Tag Archives: Brenda Garcia

Got Water? California’s Drought

In response to worsening drought conditions, California’s State Water Resources Control Board voted this week to impose mandatory reductions in urban residents’ water use. The move is designed to cut cities’ water use by an average of 25 percent in order to meet the goals set by Governor Jerry Brown’s April 1 executive order, and it’s the first time in the state’s history the Board has felt the need to take this step.

Geologists say this certainly isn’t the first time drought has hit the state though, and that this drought wasn’t primarily caused by residents’ use of water.

“We know for the past three years that we have been below average in terms of precipitation in the state, as well as the snowpack in Sierra Nevada,” said Dr. Amalie Orme, a geology professor at Cal State Northridge. “What makes this a little bit different this time, is that it’s impacting an area which has a much larger population than what we’ve experienced in the past.”

“Of course there have been droughts before,” said Dr. Helen Cox, Director of the Institute for Sustainability at CSUN. “But we’re so reliant upon [water] now, in terms of our infrastructure, in terms of our agriculture, in terms of our economy in California, that [drought] has a much much bigger impact now than it might have done in the past.”

Climate change has likely made the drought conditions in California worse. Geologists say droughts are determined by the rate of evaporation compared to the rate of water replenishment.

“In a warmer climate you’re going to have more evaporation,” Cox said, “so therefore, there is going to be less water available. The conditions that are occurring now, that are causing this drought, are a persistent high pressure sitting out in the Pacific Ocean.”

That high pressure system, caused by earth’s changing climate conditions, continuously diverts storms and humid weather away from California.

Some, including recently-announced GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, say the drought is partially man-made, in the sense that liberal environmental policies have prevented the state from building the necessary dams and reservoirs.

“In a sense, [that’s] looking at this upside down,” Orme said, “because people do not cause drought. Droughts are meteorological, hydrological and agricultural. In the bigger picture, this a physical phenomenon that we’re experiencing.”

“It would be very difficult to store the kinds of quantities of water that one would need to store to make up for this kind of event,” Cox said. “We’re looking at a snowpack which is six percent of normal.”

Still most do agree that people will have to contribute to the solution, by drastically cutting their water use. One controversy is over who should sacrifice the most, and many urban residents question the amount of water used in agriculture, which reportedly consumes some 80 percent of California’s water.

California researchers report that the amount of water used to grow various crops is tremendous. For example, one often-quoted report suggested that harvesting one single almond takes 1.1 gallons of water. But some farmers have refuted these claims. They claim the way they use water isn’t the problem, it’s the amount they are allowed to use.

“The farmers are not so much fixated in terms of the precipitation that we get,” said Blake Sanden, a farm advisor and irrigation expert with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “They’re looking at an overall water budget.”

Farmers are certainly feeling the pain of the drought. A UC Davis study showed California is directly losing more than $1.5 billion a year from the drought. These costs included water pumps, livestock, and fields that are going unplanted.

“Basically a farmer is going to define drought by looking at the condition of his crops,” Sanden said.

Environmentalists argue that farmers should get rid of flood irrigation methods to properly conserve water. But other methods of getting water to crops, such as micro irrigation and drip-irrigation, may deny crops their nutrients.

“The problem … is that [drip irrigation] ignores salinity management,” Sanden said. “When we irrigate we bring in as much as a ton and a half of salts per-acre-foot.”

Another alternative is the use of so-called grey water. Grey water is water filtered from things such as washing machines, and recycled for agricultural use.

“With grey water, one has to be quite careful about what is going into the ground,” Cox said. “If there’s any kind of chemicals, soaps, or detergents, any of that can ultimately affect your soils.”

The state has been encouraging residents to conserve water, keeping in mind the possible state of emergency that would arrive if California’s supplies are emptied.

“There have been mega-droughts [lasting 25 years] in the past,” Cox said.  “It’s not clear right now exactly how long this will last. It could be a kind of a one-in-a-thousand year drought, if it’s a really really severe drought.”

