- Author: Wendy Powers
The widespread evacuations and associated air quality have certainly added to already challenging times. I know many across the state have ‘go bags' ready and are anxious about what every hour brings. Others have had to evacuate. And some of our UC ANR family have suffered significant losses. Fortunately, some had a brief, but welcomed, rain Sunday night/early Monday morning. In my part of the state, the rain arrived Monday night. This unusual August event brings me great hope!
Members of UC ANR have actively engaged in assisting those negatively impacted by the fires. JoLynn Miller (@JoLynn_Miller) has been busy volunteering with a non-profit in response to the fires. She's been picking up donkeys, chickens, pigs, and alpacas and finding temporary homes for them. Thanks, JoLynn! Scott Stephens was on KQED talking about the need for a fire extension program statewide. Yana, Scott, and Lenya have been working hard to secure new resources to do exactly that - expand the network of UC ANR fire resources that are desperately needed. Let's all send good thoughts to them for their success.
In the good news department, it sounds like Kamal has secured an increase in CalFresh support for programming in Los Angeles and Sacramento Counties! Kamal's near $1M success will make a huge difference for families in those counties. Congratulations to Kamal and the entire nutrition program!
The Department of Pesticide Regulation has made research awards to three UC researchers, including Mark Hoddle and David Haviland, whose research teams were each awarded $500,000 to study chlorpyrifos alternatives. Excellent work, and good luck carrying out the research objectives. Let's hope the researchers identify sound chlorpyrifos alternatives!
Mark Bell found and shared this article that outlines the history of the Cooperative Extension System (CES) and the modern-day relevance of CES in meeting community needs, noting the method of distribution for federal funds among states. An interesting read if you aren't familiar with the CES background.
I read an interesting article in Nature that has me thinking about what we can do to ensure that those across UC ANR who conduct our essential work, feel safe doing so. We want to do all that we can to encourage science and Extension as career options for youth. I suspect the article triggered, in part, other thoughts.
As I watched the ash floating in my pool, just shortly after the filter had ceased its morning cycle, I realized that I am angry. My anger stems from the COVID environment that has me homebound for months, unable to travel and see our programs in action, watching the impact of limited socialization on others, all while some have no concern about the risks they impose. Compounding the quarantine is the election circus, coupled with law enforcement behavior that ceases to learn any lessons, the long-run economic impact of the pandemic and the toll that will take on getting our important work out to those who need it most, and now the fires. I don't know anyone who has tested positive for COVID, lost their job due to the pandemic, or lost their home due to the recent fires. I can go for a walk without worry that my skin color puts me in danger. Yet, I want to scream, "Give us a break!" When I boil it down, the anger is due to helplessness, that I cannot 'fix it' for those who check any of the boxes for the conditions I outlined above. I can't even imagine how difficult life is right now for so many, many people and I feel for all. The situation weighs heavily, even on those who are not directly impacted.
I won't scream, because it won't get the work done. Work that continues, by all of us, to the benefit of all California. A thick haze won't stop us.