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Perspectives on Sustainability - CSANR Blog

  • Carkner of Terry’s Berries awarded “Farmer of the Year”

    November 23, 2015
    Tilth 2015 (14)

    Terry Carkner (left) as she is presented with the “Farmer of the Year” award at the annual Tilth Producers of Washington conference earlier this month. Photo: C. Donovan.

    After 31 years, Terry Carkner has retired from her namesake farm, Terry’s Berries, in the Puyallup River Valley. She and her husband Dick converted a 25-acre conventional raspberry farm into a diversified organic vegetable farm and started one of the first CSA farms in the state. At their recent conference, the Tilth Producers of Washington honored Terry with their “Farmer of the Year Award,” an award that recognizes innovations in organic farming, excellence in enhancing natural resources and biodiversity, soil stewardship, and inspiration to other farmers and community members.

  • Being prepared: what we got can help us understand what to expect

    October 12, 2015

    As I shared in my last post, “Climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get.” But if the climate is changing, and part of what experts predict is that we’ll see more extreme weather and weather-related events—think floods, droughts, big storms—what should we expect?

    Chelan, WA vineyard. Photo: A. Simonds

    Wine grapes; a crop of growing importance in eastern Washington that tolerates drought better than other important crops. Photo: A. Simonds

    More than one research group is working hard to develop models that can help answer this and other questions. They are also working to collect real-world data against which to compare the model projections, to improve our confidence in what these models tell us. It is this combination of data and good models—models that do a good job at representing what actually happens in the real world—that would allow us to say to what extent a particular event is due to a changing climate, and how much is just the natural, year-to-year variability that we are all used to experiencing.

  • Being prepared: what you get is not necessarily what you expect

    October 8, 2015
    The Grizzly Bear Complex Fires located southeast of Dayton, WA began on Aug. 13, 2015.   Photo: USFS.

    The Grizzly Bear Complex Fires located southeast of Dayton, WA began on Aug. 13, 2015. Photo: USFS.

    A concerned citizen wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper recently, complaining about how weather, climate, and climate change had been used almost interchangeably. Reading that letter got me thinking about the active scientific discussion on whether extreme weather or weather-driven events like floods and wildfires—the latter very much on our radar in eastern Washington this year—are due to climate change. And more importantly, it got me thinking about how to best take advantage of what we know, even when there are some complex issues we still don’t fully understand. Here I tackle the difference between weather and climate, and in a future post I will discuss what we know—and don’t—about climate change impacts and how what we do know can be useful.

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