management decisions, they are able to recognize interdependence and make mutually benficial decisions. "Getting better together", "the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the longest time", "co-equal goals", and all that.
Our paper "Integrated Regional Water Management: A Study of Collaboration or Politics as Usual in California, USA" has been published in the International Review of Administrative Sciences. The data is from a pilot study of the Bay Area IRWM, and was written to introduce an international audience to what is happening in California and the type of research happening at CEPB. Although the data is only from one program, the overall discussion of theory behind IRWM is probably our most comprehensive to date. Here is a link: http://ras.sagepub.com/content/current
I'm currently staying in Fremantle (Freo), which is a little suburb of Perth in Western Australia. I'm here to work on designing a study of regional climate adaptation in the Swan-Canning watershed (here is a nice link to the Water Corporation's "Water Forever" program focused on the Perth region: http://www.thinking50.com.au/go/water-forever-home). I'm partnering with the CSIRO climate adaptation flagship (http://www.csiro.au/org/ClimateAdaptationFlagship.html), and Garry Robbins from University of Melbourne.
I recently responded to a broadcast call from the US Environmental Protection Agency to provide input into the shape of their social and behavioral science research agenda. I just finished an interview with the consultant they hired to gather input. The interview was conducted by a general environmental consultant firm under contract with EPA. It consisted of a few semi-structured interview questions that were very general, for example "what are the most important questions studied by social and behavioral sciences?" So one answer to that question that is basically useless is "how do humans behave?" There we some more focused questions though, for example what are the top 5 environmental problems facing the globe that EPA should be studying and how should social and behavioral sciences be involved.
The first in our series of newsletters featuring articles and commentary from the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior.
(Originally published on Grist)
This week I’ve been attending the 3rd annual Governor’s Global Climate Summit at UC Davis, where I am a PhD student in Ecology. With only a month and a few days left until Arnold finishes his term as governor of “the great state of California” as he calls it, he’s pulled out all the stops to be sure that his legacy of climate work is remembered. But perhaps more interesting has been the undertone of the conference: recognizing the co-benefits to other areas when we address climate change.
Like many other environmental health issues, understanding childhood lead exposure involves land use history, politics, and the global economy. In a panel on childhood lead poisoning, we aim to synthesize the science behind lead’s distribution in the environment, the individual and societal implications of lead exposure in childhood, and barriers and opportunities to reducing lead exposure rates in the future. The panel is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday April 6th at 4 pm at the UC Center Sacramento-1130 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Lead poisoning continues to be a health threat despite efforts by the public health community to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by the year 2010. The removal of lead from consumer products, such as paint and gasoline, resulted in dramatic declines in the average blood lead levels of children. However, lead persists in the environment and is present in older homes and the surrounding soils. In addition, the burden of elevated blood lead levels is not equally distributed. Some urban communities demonstrate lead poisoning levels of 15-20% while the national average is below 2%.
Four panelists, representing public health science, urban ecology, policy makers, and grassroots organization active in California, will to discuss policy, science and community action on lead poisoning. The panel is open to the public and will include lots of opportunities for audience participation.
We're ramping up our outreach efforts at CEPB, including connecting to various media organizations. One of our favorite newspapers is High Country News, where former CEPB affiliate Stephanie Ogburn is now a reporter. She has connected us via our new RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook. Here are the posts:
We hope to keep spreading knowledge through these types of networks.
We are pleased to announce the release of the policy report (see attached file below)on the South Coast Regional Stakeholder Group associated with the Marine Life Protection Act. The report was prepared by J. Michael Harty, with survey research consulting done by the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior. This is a good example of how academic research skills can be usefully combined with practioner knowledge and expertise. We may be expanding this effort to the North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group.