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10 Things We All Can Do To Help Mitigate Climate Change In San Diego

Climate Science Alliance
A poster from the Climate Science Alliance with 10 things everyone can do to help mitigate climate change in San Diego.
10 Things We All Can Do To Help Mitigate Climate Change In San Diego
10 Things We All Can Do To Help Mitigate Climate Change In Our Own Backyard GUEST: Amber Pairis, director, Climate Science Alliance

News about climate change can make people feel helpless. But there are researchers working on ways for communities to mitigate the effects of climate change in their own backyards. The Climate Science Alliance partnering with Scripps Institution of Oceanography has just published a pocket guide with ten things we all can do to help take the pressure off wildlife and the natural landscape around us. Joining me is Dr Amber Paris director of the Climate Science Alliance and Amber welcome to the program. Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here. Since so much of the impact of climate change is still unfolding how do you determine how climate change will affect local communities like San Diego. So we actually do have the research to really understand what those impacts look like and we're building off a huge breadth of information whether it's the climate science coming out of Scripps or the Omaid amazing understanding of our natural resources and ecosystems. So what is so telling about this project is that really came out of a really unique partnership between climatologists and ecologists coming together to really understand the state of science. So what do we already know and how do those pieces fit together and what is really remarkable about this is these scientists came together with no funding and no mandate to do this. They came together because they really believed that the work can be applied now and we can start to take actions based on what we already know. And so this pairing was really unique in that the climatologists would say this is what we know about sea surface temperature. This is what we know about precipitation variability and the ecologist would be across the table and they will say well that's going to happen. This is what's going to happen for soil moisture and this is what's going to happen for plants and animals. And so it really was this unique kind of interdisciplinary approach to really understand what that looks like on the ground. Can you tell us what it looks like on the ground here in San Diego. Can you give us some specific examples. Absolutely. So our story about climate impacts in our region is really a story of extremes. We can expect more extreme temperatures. We can expect those temperatures to last for longer. So that means we're going to have these longer prolonged heat events. It means that our nighttime temperatures are not going to drop the way they used to so usually physiologically our bodies and also for our wildlife they need that nighttime cooling to cool themselves down for your body to respond. So without that we're under more stress. So we expect these more extreme temperatures to last for longer. We expect more variability in our precipitation. So that means we're going to go longer without rain. And then when that rain comes it's going to be heavy and a lot and fast and then with those responses we're going to see more fuel on the ground which is going to lead into potential for more fire. So when you have these kind of extremes happening it leads to you know more vegetation drier conditions more potential for fire and we have to keep in mind that people are still the major driver of that fire. But we're creating conditions with which that can happen more frequently. Now you published the findings in a new pocket guide that people in San Diego will be able to pick up at their local libraries. What will people learn from that guide. Aside from what you've just told us what can they do to help mitigate what is apparently going to happen here in San Diego. So we know from these impacts that these extremes are going to be harder on people and wildlife. And so you know there's a lot of things we can do to help reduce these existing stressors on our wildlife and help sort of give wildlife a break take that pressure off of them. So even the little things you can do with planting native plants in your garden putting in a pollinator garden these are all things that give animals some respect. We can do a lot more in sort of helping our state and federal wildlife agencies and looking at Habitat connectivity and giving animals and plants the ability to move if they can and adjust. So it's about taking that pressure off the alliance has been working with San Diego of all ages to educate about the changes coming in the natural world. Here's what Pacific Beach Elementary students Sophia learned of an alliance field trip last year. The next generation. So if you are. The next generation know that there are sure things like elephants fish sharks. Sea crabs and all the other life. You have. Do your share that. What's the goal of teaching children so young about climate change. Well I think a lot about this and the fact that I my work in really my life is really focused on these climate change issues. I really spend a lot of time with climate scientists enough to be really scared but we can not be hindered by that fear and we have to find those reasons for hope and that was really what started the climate kids program which is I have two young children of my own and I think a lot about how do I talk to them about climate change in a way that's not scary in a way that's going to really empower them to be leaders now and in the future. And so the climate kids program was all brought about under this strong belief that I do not want my children or any children in this generation growing up with the cloud of denial over their head that has stopped us as a society from taking actions. We need to mainstream this understanding that climate change is happening. We're seeing these impacts and that we have a new future ahead of us and it's up to us to shape that future. And so with that working with kids and using hands on science and art and storytelling we're giving them that science information but we're also giving them solutions they can take right now to address those impacts and to be leaders in our community whether you're 5 years old you're 15 years old or you're 85 years old so you have children learning from your research what about state and local leaders. Are they using the research to help us adapt our region to the impacts of climate change. Absolutely we can be really proud in our region but also at the state level of the role that we are taking and being leaders on climate. And so whether you're working in the natural resource community you work in community health everyone is really trying to think about how we bring climate in and this understanding of the climate science. And that's really our role in the climate science alliances to you know help advance the research but really translate and disseminate the information so that people can use it. And that's really the role that we've been playing with this report with the Fourth Assessment and always trying to really get that information out there. After all the disturbing news about climate change increased wildfires the droughts sea level rise et cetera all the things that we've been hearing. Do you think people will be open to using your guide or does the problems seem too big. Well I think that's part of the problem in dwelling too much on the doom and gloom we need this science we need to understand what's happening but there's so many things that we can do about that and everyone plays a role. So if you think of this as a huge jigsaw puzzle everybody's got a piece to play and if you're just on your own with your couple of pieces it seems hard to see how it fits together. But if everybody is working on a couple of those pieces whether it's at the federal state level whether it's around policy whether you're working in your community to address different issues whether you're just taking action in your own backyard. Everybody has a role to play and when those pieces come together that's when we really can see the benefits of doing so much more together than we can do alone. I've been speaking with Amber Harris she's director of the Climate Science Alliance the Climate Science Alliance pocket guides will be available at all 36 branches of San Diego Library System in October. Amber thank you. Thank you. Pleasure to be here with you.

News about climate change can make people feel helpless. But there are researchers in San Diego working on ways for communities to mitigate the effects of climate change in their own backyards.

The Climate Science Alliance in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography has just published a pocket guide with 10 things we all can do to help take the pressure off wildlife and the natural landscape around us.

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Amber Pairis, director of the Climate Science Alliance, joins Midday Edition Wednesday.

The Climate Science Alliance pocket guides will be available at all 36 branches of the San Diego library system in October.