STEM Opinion: Climate concerns in Southern California worsen

By AVALON SALVADORE

The Jensen Alvarado Historic Ranch and Museum is in the process of becoming a food garden for the community, one that operates organically and environmentally safe. (Ethic photo/Avalon Salvadore.) 

The climate in San Bernardino County is known as a steppe climate but as air pollution levels rise, farming concerns grow and annual wildfires continue to burn, there’s an outcry for climate awareness. In the community, hundreds of youths and adults in San Bernardino participated in the Global Climate March on September 20, an event which Environmental Club at Citrus Valley High School helped promote and participate in. Environmental Club also made posters and helped inform other students about the event and the cause. Our climate is changing and we need to change with it. If we want our community to continue to thrive, we must take action. 

As California comes out of the drought that has plagued the state for years, we need to continue conserving water. Many families in Redlands have converted to drought-tolerant lawns, low-spray sprinklers and even drip-irrigation style watering systems. According to studies conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, drip irrigation can dramatically increase crop yields, which can contribute to the healthy growth of modern day drought-tolerant yard. The drip systems release about half the amount of water that standard sprinklers do as the water does not evaporate when sprayed into the air during watering. 

In 2019, the cities of Loma Linda and Malibu were awarded $50,000 in effort to finance climate adaptations, as reported by the San Bernardino Sun. The $50,000 will go to support local efforts to fight wildfires, drought, rising sea levels and flooding. The city of Malibu has announced that it is using the grant money to create a “community resilience and adaptation plan.” The money will provide a jumpstart to craft an actionable plan to change the Malibu community for the better. The grant donated to the city of Loma Linda will also help San Bernardino County become eligible for a federal hazard mitigation grant. The money is received through the SoCalGas Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Planning Grant program and is “provided by shareholders” which “will not impact any gas bills or tax paying dollars,” according to the Los Angeles Times. With Loma Linda and Malibu actively helping the fight against climate change, more and more cities will and should follow in their footsteps.  

The wildfires of 2019 destroyed an estimated 259,823 acres according to a survey by Cal Fire. A total of 7,860 fires started in 2019 and resulted in a total of 22 nonfatal injuries and five fatalities. Wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape as without simple surface fires the ground cannot be cleared of debris, preventing any new growth from taking root. The problem now with California’s fires is that once they overtake hundreds of acres at a time, it devastates many communities in one fatal swoop. “Warm spring and dry summer temperatures, reduced snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons,” reports the Center of Disaster of Philanthropy; under these conditions, the fires will continue and worsen as global temperatures rise. Moreover, large brush fires are no longer only affecting California but fire catastrophes are occurring worldwide. Projections from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that we will likely to see more extreme daily temperatures with an 8-14 degree increase in Fahrenheit by the year 2100. Every year our world and our lives get warmer without any relief at the end of the tunnel. Our window to make a difference in the world of climate change is narrowing with each passing day.

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