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By Hoiyin Ip, Dana Point

When did Earth Day grow into Earth Month? Does it mean we can choose any one of the 30 days to do “it” or we should do “it” for all 30 days? Well, let’s first see what they want us to do this year. Is it an easy “do?” Does it save “me” money?

This year’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution.” According to World Economic Forum, by 2050, our oceans are expected to contain more plastic than fish. Essentially, this really means how much plastic we’ll be eating. Plastic, a fossil fuel product, does not biodegrade, instead breaking down into tiny pieces that the fish eat, and then we eat the fish. Another common destination for plastic is the landfill. Since it contains toxic chemicals, landfills then contaminate groundwater. So, it’s a catch-22. There is no away.

I suggest we really try to work on ending plastic pollution every day. It’s not hard, and it saves everyone money. A few easy ways you can help are: Bring your own cup to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, and get 10 cents off, leave the little packets of ketchup and utensils to-go at the restaurant, say no straw by bringing your own water bottle and bag, and support eco-friendly businesses.

Most of these things are single-use plastics that fill up our trash cans, drawers and cabinets quickly. Just like our trash cans, our garages and our homes, Earth has limited space to store junk. Let’s get neat from this month on.

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comments (1)

  • Well said, Hoiyin.

    We have inherited an astonishingly beautiful home and we have accomplished many extraordinary things, but we are changing our only home’s climate by releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

    Since the beginning of our Industrial revolution in 1750 C.E., we have raised the level of CO2 from about 280 parts per million (ppm) to more than 400 ppm. According to World Meteorological Organization secretary-general Petteri Taalas, “The 21st century has so far been a period of the hottest weather, accounting for 17 of the 18 warmest years on record.”
    The effect of this global warming is an increase in the number of heat waves, droughts, wildfires and severe storms that have killed tens of thousands of people and caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage.

    The California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) just released their comprehensive state climate change assessment. The assessment lays out the evidence “from record temperatures to proliferating wildfires and rising seas, climate change poses an immediate and escalating threat to California’s environment, public health, and economic vitality.” The assessment indicates that we are “on track to meet our goal of cutting emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but we may have a harder time hitting our 2030 target—a 40 percent reduction from 1990.”

    The New York Times reported this past week that California, “[l]ong a leader and trendsetter in its clean-energy goals, took a giant step on Wednesday last, becoming the first state to require all new homes to have solar power.” The new requirement, to take effect in two years, brings solar power into the mainstream, but it falls short of the Sebastopol solar ordinance, which requires solar on both new residential and commercial buildings.

    The biggest challenge to meeting our 2030 goals is in our transportation sector. Inside Climate News reports that California “has stringent emissions standards that rely heavily on the future adoption of electric vehicles, but those standards require a federal waiver, which the Trump administration is now threatening to revoke.” Fossil fueled cars, trucks and buses are, in effect, our Achilles’ Heel.

    Electric vehicles amounted to 2.7% of the new car market in California during January, February, and March. California’s Air Resources Board is promoting policies that it hopes will boost that number to 15% by 2025.

    The biggest obstacle facing the sale of electric vehicles is a lack of charging stations. Individual cities could adopt their own version of the Sebastopol solar ordinance, and add an additional mandate that all parking lots greater than 10 spaces must have a solar array with one L2 EV charging station per 10 spaces by 2020

    I applaud San Juan Capistrano’s Mayor Sergio Farias for introducing the City’s first resolution that “supports findings that climate change is happening and that human activities are a key contributor to it and acknowledges that if left unaddressed, the consequences of climate change will adversely impact all Americans.” Unfortunately, the reality is that the resolution is not worth the paper its printed on without action. Will the city:

    • Adopt the more inclusive Sebastopol solar ordinance?
    • Move forward on Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson’s motion to install solar on city facilities?
    • Find a way to motivate mall owners to install solar arrays in their parking lots with 10 or more spaces, with a minimum of one electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) charging station per 10 spaces.
    • Ban fracking within our city limits in order to send a message to Sacramento.
    • Ban plastic bags, wrap and bottles. Plastics are destroying the environment, especially our oceans, which we depend on not only for food, but the oxygen we breath.

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