Op-Ed Pitch Thread

icarbone Says:
November 22nd, 2011 at 12:35 am edit

The occupy movements have empowered a growing community to push for significant societal change. This change need not be confined to Wall Street. The OWS movement should inspire us all to reclaim science, technology, and the health of the natural world. The fearless abandon that protesters are exhibiting across the country can be our greatest asset in movement away from fossil fuels and towards renewable alternatives in the United States. This article will encourage the Bay area to continue building a community, and to extend the occupy movement to the greatest political and environmental threats that the global community faces.

As a physics graduate student in the University of California, Santa Cruz, I am currently researching next-generation solar energy technologies. As a Science and Justice Fellow, I am also working towards making these technologies accessible to small scale farmers in order to promote more sustainable food systems. In addition I have myself invested time and energy, occupying outside the Santa Cruz Courthouse.
koverstreet Says:
November 22nd, 2011 at 12:57 am edit

America’s Dairyland is on the verge of a profound demographic shift that has major implications for land use, property structures, the Wisconsin economy, and farmer livelihoods. As a graduate student in anthropology, conducting dissertation fieldwork with dairy farmers and other agricultural experts in south-central Wisconsin, I am surprised by the dearth of discussion about the fact that the average age of farmers in this area is in the late fifties. This means that a majority of the farmers currently operating small and medium-scale dairies will be retiring or drastically scaling back their operations within the next 10 years. The effects of these changes may contribute to furthering current trends toward farming as a corporate enterprise and the consolidation of market power into the hands of the few. Further, this kind of consolidation will have important consequences for food safety, animal welfare, and the ability of farmers to maintain their livelihoods. This article makes a case for finding ways to talk across ideological differences in farming practices in order to strengthen the ability of small- and medium-scale farmers to engage their communities and their children in the work of farming, and hopefully to continue training the next generations of farmers.
Kathleen Uzilov Says:
November 22nd, 2011 at 8:39 am edit

Every season it seems whatever weather phenomena is currently happening gets tossed around in the media (and elsewhere) as either proof for or against the existence of anthropogenic climate change, often with little if any scientific backing. Heavy snowstorms in winter are seen as refuting the possibility; while heat waves and droughts are claimed as indisputable proof that global warming is underway. This back and forth is not only unproductive, but also extremely confusing to the general public, who can’t be blamed for having difficulty believing either side. Yet the potential for impacts of climate change is indeed real, and are likely more complex than the simple term ‘global warming’ suggests. These impacts need to be studied thoroughly, and scientific results communicated clearly to the public, especially those in the regions of interest.
One such region with its own distinct meteorological feature that could be impacted by climate change is the Great Lakes area and its heavy lake-effect snow events. I am a PhD candidate with experience using a regional climate model to investigate area-specific climate change impacts, and I have performed a study looking at how lake-effect snow events can be expected to change in that region, with particular emphasis on the Lake Erie Snowbelt. With another winter just around the corner, it seems a relevant time to inform your readers of the results of my study and what it predicts Buffalo residents can expect in terms of lake-effect snow events in the future.
choag Says:
November 22nd, 2011 at 1:04 pm edit

Dear editor [of some kind of smart, left-leaning California-based publication],
I am a fellow with the Science and Justice Training Program at UC Santa Cruz, where I research the social and environmental impacts of water diversion. I am currently authoring an op-ed piece on whether “virtual water” can be used to reduce water consumption in California. Virtual water is a tool devised by economists to measure how much water is used to produce manufactured, agricultural, and other goods. Prominent environmental advocates such as X have put forward the idea that virtual water labels could be used to help consumers minimize their “water footprint.” My article presents an important counter-perspective. I suggest that virtual water does not address what Marx called the “commodity fetish,” as some have said, but rather intensifies it. Instead, I propose that…

The recent court hearings to decide how and whether to save the Salton Sea present an important opportunity for Californians to discuss the effects of our water consumption practices. As a long-time subscriber to your publication, I know that environmental issues are important to your readers. Please let me know if you think that such an article would be of interest to you.

Posted in Research Blog, Uncategorized.

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