Join KPBS For A Weeklong Look At San Diego’s Climate Crisis
Speaker 1: 00:00 It used to be an inconvenient truth. Now it's a fact of life. Climate change is no longer about the future. It's affecting us here and now. But what can we do to confront the challenges of a changing climate and what can we do to stop making it worse? Well, this week KPBS is joining hundreds of news organizations from across the globe to bring home the realities of a warming planet. Today, Mid Day edition is dedicating the entire show to the subject. We begin with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson giving us a glimpse of how the climate crisis touches different corners of the San Diego region. Speaker 2: 00:38 The threat of wildfire is a fact of life in San Diego. But a fire season that used to spend the late summer and early fall is now year-round. That means bigger risks and higher costs for people like Amy Quinland who makes the back country or home. Speaker 3: 00:53 So, uh, we kind of during the dry season, have to kind of get up during the night and go outside and check and see if there's anything. So, um, paying attention to what's happening. It's always, always kind of in the back of your mind. Speaker 2: 01:07 This mindset is the new normal says David Victor or UC San Diego professor and an expert on climate change policy. The protective measures we take to protect structures, houses in the middle of the forest, um, communities that have been burned, uh, protect them against, uh, against future fires that might involve simple things like much bigger fire breaks. It might involve much more active identification of fires early on. And then next thing you know, you're in effect managing the entire, at least woody ecosystem because of your concerns about fire. Speaker 4: 01:41 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 01:41 when Pine Valley Resident Major Robert Langston signed up for California as Army National Guard, he knew his duties would include dealing with the impacts of fire. He didn't know it would be almost his entire job. Men and women with the guard are not only deployed to manage evacuations during wildfires, they're now fighting fires and building firebreak. Speaker 3: 02:02 Our level of support has been increasing. We're providing more support to, especially while on fire. So from a firefighter perspective, I mean, you know, for whatever reason, yeah, fires are getting more and more intense. Speaker 4: 02:16 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 02:16 San Diego counties, climate change impacts don't end at the forest edge. They're also felt up and down the coast. Carlsbad's aqua farm is a small hatchery that's been selling oysters and mussels to restaurants for 50 years. Production manager, Matt Stinky, says acidification caused by warming oceans devastated the industry a decade ago Speaker 5: 02:36 when ocean acidification hit the Pacific northwest. Um, they were reporting a 90 to 95% failure in their normal production. And you ended up with a lot of farmers who had open space to grow things and they were unable to buy seed. And that problem persisted for a few years. Speaker 2: 02:52 The threat is becoming more dire. Dan Kn, a researcher with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography says, the warmer water is in essence choking off the food supply a warmer the oceans get, uh, the less oxygen it can can, uh, accommodate and, uh, low oxygen is, is not good in general for ecosystems at the southern edge of the county. In Imperial Beach, the urgency is sea level rise. Coastal flooding is something California as beach community has always dealt with, but sea level rise expert Robert Guzman says it's getting worse. Rising sea level will take a chronic problem, shortage of sand, and she how bad it can get by just flooding the beaches on top of it that are already sand starved. Imperial beach lifeguard, Captain Roberts, Dave now grew up surfing in IBS waves. Now it's his job to protect residents and property when waves wash into city streets, Speaker 6: 03:55 climate change that they've been talking about it for the last five, 10 years. You know, you've been hearing more and more about possible climate change and sea level rise, and, and now we're actually seeing the impacts. Um, it's real. Speaker 2: 04:11 As these stories unfold, it'll become even more apparent that San Diego is in the grips of a climate crisis. Eric Anderson, KPBS news.