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Volume 12, Number 1

January 3, 2012


Local Adaptation to a New Climate

It is a warm January day in Cambia, California. vations and actions worldwide are creating positive In fact, a recent article in the Tribune suggested this is solutions and adaptations. In what ways are you inthe fourth driest year since 1948, when rainfall meas- creasing your communitys resilience to a changing urement began. Climate change is not a simple subject, climate? Use less water. Thousands of gallons of potabut it is a pertinent one. Adaptation of all life, humans ble H2O are expended on ornamental plants. This is an included, is critical and time is of the essence. absurd luxury considering the population of our planet According to a report from the White House is 7 billion. Most humans will use under five gallons of Council of Environmental quality dealing with the changing climate; projected impacts include more fre- water today; the average American will use over 50 gallons. Locally, water is an immediate way to make a quent heat waves and high-intensity precipitation events, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and more difference. The less demand for water, the less we pull prolonged droughts. The year-round average air tem- from the creek. The more water in the creek, the healthier the whole eco-system becomes. Water from perature in the United States has already risen by drain spouts can be captured and more than 2 degrees F over the past used for irrigation, as can the gray 50 years and is projected to increase water from showers, washing mafurther in the future. On average, wet chines, and (non kitchen) sinks. areas of the United States will become Check the Greenspace website for wetter and dry areas will become driadditional information on water coner. Adding to the challenge of reservation (www.greenspacecambria sponding to these impacts, related changes do not act in isolation Many of us can support a lobut rather interact with and often exCourtship display of the rare Calliope hum- cal food system by shopping at a acerbate the impacts of other nonclimatic stressors such as habitat de- mingbird, vulnerable to the changing climate farmers market and growing a vegetable garden. This eliminates some of the fossil fuel struction, overharvesting, and pollution. consumption and greenhouse gas emission embedded Changes in temperature and rainfall affect when plants blossom and set seed. Birds, insects, and in our food system. Organic farming produces healthier foods and a much healthier environment. We can other animals are born and migrate according to the availability of food. A slight disruption in timing, such use less electricity, have fewer children, carpool, and drive less. We are a consumer country, meaning we as an early bloom, could mean no food for migrating birds. These sorts of changes are complex and interde- have the power to choose what we fund. We can conpendent. Our reliance on these natural cycles will be- tinue to fund a self-serving oil industry that prevents come more apparent. A healthy population of pollina- innovations, or we can make demands, personal sacrifices and create change. tors allows us to produce food for a growing populaUsing less is a mind-set and a deliberate choice. We tion. Climate change puts stress on every facet of our global ecosystem, to which our food system is inextri- are the most privileged people on the face of this planet. And though we feel deserving of resources we concably linked. We have altered the climate and are now living sume, we do not see the negative externalities of our uninhibited consumption. However, individuals and on a changed planet. Reversing the changes weve grassroots organizations worldwide are working to made to our atmosphere will likely take lifetimes. What we can control is how gracefully we adapt. Wait- help those most affected by climate change. Cambrias water conservation is steadily improving. Thanks to ing around for political consensus or timely action from the policy makers is a death sentence. Local inno- concerned citizens, your efforts are paying off.