Joanna Clark, San Juan Capistrano
Global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat. It is happening now. Global warming has brought about major changes in global climate and, as a result of these changes, California is experiencing the worst drought in our recorded history, and it could get worse. Researchers from NASA, Cornell and Columbia universities are predicting an 80 percent chance of a mega drought if climate change continues unabated.
If we are going to save the future for our children and grandchildren, the City Councils of San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and Dana Point need to weigh how their decisions can be harmful or helpful in addressing climate change. Local decisions can have a cumulative effect on state, national and global climate change consequences: drought, storm severity, wild fires, ocean acidification and sea level rise.
NASA reported that California has a 11 trillion gallon water deficit. Scientists are reporting that we could be out of water in the next 12 to 18 months. Drought, population growth and a growing reliance on unconventional well stimulation technologies known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), hi-rate gravel packing, and acidizing pose a significant threat to our food and water supply.
Western States Petroleum Association has spent more than $23,987,896 to help pass legislation that will result in the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in Orange County and throughout the state. Hydraulic fracturing leaves behind millions of gallons of toxic waste water that must be safely disposed of, and that is the problem. Present disposal technologies present a significant threat to our water and food supplies. How do you like your coffee, with or without benzene?
Consequently each council needs to take a serious look at how hydraulic fracturing is affecting the air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat.
Not having $23,987,896 to buy a seat at the table in Sacramento, we can get a seat if we follow the New York’s lead. More than 200 cities and townships in New York banned fracking within their city limits forcing the governor to ban the procedure statewide. San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and Dana Point should join the 20 cities and counties in California that have enacted, or are in the process of enacting, bans on fracking. (See addendum.)
We also need to begin addressing global warming and climate change head-on. Here are four areas where the city could have an impact on our children and grandchildren’s future. In addition to banning hydraulic fracturing within our respective city limits, each council needs to:
- Make our cities neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV)- and electric vehicle (EVs)-friendly through projects like those in San Francisco and San Diego. (San Diego’s Solar-to-EV project, one of the first of its kind, established charging stations that use energy from the sun to directly charge plug-in EVs, store solar power for future use, and provide renewable energy to the surrounding community.)
- Adopt the leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) standards. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources, saving money for families, businesses and taxpayers, while reducing carbon emissions and creating a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. Join 28 other cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco in requiring LEED certification of buildings.
- Join Sebastopol and Lancaster in requiring all new construction—commercial and residential—to include solar systems that must provide a minimum of two watts of power per square foot or offset 75 percent of the structure’s electricity needs.
Please, let’s not sit this one out. Join the scores of cities, states and countries in helping prevent human-caused catastrophes.