Risk Perception of Climate Change Among Wine Growers and Wine Advisors
I am currently working with Dr. Nicolas Babin and fellow master student Diego Rivera on a project focused on understanding the risk perception of climate change amongst wine growers and wine advisors. The goal of the project is to understand the motivations and barriers to adoption of conservational practices in agriculture. This project uses semi-structured interviews with local wine managers and advisors to assess what factors influence managemental decisions. The outcome of the project will improve our understanding of the barriers and motivation to conservational agriculture. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from this project can be used to understand the problems and risk facing agriculture on the California Central Coast, and lead to effective solution making.
What Inspired Me
After hearing a very inspirational talk by geologist Jessica Phoenix, who spoke about the urgent need of scientists participating in policy making, I decided to pursue higher education in environmental policy. Scientists are vital for creating policy that uses a holistic approach to mitigating climate change; a problem as complex as climate change requires that we look at all parts interacting in the system as well as feedback loops.
My goal is to work on an advisory committee to shape policy aimed at curbing climate change effects. The project I am working on with Dr. Babin and Diego River has the potential to influence policy surrounding conservation and agriculture. Agricultural practices limit our progress towards a sustainable future and to resolve this we first must understand the issues facing this sector if we are to create effective solutions.
I found my project during the program’s orientation in September 2019. During the orientation, several project ideas were presented to us from professors and industry professionals. Dr. Babin explained that his project was on understanding the barriers and motivations to the adoption of conservation practices amongst wine managers and wine advisors.
One of the first classes of the program is a research planning course, ESCI 501, in which we learned to do a literature review, outline project goals and objectives, begin a research paper, and formulate a tentative timeline and budget. This class helped guide me through the literature review process and helped me focus my research goals and objectives. My goal in this project is to better understand the decision-making process to adopting conservation agriculture practices. The fall quarter was mostly comprised of reviewing literature on behavior and more specifically management behaviors in agriculture, then compiling research findings into a paper. Over the winter break we began coding the interviews with wine growers and wine advisors. We used a qualitative analysis software called NVIVO and coded the interviews using a coding book that help us organize themes emerging from the interviews
Throughout winter break, my research partner, Diego Rivera, and I were able to code all 20 interviews. Once interviews were coded, we began the interpretation and discussion portion of our research. Interpretation entailed looking for similarities or commonalties in interview responses, then looking for any underlying themes to draw conclusions. From there we were able to begin discussing our conclusions and findings in a collaborative paper on the project.
Midway through winter quarter we had the opportunity to share the preliminary results of our analysis to a group of wine growers and advisors at the California Small Farm Conference. The results presented there created the outline for the paper we will be collaborating on during the spring and summer quarter.
Over the course of the spring quarter, Dr. Babin, Diego and I worked together on completing our research paper. Since our research is based on qualitative data, the paper required us to find exemplary quotes that would facilitate in the narration of our findings. The paper has been submitted to a journal with our next steps to finalize a survey that will go out to farmers in the central coast of California.
In addition to writing the paper, we also conducted interviews with lemon and avocado managers and advisors. The next phase of this research will go on to studying the risk perception of climate change in this other agricultural sector.