Any rapid change in a regional climate is more likely to produce detrimental effects that far outweigh the beneficial ones. — C.F. Baes
March 2004 went out with unparalleled beauty and unmatched temperatures, of course few found reason to complain about clear blue skies and perfect beach weather, myself included. Although not complaining, a chorus of reporters and weather persons made note of the unseasonably warm weather and record-breaking temperatures. There was also reports of a hurricane that wasn't a "hurricane" in the South Atlantic, another first in the annuals of recorded history.
Coincidence? I think not.
Regardless of what the Bush Administration would like us to believe, weather patterns are shifting. Granted there is still a lot of data to be gathered, there always is, but that should not prevent the people of California from erring on the side of precaution and begin redesigning the way we live our lives. Human actions have an impact on the immediate environment; this is no longer in dispute. As we will see, inaction also plays a role in determining the quality of life available to Californians.
Here in Southern California it is hard to distinguish between natural fluctuation in climatic conditions and human impact on the environment. The are also questions pertaining to El Nino and La Nina, disruptions of the ocean-atmosphere system that have yet to be fully understood. All we do know is climate change is real, and it is getting hotter here in the land of sprawl and crawl.
Weather phenomenon aside, behavior and technologies associated with human communities have a detrimental effect on those same communities. The question before the people of California is how much damage is being done to future sustainability We should also ask ourselves how long we can ignore global warnings.
I was in France before the European Heat wave of 2003 heat claimed more than 19,000 people. Had I been to France before maybe I would have noticed their unusually hot weather? Sure the Paris Metro was like a subterranean sauna, as a tourist I considered that normal for the end of June. The locals didn't seem to mind. The weather was beautiful, and most Europeans were unaware that Australia had just experienced a recording breaking drought that decimated crops and reduced farm and fisheries production by more than a fifth.
The European death toll is an obvious harbinger of things to come.
Global warming is a reality. And just as France must comes to terms with ecological disasters so too must the people of California. It is obvious the Federal government of the United States of America, can not be expected to provide leadership of the issue of Global Warming. The Bush Administration rejected the Kyoto Agreement in keeping with the wishes of their corporate masters, and has systematically endeavored to discredit those responsible for sound scientific judgments regarding associated with rapid climate change.
With a failure of federal leadership Californians must prepare themselves, the looming crisis.
Yes, I enjoyed the early hint of summer. Yet, as a native of Southern California I knew, and know, that summer days in late March are not normal. Shifting weather patterns does not bode well, how can it? The challenge for California is three-fold. First we must admit the Global warming is real and climate change is happening. Second, it is vital that Californians shift our consumption patterns immediately away from the burning of fossil fuels and all petrochemical production. Third is the imperative to redesign our communities in order to adapt to a warmer world.
More air conditioning is not the answer.
Some solutions have long been recognized. Solar generated mass transit is one, maintaining healthy forest ecosystems is another. As to be expected the Bush Administration is not in favor of either of those.
Californians can no longer afford the luxury of denial.