First Community Climate Fair at UC Riverside is a Hot Event

Hundreds attend the free event to participate in games and activities, and learn about the impact of climate change on the planet

Children enjoy playing Tornado Twister

Children enjoy playing Tornado Twister at the fair. (Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The rain did not dampen the success of the first community climate fair held today (Nov. 12) at the University of California, Riverside. The free parking, free food, and easy access to information about climate change and its impact ensured that by noon more than 450 fairgoers had taken advantage of the games and activities the “Refresh Riverside! A Community Climate Fair” offered.

“By 11 o’clock we were running out of programs!” said Mary Droser, a professor of in the Department of Earth Sciences, who led the effort to organize the fair. “The free parking was a key attraction, too. Clearly, moving the fair indoors did not affect a good turnout. All the booths here have been immensely popular.”

The fair, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 302, Highlander Union Building (HUB), featured booths and activities such as Sea Level Limbo, Tornado Twister and Climate Change Jeopardy. In the “Watts Up!” booth, fairgoers got to see the wattage that different types of light bulbs use, which informed them of their energy options. In the “Plant a Seed” booth, held outdoors near the HUB, children got a hands-on education on sustainable gardening.

Armeen Mobasher, 12, of Riverside, who attended the fair with his father, said he had learned today that sustainability would help future generations. He planned to check out all the booths at the fair.

The Carbon Dioxide booth appealed most to Jaime Holz of Riverside, who brought her son Joshua, soon to be 12, to the fair.

“That booth taught us how much carbon we as a family are contributing, and what we can do to help,” she said. “It was really helpful to see what our carbon footprint looked like. If the fair takes place next year also, I will surely attend.”

Rich Minnich, the chair of the Department of Earth Sciences, hopes the event can take place every year.

“Global climate change and its trickle-down effects have become big issues in environmental change,” he said while volunteering at a booth. “We need to remind ourselves that through industrialization over the last 200 years we have been changing our planet, affecting climate in ways we don’t even know.”

Free food at the fair provided consisted of hot dogs, snow cones, and cotton candy to represent the roles that heat, cold and clouds, respectively, play in our lives.

Experts from UCR and NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory answered questions about greenhouse gases and their role in warming the planet, why temperature is predicted to go up in some places and down in others, and how impactful clouds are in raising or lowering the Earth’s temperature.

The NASA scientists demonstrated with videos how scientists track Earth’s climate from space. Along with UCR scientists, they explained how the melting of land ice leads to sea level rise, how extreme weather is connected to global warming, how global climate change affects ecosystems, and how people can live more sustainably.

The community climate fair is being sponsored in large part by NASA; UCR’s Office of the Chancellor, the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and the Department of Earth Sciences; the Riverside Unified School District; and the Moscarello Family Foundation.

Media Contact

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Additional Contacts

Mary Droser

Richard Minnich

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