A great many reasons suggest that studying California as a distinct entity will be crucial for effecting the deep culture shift described in the NXTerra Vision.
California’s $2.747 trillion economy is the 5th largest in the world, larger than all but four nations (only the US, China, Japan and Germany are bigger) [read this].
Culturally, the global impact of California includes the collective forces of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and its two massive public university systems: UC and CSU — three sub-sectors of California’s public culture the powers of which illustrate its global reach.
These massive cultural economic, public and government forces work in concert to make California a trendsetter and testing ground in the field of environmental governance.
In Trouble in the Forest I discovered that, in order to study the struggle to save California’s ancient redwoods, I needed to create an historical and analytic framework to account for these relatively independent economic, public and political spheres of social life.
I learned to describe what I see in the world of social and environmental exploitation as a perpetual public sphere struggle over property rights—in every domain, at every point of conflict, and at the heart of every grievance and every social movement, I discovered that the key questions determining outcomes are: who will be given the right to own what, and how will those ownership rights be allowed to be exercised?
Why is this? Because individual rights are at the center of the founding speech and the founding documents that set up the United States as a set of reciprocally determining but relatively independent spheres of social life in the first place.
Individuals (and corporations, now treated as individuals by the law) have the right to own property, while at the same time they have the right to assemble and speak freely what is on their mind and to participate in the process of self-governance.
The end result is a rich public culture in which economic interests proliferate and conflict with other interest groups to freely self-educate in the effort to govern and regulate all of social life.
See the Introduction to Trouble in the Forest for a full explanation of this historical, analytic approach to understanding environmental conflict in the state of California.
I am now taking the same framework and scaling it up to analyze the growing global conflict over climate change, which I study using integrated methods of theoretical ethnography, social history, critical race theory, critical class analysis, and critical gender formation theory.
To study 21st century California in the era of global warming and climate change, see this example of studying 20th century California in the era of deforestation, and remember that 96% of the ancient redwood forest that once blanketed the California coast no longer exists.
Climate educators desirous of current research and data on how global warming and climate change are and have been affecting the state of California will want to read Indicators of Climate Change in California (2018 OEHHA report, State of California).
Updated — October 14, 2019
CLIMATE SCIENCE AND CALIFORNIA
OEHHA – Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, State of California
Mission: “Our mission is to protect and enhance the health of Californians and our state’s environment through scientific evaluations that inform, support and guide regulatory and other actions.”
REPORT: California Studies and the California State University System, Prepared for the Office of the Chancellor, California State University, by R. Jeffrey Lustig, Ph.D, July 15, 1988.
Sustainable California is a University of California Television (UCTV) channel, films and lectures of varying length on topics including Biodiversity, Natural Resources, Low-Impact Living, Water, Flora, Earth, Fauna, Atmosphere, and food, among other.
One should also search UCTV itself for the terms ‘climate change’ and ‘climate justice’ — the ‘climate change’ search turns up 500+ items; ‘climate justice’ turns up just 13 dating back to 2008.
California reached its goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels four years ahead of the 2020 target date. Robert Epstein, co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs, takes a look at was is and is not working as we plan for an additional 40% reduction by 2030. He also examines California’s role in reducing worldwide emissions in both developing and developed countries. Series: “The UC Public Policy Channel”