Climate Impacts with Anne Marie Kelley-Cosio

Edited by Hayley Bricker

Scientist Anne Marie Kelley-Cosio.

Anne Marie Kelley-Cosio was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. She spent her young years running wild in the foothills of SB. Anne rode and showed horses, skateboarded and hiked. She moved away from home at the age of 13 and ended up leaving school with a GED at 15. Anne then worked as a server, office manager, accountant and customer service representative. She struggled through those years but have learned a lot along the way.

Anne met her partner, Myrna, in 2001 and the two were married in 2008. They have been together for 18 years now. It was with Myrna’s encouragement that Anne decided to go back to school and study what she really loves and is passionate for: science.

Anne earned an Associate of Science degree in Mathematics, Physics, General Physical Sciences, and pre-Engineering in 2014 at El Camino College. She transferred to UCLA and earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Astrophysics, and minor in Geology in 2017. Anne worked as a tutor and T.A. for Astronomy and Mathematics at El Camino College. She did volunteer work through MESA at ECC as well and earned an NSF scholarship. Anne also did a summer internship at NASA/JPL in 2014, along with a Summer Seminar series at Caltech.

Anne now works as a Lab Assistant for Dr. Aradhna Tripati in the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability at UCLA. She works on data analysis, data reduction, and oversees laboratory administration for the Clumped Isotopes Lab. She also has the privilege to be a part of the Center for Diversity and Leadership in Science (CDLS) at UCLA, and is now a Fellow, working on outreach and diversity in leadership in STEM. This includes working with other Fellows in a leadership role in the Diversi-TEA and Courageous Coffee group, taking part in collaborations with K-12 and working on lab tours as well.

Anne will be starting her Masters program in Data Science at Syracuse University in January 2020 and will continue to be part of CDLS at UCLA.

Climate Currents reached out to Anne to ask her how climate change impacts her life as a scientist in Los Angeles.

Q. When did you first learn about climate change?

A. I first learned about climate change in [approximately] 2006 or 2007.

Q. How often does climate change come up in a conversation for you?

A. Climate change is something I discuss daily with family and friends & colleagues.

Q. How often do you think about climate change?

A. I also think about daily, although I try not to overwhelm myself about it, I do find it difficult and I do read the newest scientific research when released concerning the issue.

Q. Are your family & friends aware of climate change?

A. Yes, my family and friends are aware. I have family members that work on this issue through Citizens Climate Lobby. I also have family that either do not want to hear about climate change or just ignore it altogether or maybe they don’t understand it and feel it is something they don’t want to try to understand, I’m not sure.

Q. What emotions do you associate with climate change?

A. Emotions I associate with climate change are: horror, sadness, resignation, awe and fear.

Q. Are there any effects of climate change you immediately feel?

A. I notice the heat during the summers as they become hotter and the rain has changed. It either never rains or it rains more than normal. The balance is off. I grew up in this area, so it is easier for me to notice how different is today (especially since I’m a little older). I also directly felt the effects during the fires and then the aftermath of the mudslides in Santa Barbara. In the Tea Fire the house I grew up in burned to the ground and more recently the same area burned again, many of my family friends’ homes burned. Then during the mudslides in Montecito, a family friend was killed.

Q. What is your biggest concern about climate change?

A. My biggest concern about climate change is that we as scientists, who do our best to vigorously use the scientific method and hold ourselves to a high standard as a community, are missing some or many variables that will deeply affect the climate system of the Earth. There is so much interconnection between every living thing on this Earth and the biosphere itself and all the systems it contains. These connections are so complex and interwoven that it becomes impossible to imagine or build an algorithm to imagine every single one of them. The way in which these degrees of freedom entangle and interact means the feedback loops we see are just a few of them at the surface, there are many more, so many we can never build a proper model of the Earth system itself. This means to me that climate change will be more extreme, more deadly and rapid than we can imagine. I do hope I am wrong.

Q. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

A. I am pessimistic about the future unfortunately. This is not only because of the complexity of the Earth systems I discussed but also the history of human nature generally and the response I see today from supposed political leaders around the world.

Climate Currents is The Center For Diverse Leadership In Science’s student-created resident blog that features diverse voices throughout the environmental science community. We seek to give voices to those who are experiencing climate change and other environmental injustices firsthand. Climate Currents features the diverse perspectives and experiences of scientists working in environmental research, activists involved in stewardship, and more.

Land Acknowledgement

The Center for Diverse Leadership in Science at UCLA acknowledges the Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands) and are grateful to have the opportunity to work for the taraaxatom (indigenous peoples) in this place. As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to Honuukvetam(Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders), and ‘eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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Climate Currents is The Center For Diverse Leadership In Science’s fellow-created resident blog, featuring diverse voices throughout environmental science.