Aug 29, 2018
by Tish Levee
Just before the Global Climate Action Summit, called by Governor Brown, in San Francisco from Sept. 14-18, thousands will march around the world, but especially in San Francisco, to “Stop Fossil Fuels and Build 100% Renewable Energy!”. The focus of this summit is local leadership, with local and regional government and business leaders gathering to showcase local climate action happening worldwide and to inspire deeper commitments from each other and from their national governments. Seven full-sized buses are going from Sonoma County. Go to 350bayarea.org/rise, and under “Getting There,” click on the orange box on the left that says, “From Marin/Sonoma,” then follow the link to “Click here to buy a charter bus ticket.” Then go back and click to “RSVP for the March.” And then spread the word—let everyone know about this action, and “Get on the Bus!”
The West is Burning, but it’s not the only place on fire! We’ve been witnessing the largest fire in California’s history—the Mendocino Complex fire just north of us. Six of California’s worst fires have occurred in the last ten months. This summer there are fires throughout the rest of the West—more than 1500, over 100 of them major blazes. Sadly, for me, nearly four years after I hiked in Glacier National Park with the first Climate Hike, triple-digit temperatures helped ignite Glacier, burning with it my memories of childhood summers at Lake McDonald.
But not only the Western United States and Canada are on fire. In July wildfires ignited inside the Arctic Circle, due to a record-breaking Scandinavian heat wave with temperatures over 90℉ north of the Arctic Circle. Sweden, Germany, Greece, and Russia have experienced devastating wildfires, driven by the scorching heat. While there are a number of factors contributing to these fires, climate change tops them, as higher temperatures result in fire seasons beginning earlier and ending longer. The fire season in California is now four months longer than it was in 1978. Massive blazes will cost the state billions of dollars more over the next decade.
Record-breaking heat waves are driving these fires. Even when the ground has adequate moisture, high heat quickly dries out vegetation, turning it into tinder.
Fires once seen as local events are now part of a global-scale phenomenon.
We’re not the only ones having trouble breathing. Smoke from Western fires reached all the way to New England; recently, from space, NASA has seen smoke from Canadian fires over Europe and from Russian fires over Alaska.
Weird weather caused by Climate Change isn’t limited to fire.
The Eastern Seaboard is being hammered by rain with devastating floods, and at least 320 people have died in intense flooding India.
On Sept. 8th another good climate action takes place in San Francisco. After years of testing and research, the Ocean Cleanup will launch its first system for a full test of the technology I wrote about in my May column It’s targeted at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The time to get an Electric Vehicle is NOW! Sonoma Clean Power offers more than cheaper, more renewable electricity!
• Once again SCP’s electric vehicle incentive program offers the chance to save on fuel costs while making our air cleaner—gas-fueled vehicles are one of Sonoma County’s largest sources of emissions. (Last fall’s program put over 550 more EVs on local roads.)
• Save up to $17,500 rebuilding your home if you lost it in last year’s wildfires.
• Try clean, efficient cooking by borrowing an induction cooktop.
• Check out a DIY Home Energy Toolkit at your local library.
• Do something really great for the planet: sign up for Evergreen and watch your carbon footprint really shrink. For about $13 a month, get 100% clean, renewable energy 24/7.
Check out these programs and more at sonomacleanpower.org.
More good news for the climate. On July 30th, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled a lawsuit, Juliana vs. the United States, could proceed. Filed by 21 young plaintiffs, it alleges that the government’s affirmative actions caused climate change, violated the youngest generation’s rights to life, liberty, and property, and failed to protect essential public trust resources.
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