Annual Confronting Climate Change Conference focuses on local impacts and solutions

UC Santa Cruz offers a weekend of free events at the Seymour Center to spark conversation and inspire action

climate conference panelists
The discussion of climate impacts in Santa Cruz County will feature four local experts (clockwise from upper left): Borja Reguero, associate researcher in the Institute of Marine Sciences and assistant adjunct professor in the Coastal Science and Policy Program at UCSC; Sherry Flumerfelt, executive director of the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust; Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band; and Katherine Seto, assistant professor of environmental studies at UCSC.
Sikina Jinnah
Sikina Jinnah, associate professor of environmental studies, will moderate the discussion.

The eighth annual Confronting Climate Change Conference at UC Santa Cruz will focus on the impacts of climate change on Santa Cruz County and the people who live, work, and play here. This year, the conference will explore climate change on a local level through three days of free events, April 21-23.

Taking place during UCSC’s Alumni Week 2022, the public lecture series brings together scientists, artists, policy experts, and community members to discuss the planet’s wellbeing and share solutions for the future.

The Confronting Climate Change Conference begins with an evening of panelist presentations about how climate change is affecting the Santa Cruz County community through sea level rise, storm intensity, water supply, fishery health and food production. The conference will then engage with the UC Santa Cruz campus and surrounding community with the opening of a new art exhibit, and an Earth Day celebration at the new Climate Action Market to round out the weekend.

“This conference inspires conversation and thought on how research in the natural and social sciences and beyond can lead to climate change solutions that will help preserve the health of our planet,” said Paul Koch, professor of Earth and planetary science and dean of the UCSC Division of Physical and Biological Sciences, which is cosponsoring the event. “The discussion about how we can mitigate and adapt in Santa Cruz will be both inspiring and vital.”

“Climate change has immense and direct impacts on our community,” said Katharyne Mitchell, professor of sociology and dean of the UCSC Division of Social Sciences, a conference cosponsor. “The effects cut across nearly every aspect of life in our community, including some less-obvious impacts, such as social justice and equity.”

Conference Schedule

  • Thursday, April 21: Take a deep dive into responses to climate impacts around the world and right here in Santa Cruz County. Attend in person or virtually for a panel discussion at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, “Responding to the impacts of climate change in Santa Cruz County,” featuring short talks by four experts from the sciences, Santa Cruz County community, and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Hear what they’re seeing in the field, learn how everyone can adapt and mitigate impacts of a changing climate, and participate in a Q&A discussion.
  • Friday, April 22: Check out the introduction of Strange Weather, a new exhibition at downtown Santa Cruz’s hub for community creativity, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. The UC Santa Cruz Institute of Arts & Sciences is sponsoring the show, Strange Weather: Contemporary Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.
  • Saturday, April 23: Cap off the weekend at the Climate Action Market, a family-friendly festival at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Dozens of researchers, nonprofits, businesses, and public agencies will set up booths to share the science and environmental work happening here in Santa Cruz County and show how people can get involved. Enjoy food, music, and games alongside science and climate action.

“Creating a space where community members can engage with each other about climate change on an approachable level is paramount to finding creative solutions that help us adjust to a new normal,” said Jonathan Hicken, executive director of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center at UCSC.

The Climate Action Market on Saturday welcomes the public back to the Seymour Center, a community-supported marine science education center. The facility was closed to visitors for more than a year and a half during the pandemic. Recently reopened and with new leadership, the Seymour Center is a hub where scientists and community members can collaborate and learn from one another.

“Sharing science and environmental stewardship with the public creates meaningful connections that we have missed,” Hicken said. “We look forward to taking part in these conversations and more.”

For more information about the Confronting Climate Change Conference, including how to register for the Thursday evening lecture, visit