Wildfires at Top’s Yogurt

Nicki was a participant in the first of the two 10-week Davis workshops held in fall of 2016. Like many of her fellow participants, Nicki believed that human-induced climate change was ‘happening,’ but ‘nowhere near me.’ She didn’t believe she was experiencing any of the impacts of climate change personally, and likely wouldn’t until a very distant future. Through a re-scaling of global impacts to their local manifestations, Nicki and the other participants began exploring new indicators of vulnerability or resilience in their communities. Fall of 2016 marked the end of the five-year drought in California and was a frequent topic of conversation throughout the workshop. The topic of drought broadened through participant in-person and social media dialogues to include other related impacts such as wildfires, poor air quality, and finally public health risks. By the end of the 10-weeks, Nicki recognized that repeated fires occurring in vacant fields in her own neighborhood were potentially related to climate change. Her personal narrative explored the relationship of global environmental change to personal experiences of its impacts which included conditions such as ‘traffic jams,’ ‘smoky air,’ and ‘having nowhere to walk my dog,’ in her very own neighborhood. Nicki published their narrative as a WordPress blog, but had little interest in other forms of social media. Nicki was a painting major and instead used a series of oil paintings to document the wildfires which were discussed as part of their painting studio critiques (as well as within the seminar) and later displayed in her home community.