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Drought, Fire, and Flood: Climate Change and Our New Normal
April 25, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Community Town Hall – Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 7:00 PM, The Granada Theatre
There is no question that the frequency and ferocity of severe weather phenomena experienced globally, nationally, and most recently locally, are the result of increasingly rapid climate change. Worse, as global warming continues to progress, the events we are seeing and experiencing now represent only the beginning stages of a “new normal” that will increasingly worsen in the coming years and decades.
It is essential and urgent that we begin to squarely confront the potential impacts of climate change on human lives in our community by asking how we can improve our readiness and response to those impacts, and what this new reality requires for both policy and practice to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure, our businesses, our homes, our community, and our region.
To advance this community conversation in as broad and visible a way as possible, the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, the Community Environmental Council (CEC), the Santa Barbara Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History invite community leaders and members from the greater Santa Barbara region to a town hall event generously hosted by the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts at the Granada Theatre on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 PM.
The town hall will be emceed by UCSB Bren School Dean Steven Gaines. To provide updates on the latest data and research, four experts affiliated with the UCSB Bren School will give TED style “flash talks”: Dr. Max Moriz (wildfires), Dr. Edward Keller (debris flows), Dr. Naomi Tague (climate modeling), and Dr. Sarah Anderson (environmental politics).
The keynote speaker, former FEMA Director James Lee Witt, will share his experience managing more than 350 disasters during his tenure under the Clinton administration.
The event will conclude with a panel discussion and public Q&A moderated by CEC CEO/Executive Director Sigrid Wright. The panel will feature recently retired Santa Barbara Fire Chief Pat McElroy, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams, and Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) Executive Director Maricela Morales.
The public is invited to submit questions before the event via Twitter using #droughtfirefloodSB or in The Granada Theatre lobby when the doors open at 6:00 PM.
Dr. Steven Gaines‘s research focuses on marine ecology and conservation, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the design of marine reserves, and the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems. Professor Gaines currently is the Dean of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. He has served as Director of the UC Santa Barbara Marine Science Institute.
Dr. Max Moritz is a statewide wildfire specialist within UC Cooperative Extension, and has been faculty at UC Berkeley for the past 13 years. Much of his research is focused on understanding the dynamics of fire regimes at relatively broad scales and applying this information to planning and management of fire-prone landscapes. He has used a number of different spatial approaches to quantitative analyses of fire history patterns, stemming from his early work on chaparral shrublands in the Santa Barbara region.
Dr. Edward Keller is a Professor in the UCSB Department of Earth Science and the Department of Environmental Studies, as well as an Affiliated Faculty Member of the Department of Geography. His research efforts are divided into two areas of surface processes: 1) study of stream and river form and process and 2) studies of Quaternary stratigraphy and tectonics as they relate to earthquake hazard, landslides, active folding, and mountain building.
Dr. Christina (Naomi) Tague is an Associate Professor in the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Her research interests include studying interactions between hydrology and ecosystem processes and exploring how eco-hydrologic systems are altered by climate and land use change.
Dr. Sarah Anderson is an Associate Professor at the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. She has three main research agendas: 1) the role of political parties in influencing policy outcomes; 2) the effect of bureaucratic delegation on policy implementation; and 3) the mobilization of the public for environmental action. Her current research focuses on how the public drives agencies’ wildfire prevention and why legislators do not compromise.
James Lee Witt is a former White House cabinet member and Director of FEMA. He currently serves as senior advisor to fortune 500 companies and government leaders around the world. He recently provided strategic counsel to the top European executives of a major multi-national corporation. He is recognized for his leadership and expertise in business continuity as well as crisis and emergency management.
Sigrid Wright is CEO/Executive Director of the Community Environmental Council — a nonprofit focused on regional solutions to climate change. She is a co-founder of the Central Coast Climate Collaborative, co-author of the Santa Barbara County Regional Energy Blueprint, on the executive team of the countywide Food Action Plan, and a member of the national Carbon Farming Innovation Network.
Pat McElroy moved to Santa Barbara in 1971 to attend UC Santa Barbara and began working with the U.S. Forest Service just five years later. In 1981, he was hired by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and promoted to captain nine years later. He became a Battalion Chief in 2008, Operations Division Chief in 2011, and Fire Chief in 2013. He retired as Fire Chief in March 2018.
Supervisor Das Williams was elected to represent the First District of Santa Barbara County in June 2016. Williams previously represented the area, along with over half of Santa Barbara County and a quarter of Ventura County in the California State Assembly from 2010-2016. Prior to his service in the Assembly, Williams served 7 years on the Santa Barbara City Council from 2003-2010 and as a trustee for Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara.
Maricela Morales began her work with the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) as a volunteer with the Ventura County Living Wage Coalition. She joined as staff in 2001, the same year CAUSE began and obtained its 501(c)3 status. Since 2001, Morales has worked on a variety of issues ranging from living wage, health coverage for the uninsured, women’s economic justice, green economy, and local hire projects.