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San Diego Nonprofit Helps Grandparents Join The Fight Against Climate Change

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Stay Cool for Grandkids aims to inform and engage grandparents and seniors with the goal of them becoming advocates on climate change issues.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Young people are often leading the way in forcing the national conversation on action to combat climate change. The sunrise movement and widely publicized September marches and over 200 cities worldwide were led by high school students and college students. But what about the very young toddlers in grammar school? Kids, they have the most to lose in a rapidly warming world, yet have no voice in the debate as part of coverage from the KPBS climate change desk, David Ingle and Linda Pratt of the group stay cool for grandkids. Spoke to Mark Sauer, host of the KPBS round table. Here's that interview,

Speaker 2: 00:38 David, you started stay cool for grandkids with your wife. Peg in 2013 what was the inspiration for starting the group? Oh, we had our first grandchild. It was born a file. It as she's now seven. And we were thinking about what her future was going to be like under the scenarios that we were aware of that, uh, are going to be happening or could, could happen. And then we wanted to preserve the best possible future climate future for her. So a, what would you say is your organization's mission statement?

Speaker 3: 01:10 Well, our mission is to educate and inform and engage people of our age group, whether or not they are grandparents or not, and to get them to be informed advocates for really strong climate policy because we know it's not just our generation, but it's generations to follow that are going to be suffering the most from climate change. Right. And it's an urgency for our group, middle aged and older folks, but far more reality in terms of the worst to come as we see over and over again in the science and in the studies that are done constantly on this. How do you go about getting people urgent about the future who may not be there then but their kids and grandkids will? Well, we try to put a face to the future. 2050 is the time when people continue to talk about some of the most horrific climate change impacts. While in 2050 my grandkids are going to be in their twenties and thirties and I can't let a day go by where I don't try to do something to try to make some reasonable changes in policies and actions that people are taking now. And can you give us an overview of the types of programs that the your organization puts on?

Speaker 2: 02:29 Where we started was offering programs, educational programs for grandparents and other adults and we utilized our local resource that Scripps institution of oceanography who has a lot of really world renowned scientists and we invited some of them. Charlie Cannell, the former director was one of our first speaker. Uh, Richard Somerville was one of our first speakers. Both of those guys are really well known around the world and uh, you know, most we had rom Hermano [inaudible] as a, as a speaker. We actually honored rom for all that he's done for, for grandkids and gave him like the grandkids climate hero award. Uh, so that's, that's one of the things that we do. The other, the other really important thing that we do is education for, for children climate education. And specifically or should climate education. And we've partnered again with Scripps institution of oceanography. We uh, utilize some of their grad students and we put on a two hour lecture course on ocean warming and ocean acidification I complete with, with uh, demonstrations and experiments that they do in class and it's become very popular with the teachers.

Speaker 2: 03:46 Well, I'm glad you brought that up. I have three granddaughters, ages five and younger myself and talking to them about climate change seems kind of out of the question because it's so scary in terms of, of what really is some of the dire of predictions that scientists are making. But, but you're saying you can speak to young kids about conservation and about knowledge of, of the oceans and the earth. Absolutely. You know, I've heard that theory that it's too scary for kids. We talked to sixth graders and believe me, they're plenty ready for, for hearing about this. We also emphasize the scientific part of it, so they will understand that, you know, CO2 is, is a gas and it's a heat trapping gas. And we explain how it also causes acidification of the oceans. So a good foundation of knowledge, very good, very, very strong scientific foundation so that they can understand what they're reading in the papers and actually hopefully teach their parents. All right. And Linda, you've had a career in environmental protection, large role in creating the city of San Diego climate action plan, which is a very aggressive one among American cities. I wanted to ask you, who makes up your organization? Who's joined so far?

Speaker 3: 04:56 Wow. We have such an amazing group of people. So just on our advisory council we have the amazing David angle and peg angle, you know, who understand science very well. We have, um, the previous planning director from SANDAG. Uh, we have myself who has been very active, you know, in environmental policy. We have a number of people who are in the education field who are now just wanting to continue to give back. I have to tell you, it is my favorite volunteer organization. When I retired I had to decide what I wanted to invest my time in and I am passionate about this organization because of the high caliber of folks who are, who participate.

Speaker 2: 05:40 And, uh, Linda, when you hold discussions and events in the community, what are they like? What sort of feedback and enthusiasm do you get from people?

Speaker 3: 05:47 Well, we do a couple of things. Let me tell you about a couple of our recent field trips. One of them was to dr Jeff Severin house's climate ice lab at Scripps institution of oceanography where we got to see a real ice core and got to see how they measured co two emissions, um, through history as it were. Absolutely. And that was fascinating and we have taken a behind the scenes tour of the airport, San Diego airport and all the sustainability measures that place there, which was also enlightening and inspiring because you know, as you said, this is scary to think about things moving forward and our grandkids suffering all of the major consequences. But when we see all the good work that a number of organizations are doing, I am more hopeful. Our recent lecture was from dr Randerson from UC Irvine and he talked about wildfires and why Santa Ana's are so much more powerful now than they used to be. So those kinds of things really inform our members and all of them, you know, seem to really get a lot out of it. And we, and we enjoy that. We also do, you know, hikes in parks with grandkids, the King tide. We did a field trip where we had grandkids come with us, you know, to look at the King tide and understand what causes that. So lots of great things going on.

Speaker 2: 07:10 And David, uh, Linda touched on a point there where it's easy to get discouraged if you read so much of the studies and what the projections are, especially if you look at the more dire ends of things. How do you keep your, your own hope and enthusiasm up because you don't want to discourage kids and grandkids. They're the ones who have to take this a battle into the future. Uh, that's a difficult question. Truthfully, I don't always keep my spirits up. I do get depressed about it then. I think that's probably a realistic way to deal with it. But I do take heart and the fact that if we really do put our minds to it, there are solutions. And we can, we probably can't prevent what's going to happen, but maybe the worst of it, maybe the worst we can, we can lessen the worst of it. And that's what we really are focused on. I've been speaking with David angle and Linda Pratt of the organization. Stay cool for grandkids. Thanks very much. Thank you so much. Thank you, Mark.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.