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Video excerpt from SAL/UER workshop on racism at the Global Climate Action Summit

Draft Program on Climate Change, for your comments (updated March 5, 2019) (short version now available)

 

Hi RCers,

I want to tell you a little bit about what is happening in San Fransico
this week as part of telling my story. California is a very big state.
Although it is just one state it is the 5th biggest economy in the world.
It is 100 million acres of land and 43 million acres of that land is used
to produce food. California grows and raises most of the food in the US.


Global warming has had a big impact on California and the people, animals, and plants here. Mostly here global warming has lead to droughts. And the droughts have to lead to increased fires. In addition, oppressive and unthoughtful land use policies in urban, suburban and rural areas have caused many problems.

In the last several years, fires have burned bigger and faster than any
year before. This year has been the same. Although fires have always been part of the ecology in California, what is happening now is the result of human-caused global warming.

Now there are fires burning in the Southern and Northern parts of the
state. Over 250,000 thousand people have been evacuated from their homes,  over 6,500 homes have burned down and many people have been killed or injured. The fires burn so fast and strong that sometimes people's cars catch fire as they are escaping, they die in their cars, they have to abandon their cars and run, or they make it to a shelter and all of the plastic exteriors of the car has melted.

San Francisco is an urban city of 890,000 people in 47 square miles at sea level and is set on a peninsula surrounded by water on 3 sides (the Pacific Ocean and a bay). The closest area that is on fire is about 221 miles from my house and about 5 hours by car. The town there has been completely . burned to the ground. The smoke from that fire (called the Camp Fire because it started on Campfire Road) have come to San Francisco and caused many people I know to get sick. Not only are the fumes from burning plants hard for people, but also all of the chemicals in the building materials that burn are very toxic. (Typically after a large area burns down with many structures it is declared a toxic waste site by the federal government because there are so many toxins left behind in the soil, water, and air).

In San Francisco schools are open but children can't go outside to play.
The air quality part of the state government has recommended people do not go outside, exercise outside or open windows. There are a large number of people who can't afford to have inside places to live and are forced to live on sidewalks in tents or in the open air, and the fires are especially hard on them because they don't get a break from the fumes. I have a special mask that has a respirator on it that I wear most of the time when I leave my apartment.  Typically this is a time of year when the sky is very blue and clear, but now the days have very little light and the smoke covers the tops of the trees.

Global warming is also causing the ocean and bay that surrounds San
Francisco to become more acidic.  The acid is causing all kinds of life
forms to die. Every year more and more large animals (like whales) wash up on the shore. Also, the fish that are caught off the coast of California often have stomachs that are filled with small pieces of plastic, which is . made from the fossil fuel that creates carbon emissions. People I know who eat fish have found they have very high levels of toxins that are similar to the toxins that come from these plastics.

This week the Governor of California is pushing forward a policy of trading the carbon that California produces at the expense of indigenous people's well being in South America and will actually incentivize an increase in carbon emissions. Indigenous groups based in California are leading the fight to stop California's adoption of this carbon offset program called REDD. To read more about REDD go here
<https://caleja.org/2016/02/stop-redd-from-harming-communities-locally-and-globally/>.
This week there will be demonstrations at the state capitol to work to prevent REDD. Industrial practices, the carbon trading industry and government policies in California are part of the problem of what is creating global warming. These policies, industries, and practices are harming people around the world and they are harming people here in California and San Francisco.

I would love to hear your story. Will you write something about how global warming is impacting you and your people?

With Love,
Chris Selig
San Francisco, California, USA

 


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00