Extension Climate/Extreme Weather Programming

● “Through some of these federal programs, there have occasionally been times, and I'm thinking, in particular during the George W. Bush administration and a little bit during the Trump administration, when we were asked to talk more about climate and weather extremes, and drought and resilience, rather than talking about climate change . And so that would be kind of a suggestion that ... the phrase ‘climate change’ is very sensitive right now. Better to talk about your programs in terms of how you're working with natural resource managers to increase resilience to climate variability or to weather extremes, or something like that.” (R06) ● “ On the left, I get comments saying ‘you're too conservative, your climate projections underestimate the disaster that's facing us , you're painting too rosy a picture when you mentioned success stories, you know we're all going to die.’ So, so that you know that's actually a harder one to deal with.” (R06) ● “[Clientele]... they range the whole gamut. I’ve got constituents who are absolutely convinced that this is all a hoax and designed to just rob the wealthy nations of their electric power and our ability to travel and so forth. All the way to the other extreme to people who say ‘We’ve got to do something right now or we’re going to destroy the Earth’s atmosphere by 2040’ or something.” (R16) ● “...there was some playing with the idea that it could be human-caused and some people were like, ‘yeah, I totally get it’ and others were like, ‘there’s no way’. And that is still an ongoing challenge. In certain groups, we’re not quite there yet because it signals regulation and government oversight and those kinds of things. It’s not even really about the science ...climate and extreme weather …it’s more about policy. ” (R04) ● “We were looking at perceptions of climate change [among Extension faculty] and we got a lot of the scientists and educators saying this is real and these are the solutions we can come up with, but particularly when we talked with the practitioners, the foresters, they’ve just learned that this is not really going on …[that] it was a political effort to kind of take control of their management and they just thought it was unnecessary.” (R07) ● “All of the farmers I work with, they feel climate risk on a day-to-day basis, they understand it. They understand that farming is not like it used to be. They understand that we're in these postmodern crazy industrial farming systems. But it's like they're trapped in the system and they don't know how to get out of it, and I think they're so tired of being blamed for being sort of the public enemy number one. ” (R13) ● “A lot of Extension’s money comes from the agricultural industry and if [for example] The Farm Bureau has in it’s little red book of rules that climate change is not real, and [they are] a huge supporter of the university, it's an issue. I think the structural issues of how Extension and the ag industry are intertwined , which is so important because there are partnerships there, but if there's a topic that people don't want to talk about ...there's just a very strong industrial push on the system. And I think that's challenging in this case because climate change doesn't really fit some of those agendas.” (R13)


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