Moderator: Kelsey Ducklow

Producer: Brenda Garcia

Anchor: Gloria Star

Reporter: Wahid Lodin

Guest Booker: Teresa Arevalo

Social Media Editor: Alexis Wadley

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A Safe Place to Live?

Only six percent of former foster children earn a college degree, according to a 2011 study from the University of Chicago.

CSUN Professor of Child and Adolescent Development Dr. Roxanne Moschetti is in the small group of former foster children who beat the statistic.

“When I think about how I ended up where I am now, as opposed to where I started,” Moschetti said, “it was little things, like a fourth grade teacher that asked me to help them with a bulletin board after school – small things – or like a school nurse that acknowledged that my handwriting was nice.”

The insecurity of the foster care system makes normal childhood difficult.

“[A new foster home] was always very foreign,” Moschetti said. “Even if your family lives under a bridge, even though we were homeless, or even though our home was really, really chaotic, it was still familiar to me.”

Child S.H.A.R.E recruiter Bob Levy was moved from home to home as a foster child.

“I was a pretty good kid but I bounced four times in three years,” he said, “so trying to socialize in school was very traumatic because as soon as they knew you were a kid in foster care, and word got around, you’re labeled, so that was very hard to deal with. And then just trying to keep up with your school work is devastating because as soon as you change a school, it’s a different curriculum.”

Los Angeles County has the highest number of foster children of any county in California. According to the Department of Children and Family Services, more than 30,000 children are in the Los Angeles foster care system.

Moschetti said the large number of foster children in Los Angeles could have something to do with the environment.

“When you’re looking at counties, and you’re looking at foster care rates within them, you also look at the other things,” she said. “So [you look at] poverty levels, socio economic status, substance abuse, and things like that, because they all go hand in hand.”

Moschetti said past trauma and lack of attachment make the adjustment to a new home even harder.

“We really focus on attachment,” she said. “So [we look at] the reason that has brought the children into the foster home. If it’s abuse, if it’s severe abuse and neglect, [then] they haven’t formed secure attachment with their caregivers. That can carry on longterm as well as any trauma.”

That trauma can continue into the next generation, and Levy says children of fostered youth make up a number of those in the system.

“What we are finding is that a lot of these kids that are placed in foster care are having children that they are putting into foster care,” he said.

“If you look at longitudinal studies on children that were abused and neglected, unfortunately often times they do become abusers,” Moschetti said.

But Levy encourages children in the foster care system to stay positive regardless of statistics.

“For the foster child that’s feeling kind of hopeless, know that they are wonderful, that God made them special and precious, and they have skills and talent,” he said. “The fact that they have had to survive and go through these things will actually make them more resilient to the pressures of the world.”

Moderator: Brenda Garcia

Producer: Teresa Arevalo

Anchor: Alexis Wadley

Reporters: Wahid Lodin and Gloria Star

Social Media Editor: Kelsey Ducklow

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Like Our Page: Marketing in the Digital Age

In today’s digital age, businesses are using social media more and more to advertise their products.

A recent eMarketer study shows that $180 billion was spent on advertising last year, a five percent growth from 2004. Statistics show that digital advertising is leading the increase in ad spending, with spending for mobile networks in the lead.

Marketing analysts say the shift in ad spending has to do with what consumers are focused on, and the current focus for many consumers is social media. “Social media as a platform has been successful in reaching consumers and making connections,” said Dr. Kristen Walker, an associate professor in the CSUN Department of Marketing.

Marketing experts say the increase in digital advertising spending has to do with the increased amount of time consumers are spending on their mobile devices. eMarketer reports that adults in the US spend about two hours and 51 minutes on mobile devices each day.

“Google is already veering towards sites that are built for a mobile user,” said Apex Digital Media founder Dustin Peterson. “You’ll get a higher search ranking if you’re optimized for a user on their iPhone.”

Statistics show that Google accounts for about 45 percent of all digital advertising spending, but social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are growing.

Advertising experts say those social media platforms give advertising firms a way to connect with consumers. “If someone clicks on a link you can tell where that person came from,” Peterson said. “A lot of times you can cookie their browser and serve them follow-up messaging.”

