UCSC’s seventh annual Confronting Climate Change Conference will focus on the complex problems and solutions relating to the consequences of climate change for food security. This free public event, to be held virtually this year, will take place April 28-29.
The first day will feature a panel discussion of two short films by the university’s Social Documentation MFA program. The films, El Cacao and Open Line, both focus on food security and Indigenous cultures and will be available for on-demand viewing before the conference.
The following day will bring together panelists from diverse backgrounds—academics, nonprofit workers, climate scientists and sociologists alike—to discuss their expertise related to the pressing environmental challenge of adapting food systems in the face of climate change. They include UCSC Economics Professor Galina Hale and UCSC Assistant Professor of Sociology Naya Jones.
As a result of climate change, scientists predict widespread and concerning impacts. These include changing global temperatures and precipitation, as well as increased extreme weather events like floods and wildfires. Because many agricultural crops are sensitive to variations in climate, these changes will dramatically impact food production.
“We all eat!” says UCSC Professor of Environmental Studies and moderator of the panel discussion Stacy Philpott when asked about the event’s importance. “Climate change is our largest impending environmental problem. This conference will let us hear from people discussing not just the problems, but also the creative solutions.”
Philpott hopes that the conference will provide an educational space to talk about what can sometimes be a controversial subject in the media.
“Even though climate change is among the top things in [President] Biden’s agenda, a lot of what we hear about on the news is, ‘Is climate change real?” says Philpott. “For our panel, our goal is to move far beyond that and get into thinking about how climate change is going to impact society, food production and food security so that we can better prepare to confront these impending challenges.”
She looks forward to listening to what the speakers have to say as they each focus on the issue from slightly different angles.