What role does Sacramento play in growing the power of social networks when it comes to nutrition, environment, and sustainability? In the Sacramento and Davis regional area, the University of California, Davis is a destination and model for sustainable change when it comes to boosting nutrition. The university draws and visionaries to learn from on-campus resources such as a pilot bio-digester and sustainable agriculture demonstration gardens. How many more jobs will be developed in Sacramento for sustainability planners and greener-environments-foods managers or organic nutritionists?
Check out the UC Davis research article, “Project aims to boost school nutrition and specialty crops.” For example, in Sacramento and Davis, the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis has begun working with school districts on a project to expand student access to local, seasonal fresh produce.
A UC Davis researcher and co-authors challenge a widely held assumption that plants will move uphill in response to warmer temperatures. View the article, “Study shows plants moved downhill, not up, in warming world .” If you’re planting some vegetables in a home or school garden, should you plant your seedlings so they will move downhill if you have a slope in your garden?
When it comes to environmental sustainability, the California Lighting Technology Center, and numerous other projects at UC Davis are under construction that focus on network solutions that result in sustainability for the rest of the regional area. You, as in individual in Sacramento make the choices about nutrition and environmental sustainability whether it’s choosing locally-farmed food, green and organic produce and products, or using social networks to spread information.
Regarding food, wine, and beer, the world’s first brewery and winery that will achieve LEED platinum status is in the local Sacramento-Davis regional area. And UC Davis West Village is projected to be one of the first communities in the nation to achieve zero net energy on an annual basis.
UC Davis is pooling the determination and talent of students, faculty, staff, friends and supporters to meet today’s needs and benefit future generations. Check out the site, UC Davis Sustainability.
The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability at UC Davis, created in 2008, is part of a commitment to making sustainability an integral and strategic aspect of UC Davis’ future.
The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (ESS) develops, leads and coordinates sustainability efforts throughout the UC Davis campus. Staff members create strategies and plans to improve campus operations, work to implement the UC Office of the President’s sustainability policy, establish sustainability metrics for UC Davis, and inspire the community to work toward a sustainable future.
Also see the February 17 UC Davis Research News article, “Energy experts to help U.S. Navy get greener.” UC Davis recently agreed to help the U.S. Navy find new ways to use less energy and to derive more of the energy it does use from renewable sources such as the sun and wind, instead of oil and coal.
Outside of the UC Davis campus area and beyond Davis, in Sacramento, what solutions can be networked between those who grow and sell food and those who consume the products, with nutrition information filling the gap between the buyer and seller of sustainable, green, organic, or environmentally ecological products?
That’s when social networking plays a part in forming a network to share information leading to sustainability solutions. What can you do where you are to make a difference when it comes to sustainability, nutrition, and the environment? Should you go organic and greener? You can start with the power in social networks.
Sustainability solutions and the green food and environment movement in Sacramento really needs the power of networks. New studies also are being conducted at other universities as well. Check out the February 21, 2011 EurekAlert! news release, “Sustainability solutions need the power of networks,” from Michigan State University.
The choices an individual makes about environmental issues are affected by family, friends and others in a person’s social network, according to the public news release. Michigan State University scientists are studying how to harness the power of social networks to better communicate sustainability science.
“Instead of trying to communicate with thousands of people, we can be more effective by using the structure of social networks to spread information,” says Thomas Dietz, MSU assistant vice president for environmental research and a sociologist,” in the news release. By communicating with the people who influence decisions in a network, we can have a dialogue with them and learn what is important to those groups. The influencers then spread the information to the rest of the network.”
Dietz and Adam Henry, assistant professor of public administration at West Virginia University, have organized a symposium, “Social Networks and Sustainability,” at this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Symposium speakers are Henry; Ken Frank, MSU professor of measurement and quantitative methods, and fisheries and wildlife; and Mrill Ingram of the University of Wisconsin.
Frank develops mathematical models of social networks, which allows scientists to analyze the effects of social networks using universal, formal terms.
“My work makes explicit what we see in social network diagrams,” Frank says. “For example, the diagrams can be used to represent how new knowledge diffuses through a network of stakeholders, and then the influence model can be used to estimate the size the network effect relative to other effects such as exposure to government reports and popular media.”
“Ken’s models are very helpful for communicating information,” Dietz says. “His selection model tells us where people in a network get their information. So now we know who to contact to share information.
“Because we don’t know how to deal with all the sustainability challenges we face, we have to learn as we go,” he continues. “So we monitor what is and isn’t effective and then get the new information out to the networks. There are many practical applications for this research.”
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
The Human-Nature Lab/Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University integrates ecology with socioeconomics, demography and other disciplines for ecological sustainability from local, national to global scales. Also you can read more MSU news on its website.