Sierra CAMP, a program of Sierra Business Council, is currently undertaking a regional vulnerability assessment to examine how Sierra Nevada communities will be affected by projected climate changes. We have already seen the massive impact that climate change can have in its multiple forms on our communities in the mountains.
Over the course of the last year, the impact of COVID-19 has snowballed into a deep recession and shifted the course of life as we know it. Over the course of the last year, the impact of COVID-19 has snowballed into a deep recession and shifted the course of life as we know it.
Did you know that approximately 20% of California’s land — a total of 31,250 square miles— is managed by the U.S. Forest Service? For the Sierra Nevada region served by SBC, the share of Forest Service land reaches nearly 90% in places such as Alpine County.
I’m wearing my RBG T-shirt and staring at my RBG action figure, gifts from my daughter, a true social justice warrior. Like me, she was raised to revere and honor women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It is a family tradition that follows at least four generations that I know of and we hold closely a favorite RBG quote, “What is the difference between a bookkeeper in the Garment District and a Supreme Court justice? … One generation.”
I entered college knowing I would major in environmental studies. This interest in the environment was the constant in my ever-changing adolescence (and involved many phases, including when I only wore green, yikes!) and it helped direct me when I arrived on campus as one of the 45,000 students at the University of Washington. I started taking environmental classes right off the bat and didn’t have to flounder around, searching for some deep unstoked passion. It was already there.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I have grown up with the luxury of beautiful mountains, trails, rivers, and beaches. I spent most of my free time recreating outdoors and waited for any opportunity to venture to new places. Studying the environment seemed like an extension of the things I love. I could learn about the birds, trees, and rocks that I saw. I could learn about the tides and the rivers that I know. I could become an expert on my home.
I’ve had a number of sleepless nights over the past few weeks. You might think it’s because of the COVID crisis, or the financial melt-down in our small Sierra towns, or the fires that are literally burning up the state right now. And you’d be right. But underlying all of that is the head-shaking, eye-popping, foot-stomping, heart-wrenching fact that our leaders don’t lead.
Outside of my role on SBC’s Climate and Energy team, I am also a small business owner and actively involved in the fiber arts community of the Sierra Nevada, designing knitting patterns and working with locally produced yarn. Over the years my two worlds – climate planning and knitting – have become increasingly intertwined, thanks to a concept called FIbershed.
This old saying perfectly describes my realization of how special the Independence Trail was for our community. Lighting struck repeatedly throughout the night on August 17th, igniting dry fuel in our foothills refuge of Nevada City and across the state of California.
September is fast approaching, and with it, the six-month mark since the global pandemic brought closures, shelter-in-place orders, and other devastating economic consequences to our Sierra communities and small-business based economies. These are unprecedented times and immense challenges are still to come for small businesses that have already weathered so much uncertainty.
When I decided to attend graduate school to study natural resource policy, I didn’t exactly foresee graduating in the midst of a global pandemic. Instead, I imagined harnessing my freshly-gained knowledge to dive straight into a new career where I would build and advocate for resilient ecosystems and communities in the Mountain West.
Communities in the Sierra Nevada have weathered many storms over the years, most recently the local impacts of climate change, catastrophic wildfire, drought and reduced snowpack, Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, wide-sweeping homeowner insurance policy cancellations, closing businesses, and a devastating global pandemic.