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CHRIS KRAMER, of the Citizens Climate Lobby, San Juan Capistrano
“Nature. That’s the one thing that tips the balance in terms of living here in California. Within minutes, I can be in a desert, at the ocean, in a park, and that’s the most nourishing food for my soul,” English actress Lara Pulver once said.
Whether we were born here or are transplants, we love our parks, but climate change is having a negative impact on them. The warming ocean and air temperatures concurrent with the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions skyrocketing since the industrial revolution have dire consequences on our more than 280 California State Parks.
A rising sea level and an expected increase in shoreline erosion will shrink popular California State Park beaches, and threaten many facilities.
We have already seen that at Doheny State Beach, with the loss of parking spaces, and at the beach south of Doheny, with the loss of bathrooms, erosion of the walking/bike trail and the loss of the basketball court.
Tide pool animals typical of Southern California are replacing colder-water species along the central coast, competing with local species.
A few inches of sea-level rise could mean the loss of thousands of acres of valuable wildlife habitat.
Some spring wildflowers are already blooming earlier than before, disturbing their relationship with pollinators.
In Joshua Tree, the loss of trees will reduce bird species by 40%.
The State Park System’s 1.6 million acres are a rich storehouse of biodiversity, and the park works to preserve, protect and expand park wildlands to make it possible for many climate-threatened species to survive.
Our parks are doing their part to reduce greenhouse gases by making their facilities more energy-efficient, relying more on solar power, and using lower-emission vehicles.
But even with these actions, human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are changing California. Regardless of Earth’s historical fluctuations between warm and cool, wet and dry, the proven relationship between increasing temperature and dramatic CO2 levels since the 1800s is fact. To save the planet from runaway temperature rise, we must stop the increase in the atmospheric C02
Please read the excellent web version of the park’s brochure “Climate Change and California State Parks” for more information.
And don’t be discouraged. You can make a difference by reducing your “carbon footprint.”