Torri Estrada of Carbon Cycle Institute will introduce the mission and vision of CCI and discuss their work developing and promoting carbon farming techniques. Torri will describe work being done at the state level to influence policy, so that the carbon sequestration and soil health benefits of carbon farming practices can be broadly publicized and adopted, and also describe the regional hub program that has been developed to create self-sustaining communities of practice at a regional level. Devin Best of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District will introduce the Sustainable Land Initiative, a program operated by the RCD for accelerating the implementation of practices specified in a carbon farm plan, by automating intake and removing the various obstacles faced by farmers who would like to implement a carbon farm plan. Michael Larcher of cBrain will discuss the benefits of digitization for accelerating this process, and how to increase efficiency. Erin Pearse of Cal Poly will conclude with a discussion of specific ways in which the human capital of university campuses can be leveraged to provide resources for SLI projects, via equipment development, farmer education, and quantification of impacts and co-benefits of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices (water usage, ecosystem benefits, economic yield). The main themes uniting the talks are: (i) developing a system for accelerated adoption of CSA, and (ii) propagating the system across the state.

Devin Best

Devin has a degree in Ethnobotany from Humboldt State University. He started his career working in the Americorps Watershed Stewards Project in Northern California.  Following his time in Northern California, he moved back to San Luis Obispo County and worked for the California Conservation Corps as a GIS Supervisor and then for the California Department of Fish Wildlife as an Environmental Specialist.  He continued to build upon his experience in natural resource management and biological population monitoring and modeling in the Pacific Northwest, as well as developing his skills in watershed restoration, permit coordination, and non-profit leadership.  Devin is a strong advocate for community stewardship, collaboration, and ecological restoration.

Torri Estrada - Torri directs policy and climate justice work at the Carbon Cycle Institute. Torri has worked to advance solutions to social and environmental justice, climate, and environmental issues for over thirty years.  Torri was program director at the Marin Community Foundation, where he managed the Foundation’s climate change initiative.  He served as program officer at the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program, managing its environmental justice and civil rights portfolios.  Torri holds an MS in Environmental Sociology and Policy (environmental justice emphasis) from the University of Michigan, and a joint BS/BA degree in Environmental Science and Policy/Ecological Anthropology from the UC Berkeley.

Michael Larcher - Michael leads leads US operations for cBrain where he helps “close the time gap from political will to implementation” by building process that accelerate the speed at which we benefit the environment.  In California, Michael partnered with local Resource Conservation Districts to develop the Sustainable Land Initiative - a means of rapidly identifying, quantifying and funding small sustainable land use projects and then agregating tme to implement at large scale. Globally this approach to create circular economies for plastic in Kenya, protect endangered species in the Amazon, fund solar power in Egypt, and land repurposing for GHG reduction in Denmark.  

Erin Pearse - Erin is a professor of Mathematics at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, specializing in fractal geometry, Hilbert space approaches to studying infinite networks, and machine learning techniques based on geometric data analysis. Erin is also co-founder and Director of ICLR, an organization that provides climate action fellowships for students, organizes the annual Climate Solutions Now virtual conference, and coordinates service learning projects with off-campus groups in order to accelerate implementation of climate action. Erin holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics, and Bachelor’s degrees in both Mathematics and Philosophy, all from UC Riverside.