Risk, Resilience and Adaptation in California

Call for Proposals:
Lecture Video and Digital Textbook Chapter

David Ackerly (Professor and Dean, Rausser College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley)

Fonna Forman (Professor, Political Science; Founding Director, UCSD Center on Global Justice, UC San Diego; Vice-Chair, Bending the Curve, 2015)

Nicola Ulibarri (Assistant Professor, Urban Planning & Public Policy, UC Irvine)

Consulting advisor
Ram Ramanathan (Emeritus Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; Chair, Bending the Curve 2015)

Informational Webinar: Feb. 28, 2022, 2-3pm
Meeting ID: 949 7056 6223
Zoom participation is restricted to UC logins

Proposal Deadline: March 28, 2022

Compensation: $5,000


The University of California has established itself as a leader in climate change education with the production of the Bending the Curve online course and associated materials. The course has now been taught at multiple UC campuses and is being licensed to other institutions across the country.

This project builds on that investment and will expand the Bending the Curve curriculum with a new set of 10 modules focused on risk, resilience and adaptation, with an explicitly California and American-west focus. In California, as elsewhere across our planet, climate change disproportionately impacts low-income and BIPOC communities. This expansion of Bending the Curve is motivated by a firm commitment to climate justice and social equity in our state. This new expansion of the course is a natural evolution of these founding commitments, as underserved populations in California right now are facing the accelerating, disproportionate impacts of wildfires, sea-level rise, flooding, agricultural instability and disease.

We are inviting proposals to develop 10 new modules on risk, resilience and adaptation, which together will comprise a new Bending the Curve course that can be adopted across all campuses of the University of California. Like the original Bending the Curve course, this expansion will be produced by UC Online, and hosted on a digital platform housed in the University of California Office of the President.

Each new module will consist of two components:
1) a recorded lecture of one-hour in length, adapted to a template developed by the project leads.
2) an accompanying digital textbook chapter, which will appear in the open-access Bending the Curve textbook.
You can see a sample module here:

Module proposals are welcome from individuals and teams. The lead PI must be UC ladder-rank faculty or Cooperative Extension Specialist; and teams may include faculty, staff researchers, post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates. Because we wish to see the course adopted in diverse departments and schools, we are eager to assemble a set of 10 modules that represent a variety of disciplines and approaches to the topics of risk, resilience and adaptation in California.

Compensation for each module is $5000 ($2500 for the video lecture; $2500 for the digital textbook chapter).


  • Informational Webinar: February 28, 2022 (2-3pm):
  • Proposal Deadline: March 28, 2022
  • Successful Proposals Announced: May 1, 2022
  • Project Development: May-October, 2022
  • Lectures recorded on home campuses: November-December 2022
  • Draft chapters due: March, 2023
  • Chapters returned, following editorial review: May, 2023
  • Final Chapters due: July, 2023
  • Public release: Sept 2023

Module Topics

Proposed modules should address one of the following ten core topics, outlined below. The topics below may expand or contract after we review proposals and engage our UC colleagues. The provisional ten topics emphasize challenges impacting California and the American West, set in a national and global context. If you want to propose a different topic, please contact us to discuss in advance.

Our current provisional subject clusters include:

  1. Water – impacts of climate change on the water cycle, including rainfall, flooding, and drought; water availability for agriculture, cities, and environment; managing water systems (conservation, storage, groundwater extraction, recycling, etc.); impacts on low-income rural, farmworker, and urban population
  1. Sea level rise and coastal systems – geography of vulnerability to sea level rise; hard infrastructure vs. nature based solutions
  1. Agriculture and food security – impacts and responses of food systems, locally and globally, to a changing climate; crop breeding for resilience and future climates; farmworker health; economics and supply chains; carbon footprint of food production, transportation, consumption and waste
  1. Biodiversity and natural ecosystems – plant and animal responses to climate change; adapting conservation strategies to changing climate; nature-based solutions to enhance resilience of ecosystems and communities.
  1. Wildfire – climate impacts on fire frequency, size, and severity; forest management and urban planning to reduce infrastructure losses; impacts on carbon emissions and sequestration goals; community resilience and recovery after fire.
  1. Urban design & climate adaptation – urban design and heat waves; climate impacts in cities; urban planning & climate change; resources for low-income neighborhoods
  1. Public Health – air quality; cardio-vascular disease; vector-borne disease; mental health; heat waves
  1. Natural disasters and climate refugees – impacts of flooding, hurricanes, drought on vulnerable populations; domestic and international climate refugees
  1. Economic impacts across sectors — supply chains; just transition; workforce; insurance markets; risk analysis; corporate scenario analysis.
  1. Economics, policy, and governance of adaptation – green economy; cost/benefit of adaptation and mitigation; incorporating climate impacts into land use and development planning; equity and justice for frontline populations; international relations and impacts on Global South.
  1. A final module of the course will consist of regional integration, drawing on the Regional Reports of the 4th CA Climate Assessment and allow instructors at any CA educational institution to integrate the material in the modules above in the context of their local region. This module will be a lesson plan, without a lecture, as the specific content and associated reading of the Regional Report would differ in each region. This module will be produced by the Bending the Curve team, and proposals are not invited for this content.

