Californians have certainly felt the effects of climate change: We see the cloud of smog over our downtown buildings, have read the freeway warnings telling us to use less water due to the drought and had heat waves setting record high temperatures, then experienced one of the coldest, rainiest winters southern California has ever experienced.
This past Saturday, April 22, was Earth Day. According to EarthDay.org, this year’s theme focused on “climate literacy to empower global citizens with knowledge to inspire action for environmental protection.”
In celebration of Earth Day, the climate community marched in downtown Los Angeles to show they valued the state of the planet in the Los Angeles March for Science.
In this particular march for science, many were protesting the certain officials in government not acknowledging climate change being a real issue.
Some signs read: “Scientific Evidence Trumps Alternative Facts,”
“Climate>Opinion,” “Science=Real” and “Science not Silence.”
Californians have made it loud and clear that they do not agree with some individuals in the current administration who don’t believe in the severity of climate change.
Our governor is even fighting back against prudent environmental policy changes.
“Gutting the Clean Power Plan is a colossal mistake, and defies science itself,” Brown said. “Erasing climate change may take place in Donald Trump’s mind, but nowhere else.”
Governor Jerry Brown has also said that California will not surrender to the roll back on the release of carbon dioxide gases that are destroying our ozone layer and depleting the earth.
California resides under a labor program that recognizes its direct negative effects of toxic pollutants. California has a unique ability to set tougher restrictions than federal standards.
An example of an aggressive policy is the new 12 cent tax on gas that is meant to improve California’s roads and infrastructure. Automakers are also being strongly encouraged to build more hybrid cars for California regulations.
California politicians are trying to raise the price of gas so the public is forced to either buy clean emission cars or take public transportation.
California has also recently launched their cap and trade program which uses a market-based mechanism to lower greenhouse gas emissions. According to their website, this program is only second in size to the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.
Scientists are in the process of studying how to contain solar energy for renewable use. This would be a big step forward for the state if we patented this technology.
Charles Chen, Ph.D. ecologist and professor of biology, global change and plant physiology at Azusa Pacific University believes science should lead policy.
Chen compared the current administration to the Reagan administration, another pro-business conservative leader who used science as a basis of his international policy and did not deny facts.
Former president Reagan worked with Margaret Thatcher to form the Montreal Protocol. Regulations under the protocol managed the production of chemicals that deplete the ozone according to research from scientists the UK and California. A financial system was created to enable developing countries to comply with the treaty.
“This protocol was the most successful treaty because science was respected and taken seriously,” Chen said.
California has the potential to be one of the world leaders in innovative effort to slow down climate change. We have all felt the effects.
Katie Kimanzi, assistant director for the global learning engagement program, said everyone is to blame.
“Climate stewardship is not everyone’s priority which is in itself a problem,” Kimanzi said.
She recognized that a lifestyle change may be the result of a climate-first mentality.
Jennifer and Kenneth Teetermoore, Los Angeles March for Science organizers and volunteers said they are both willing to make life changes in their dedication to be better stewards to the planet.
“Right now we live in Orange Country so there isn’t public transportation that could take us to [downtown Los Angeles]. My husband and I are actually looking for a place that has better public transportation so we can use it, “Teetermoore said.
That is the main factor: asking whether or not we are willing to make the necessary sacrifices for the planet, or wait around until it’s too late.