Climate change Leadership Stories

This in-depth conversation with Dr. Orona (Hupa, Hoopa Valley Tribe) on the Cal Ag Roots WELL podcast digs into the concept and practice of the Landback movement in California, including the deep history of Native resistance in the state. It also explores Brittani’s background and move to her new role at San Diego State University.Read more >
As a child José regularly visited family in Mexico, where they had abundant natural space to explore, but he was disappointed in the lack of safe parks to play in when he would return to Los Angeles. As a community organizer, he saw the value of quality greenspace to working class communities. These experiences ultimately led him to pursue a career as a landscape architect working to advance park equity.Read more >
Combining her drive for sustainability, innovation, and diversity, Janelle Heslop leads a $1B project to drive impact in operations. “I don't dream about jobs. I dream about impact,” Heslop says. “I want to manage, run, lead projects that are having a meaningful impact in the world, making it prepared for future challenges like climate change, leveraging emerging ideas and innovation to create a healthier, more equitable society.”Read more >
In early March, a life-sized statue of Switzer Fellow Dr. Kimberley Miner was stationed at the Smithsonian along with more than 120 IF/THEN® Women in STEM Ambassadors. In honor of Women’s History Month, we spoke with Kimberley about her experience inspiring future leaders in STEM and what she’s been working on lately as a climate scientist at NASA.Read more >
At a time when much attention is on rising sea levels and extreme weather events, Jisung Park eagerly took on the challenge of developing a greater understanding of the correlation between long-term economic vitality and rising temperatures due to global warming.Read more >
Climate change adaptation “isn’t something government is going to be able to solve alone,” says Amber Pairis. “We need to engage people in this conversation in a meaningful way. The rubber really meets the road on the ground in your community,” she adds. “And that is where change will happen”.Read more >
Brad Keitt (1997) has already been working to prevent extinctions caused by non-native species introduced to islands for decades. His non-profit, Island Conservation, prevents extinctions of native species by removing invasive species from islands. But the challenge of climate change has Keitt rethinking how his organization plans its projects and communicates about them.Read more >
Brenda Zollitsch (2009), whose work as a policy analyst at the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) is partially funded by a Switzer Leadership Grant, says one underappreciated challenge in addressing wetland loss is a chasm between the management of these issues between programs.Read more >
We have a number of Fellows leading in Sonoma County, working to understand the impacts of climate change at a micro level and develop solutions to improve local resiliency to climate change impacts that could be rolled out nationally.Read more >
Marine ecosystems can take thousands, rather than hundreds, of years to recover from climate-related upheavals. 2013 Fellow Sarah Moffitt examined fossilized fauna on the seafloor to chart the changes. "There’s not a recovery we have to look forward to in my lifetime or my grandchildren's lifetime. It’s a gritty reality we need to face as scientists and people who care about the natural world and who make decisions about the natural world," she says.Read more >

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