A recent Gallup poll shows that 62 percent of people say viewing ads on social media does not influence their spending activities, but some marketing experts disagree.

“Consumers aren’t necessarily aware of how effective marketing can be,” Walker said. “Marketers can learn a lot about your interactions with people in your social media platform.”

Walker said digital marketing is going to get even more personal in the future.

“Consumers haven’t really figured out how many companies are gathering information about them and when they are gathering it,” Walker said.

“Because of the way that technology’s evolving,” Peterson said, ” I think everything’s going to be personalized based on your likes, and things that you said you had interest in; you can already kind of see it happening”.

The trick is going to be finding the balance between personalization and privacy.

“The White House just released a draft of the consumer privacy bill of rights,” Walker said, “and there’s some discussion as to where that’s going in the future.”


Moderator: Kelsey Ducklow

Producer: Brenda Garcia

Anchor: Teresa Arevalo

Reporters: Wahid Lodin, Gloria Star and Alexis Wadley

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Let’s Talk Vaccines

It seems happiness isn’t all that’s contagious at Disneyland in California.

The recent measles outbreak, now spread across 17 states, is being linked to the theme park. More than half of the measles cases reported in the state are associated with initial exposure at Disneyland.

Public health officials recommend that children under 12 months old and people who have not been vaccinated stay away from the park, and they are urging everyone to get immunized. A recent Pew Research Center poll found 83 percent of Americans believe the measles vaccine is safe for children. But another Pew study shows younger adults believe vaccinations should not be a requirement, and that it is up to the parents to make that decision.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in vaccine mistrust and the idea that they link to certain diseases,” said Assistant Professor of Health Science at CSUN, Kaitlin O’Keefe. “This is not entirely accurate.”

In 1998 Dr. Andrew Wakefield sparked the discussion of vaccines being associated with autism in children, with his study published in the Lancet. Wakefield focused on the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine in a very small study. He said he had found a possible link to autism in children from the vaccine. His claim has since been discredited; he has lost his license to practice medicine in England, and the Lancet published a full retraction. However his claim still led to a decline in vaccines all over the world.

Health experts say physicians need to ask parents more questions in order to understand why they have chosen not to vaccinate, and then offer parents more information about vaccines, to answer their concerns.

“A vaccine takes a germ and exposes it to the patient’s immune system in a safe way, such that the patient is not going to become ill, but it stimulates an immune response,” said Dr. Mikhaela Cielo, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist.

Some parents express concern about the number of vaccines children are required to get at a young age.

“Our immune system is constantly reacting to things around us,” Cielo said. “Kids are sick more often because their bodies are developing this repertoire of antibodies to fight off disease…We know their bodies, in the natural world, are able to respond very well to multiple different antigens at the same time, and they’ve definitely shown, through a big body of research, that children do just fine with multiple vaccinations in one visit. Their bodies will mount a great immune response, and there’s no harm that comes to the child.”

The percentage of elementary school children who have not been vaccinated has doubled in California, according to the CDC. Many parents use the state’s personal belief exemption to explain their decision.

Communities must be immunized at a high rate to fight widespread infectious disease. For diseases like the measles and whooping cough at least 92 percent of the children must be immune. This is a concept known as herd immunity.

“One of the best things about vaccination is enough people have immunity to a disease through vaccination,” O’Keefe said, “and they can protect another member of the community [who can’t be immunized for legitimate health reasons] who might be susceptible to the disease.”

There are no federal vaccination laws, but many public schools and colleges require students to be vaccinated upon entering, and many states allow exemptions from immunizations only for religious reasons.

“Requiring someone to vaccinate in some ways will do more harm than good,” O’Keefe said. “The best way to push towards higher vaccine rates is to educate…get the word out on actual information like scientific studies, evidence towards the safety and efficacy of the vaccines out there.”


Moderator: Teresa Arevalo

Anchor: Wahid Loden

Producer: Kelsey Ducklow

Reporters: Teresa Arevalo, Brenda Garcia, Wahid Lodin and Alexis Wadley

Social Media Editors: Gloria Star and Brenda Garcia


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