Proposal Instructions

Primary PI:
Department and UC Campus / Lab:
Secondary PIs (optional):

Proposed topic:

Treatment summary: In no more than 2 pages, summarize your proposed treatment of the topic, including an outline of four subtopics and/or potential case studies, which can be recorded as individual 15 minute mini-lectures.

Secondary readings: Provide 2-3 examples of readings you might consider assigning to undergraduate students as supplementary reading, in addition to your digital textbook chapter.

Optional: Provide links to recording(s) of the PI/s delivering a lecture or teaching.

Submissions should be emailed as a single PDF to Khushbu Gokalgandhi at by March 28, 2022.
Questions? Contact Fonna Forman at


The University of California Bending the Curve report was published in 2015 by 50 University of California researchers across campuses and disciplines, forwarding 10 diverse strategies that have made the State of California a global leader of climate mitigation, to slow or reverse the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere and the accompanying climate disruptions. These strategies range from policy and technology, to finance and land-use, to attitude and behavioral transformation. Bending the Curve was Chaired by Ram Ramanathan (UCSD), and Vice-Chaired by UCB’s Daniel Kammen and UCSD’s Fonna Forman.

The report was more than a moment. It had legs and now has a legacy: It was carried by Governor Jerry Brown to the COP-21 meetings in Paris, and was soon expanded by the original authors into an archive of climate solutions research, published on the open-access UC Collabra platform. Then, with the great support of the GCLC and UCOP’s Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (Now, UC Online), the Bending the Curve structure was adapted into a rich suite of educational tools designed for the UC system and beyond.

Bending the Curve is unique because it emphasizes integral solutions thinking and design, across science and technology, economics, governance, ecosystem management and social behavior. To mobilize commitment, students cannot be passive recipients of information, but must be active, creative, speculative participants in solutions thinking and design. It is our responsibility as educators to nurture the aspirations of this generation, and empower them with tools and skills to act.

The Bending the Curve suite of educational tools presently include:

  1. An in-person “flipped” undergraduate course comprised of 26 instructional video modules authored by UC researchers. The course culminates with a capstone project that demands integral solutions thinking and design. This course was launched by Ramanathan and Forman at UCSD in Winter 2017, and is now taught annually there, and at several campuses across the UC system. Noteworthy student projects from these UC system-wide courses are collected in a special UCOP Archive.
  2. A fully-online version of the course, piloted by Ramanathan and Forman at UCSD in Spring 2020, which was open to students across the UC system. The online course is also designed to accommodate a capstone project, if an instructor wishes. The timing of this course was fortuitous because of COVID-19, but was designed and planned in partnership with ILTI long before COVID-19. The course has been adopted by several UC campuses.
  3. An online open-access, expandable, digital textbook used in all versions of the course.
  4. A MOOC that enables broad, low-cost access to all.

Expanding Bending the Curve: Risk, Resilience and Adaptation in California

While mitigation is essential, the impacts of climate change are upon us now, and are especially severe for low-income, BIPOC and other ‘frontline’ communities facing sea level rise and worsening wildfires. There is rapidly growing knowledge about the technical, economic, policy, and social strategies needed to reduce climate impacts, and to minimize disproportionate impacts on the most vulnerable communities. Investments in adaptation and resilience are inherently place-based, and are needed across all sectors of society. Responses will differ across geographic, political, social, and cultural contexts. Through a California and American West lens, we bring these challenges “home” to our students, and place them in a local context where solutions need to be tested and implemented.

We intend that these new modules will enhance both the in-person and online modes of Bending the Curve instruction, and will be fully integrated into our online open-access textbook. The proposed modules will live within the Bending the Curve archive, maintained by UC Online. They can be assembled together to comprise a full course dedicated to the themes of risk, resilience and adaptation. Or, in Bending the Curve tradition, they can be adopted individually, or in groups, as building blocks that can be combined with existing and future modules to create fully customizable courses on climate change solutions, that suit the intentions of individual instructors, departments, and schools.

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