Water Rationing. Super Heat. Climate change is happening in your neighborhood. That's what concerned activists want you to know. "Heat waves of 95 degrees-plus are increasing," said Jerry Schubel, Oceanographer and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. "Our children will live in a warmer world," he added. "2012 was the hottest year in U.S. history," according to Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of "Climate Resolve," an LA group dedicated to inspiring more public action.
Schubel, Parfrey and other experts spoke during a panel discussion called "Global Climate Change – Can Humanity Survive?" A packed crowd attended the recent program at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. "We're not here to debate whether it is real, because it is," said Mat Kaplan, public radio science series host.
"Humanity can survive, but we must 'de-carbonize' society," said Schubel. The amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere continues to increase. "The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation," according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
"This is a global problem and people must get behind the effort to solve it," said Parfrey.
Most scientists suggest the solutions are the same from Pasadena to Paris. Driving a hybrid, electric or fuel efficient gas-only vehicles helps reduce the impact of climate change. Bike or walk if you have to go someplace close to home.
Experts also urge residents to step up their efforts to reuse and recycle. Go beyond aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Recycled storm water can be used for landscaping. Community and backyard gardens put fresh produce right at your doorstep, saving you time, money and a trip to the grocery store.
Plant more trees for shade. "Climate Resolve" wants to see more "cool roofs" in Los Angeles and beyond. "Cool roofs reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere, rather than letting heat build up inside homes, apartments and businesses," according to the group's website.
"Climate Resolve" says that means people will use their air conditioners less and save money on utility bills.
[Reva Hicks is a freelance writer who worked for more than 30 years at Channel 4 in Los Angeles.]