Message from the Director, Mark Lubell

The mission of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior (CEPB) is scientific analysis of the interactions among policy institutions, human behavior, and political decisions in the context of environmental and natural resource conflicts. Through developing and testing theoretical models from social science, CEPB seeks to derive practical lessons that can be used to improve environmental policy.

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Dispatch: Bridging the Gap--Foodies vs. Food Justice

By Kelly Garbach - Posted on 04 January 2011

An interesting pair of articles on sustainable food systems recently circulated on the UC Davis Sustainable Ag list-serve. The first, produced by National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, showcased apps for smartphones that can build any layperson into a bona fide foodie by telling the user what’s in season and where to find a local farmers market, or how to incorporate leftovers into a gourmet meal ( http://www.npr.org/2010/12/12/132009213/food-apps-for-foodies-to-drool-over ). The second article, published the November 22 issue of Newsweek, discussed how food is becoming an important marker of class in the United States. Journalist Lisa Miller took readers on a journey through several kitchens and markets around the country ( http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/22/what-food-says-about-class-in-america... ).

Dispatch: GIS and social networks in tree-level monitoring of carbon sequestration

By Matthew Hamilton - Posted on 21 December 2010

I had a chance to meet with staff of The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST) last week. The group was kicking off a new program in Honduras, modeled after their successful activities in Tanzania, India, Uganda and Kenya. In a nutshell, TIST works to increase environmental quality in subsistence farming communities by establishing payment schemes (through Greenhouse Gas Sales) to land owners who plant and maintain tree groves.

Policy Perspective: Is Non-Point Source Pollution a Myth?

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 01 December 2010

I've just returned from a trip to Washington DC for a project on social network analysis as a tool for monitoring and evaluation of international development projects. While I was there, I met with a friend of mine at USDA who focuses on developing markets for ecosystem services for agriculture. Like other payment schemes, such markets would provide farmers credit for environmental performance such as carbon sequestration. We debated about whether markets would be better than regulation for non-point source pollution.

This discussion gave me an opportunity to vent on the topic of non-point source pollution. For the most part, non-point source pollution is the third rail of water management and environmental policy. In contrast to point sources (end-of-pipe) such as industrial effluent and sewage treatment plants, non-point sources are diffuse and multiple. The classic examples are runoff from farms, and urban runoff from construction sites or lawns.

Dispatch: Climate Change Co-Benefits: New Opportunities for Policy?

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 16 November 2010

(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.

Dispatch: Lead 2010- Childhood exposure to lead

By Bethany Cutts - Posted on 16 November 2010

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.

Meet the wiki: SNA in R

By Bethany Cutts - Posted on 15 November 2010

Vicken, Matt Hamilton, and I met this morning as part of an ad hoc R support group. We decided that we'd start a wiki (hosted on a UC Davis SmartSite called "SNA in R" ) to adapt Hanneman and Riddle's online book about using UCINET to learn R, share code, and create a product that will be of use to people beyond the three of us.

Research Review: Bodin and Crona's Management of Natural Resources at the Community Level

By Bethany Cutts - Posted on 12 November 2010

Research Review: Bodin and Crona, 2008. Management of Natural Resources as the Community Level: Exploring the Role of Social Capital and Leadership in a Rural Fishing Community. World Development 26(12) 2763-2779.

Links to our work: When I read this article, I thought immediately of Chantelise and her project on groundwater management in Baja and Sonoma County wine regions. I also thought of the grant I recently submitted with colleagues at the University of Alaska’s Institute for Social and Economic Research. I think both Chantelise and I are involved in research that answers Bodin and Crona’s call for more comparative work on collective management of natural resources in natural resource dependent communities.

Dispatch: Agriculture, Flood Management, and Cooperation

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 09 November 2010

I went on a field trip today as part of the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute's "National Symposium on Food and Sustainability." I was in a group focused on "resiliency", and we were paired with three general managers from local reclamation districts. Reclamation Districts are relatively unknown to most people, but they are local special district governments responsible for flood control, drainage, and irrigation. They have a long history of providing local public goods to agricultural landowners in California, with many of them dating back to the late 19th century.

Dispatch: Managing Water Without People?

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 05 November 2010

Can you manage water without thinking about people? I went to an eye-opening meeting between UC Davis researchers and many program managers at the California Department of Water Resources. DWR is the main state agency responsible for water supply infrastructure, and they are heavily based in the civil engineering profession. They are also responsible for publishing the California State Water Plan. The meeting was about funding research at UC Davis to help DWR make decisions and do water planning. Among the materials provided at the meeting was a big wish list of projects that UCD researchers might get involved with.

Lab trip to Russell Ranch

By Bethany Cutts - Posted on 01 November 2010

It was a cold and blustery Friday afternoon, but discussion about Russell Ranch as a leading site for social-ecological research on agriculture and agricultural policy proved envigorating. Here are a few pictures from the day. I think the bleak weather comes across very clearly. Thanks to Meredith et al. for organizing. I can't wait for the barn dance poster session.

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