How to Become a Grandparent Advocate

More voices need to be heard in the public sphere to help motivate our elected officials and governmental agencies to take action against global warming. Grandparents and seniors have the time and the ear of our civic leaders to sound the alarm. When more citizens show public support for climate change action and sustainable policies, our elected representatives will start to act.

How can you become an agent of change, or what we like to call a “grandparent advocate”? There are some easy ways to make your voice heard. One is to write a letter to your congressional representative. (Click here to learn who represents you.)

Or, send a letter to the media – many climate change skeptics submit opinion letters to U-T San Diego and they publish an unbalanced view of our region’s opinion on the topic.  You can submit a letter to the U-T San Diego editor either in response to an article/editorial or just because. Keep in mind the U-T requests that your letter be 125 words or less, although they sometimes publish slightly longer letters.

how to write a letter to the editor on climate change

how to write a letter to the editor on climate change

Here are general tips when writing letters to elected officials or the media:

  • Identify yourself as a credible messenger: provide a brief background and share that you are concerned about the likely risks global warming poses for our children and grandkids. Speak to global warming from your personal perspective.
  • Stick to a few key points and repeat them. Get to the point immediately, and make it a strong point! Boil down your message into one or two concise, compelling sentences.
  • Use easy-to-understand language and avoid jargon.
  • Make clear why the issue matters and why it is a local issue.
  • Emphasize what is known and irrefutable, and frame the information in a way that speaks to your audience.
  • Tap into shared community values, such as security, safety, responsibility, health, prosperity, etc.
  • Emphasize commonsense, practical solutions.
  • Focus on the economic benefits: job creation, dollars saved, costs avoided, etc.

(To read more resources and key message points, click here to view meeting notes from our March 6, 2014 STAY COOL meeting.)

Finally, talk with your friends and family about global warming issues that will impact future generations. (Click here to view meeting notes from our March 6, 2014 STAY COOL meeting and look at the bottom of the page for an easy-to-remember mnemonic.) Share your years of experience with a member of the next generation to inform them how the causes and consequences of global warming will affect the future.

Want to do more? STAY COOL needs to establish a critical mass of members to help advance our climate communications goals. Here’s how you can help us grow our membership:

 

 

Planning for climate change with high climate variability – May 14 Meeting Recap

Thank you to the 18 members and guests who attended our May 14 meeting featuring Dr. Dan Cayan, director of the Climate Research Division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO).

Dr. Cayan has been with SIO since 1972 and is one of the Southwest’s leading experts on climate variability and impacts of climate change on water resources.  He presented to STAY COOL members a synopsis of recent research findings regarding climate change effects in California.

To view Dr. Cayan’s presentation slides titled “Planning for climate change on top of already high climate variability,” click here: CayanSlides_StayCoolSanDiego_05142014

Below are highlights of Dr. Cayan’s presentation:

  • California’s Mediterranean and coast-mountain setting is primed for high vulnerability to climate change impacts.
  • California is remarkable in having only about 120 days a year to accumulate two-thirds of annual precipitation. California’s year-to-year amount of precipitation. Is most volatile in U.S.
  • California climate is highly variable. Climate change will exacerbate existing climate stresses and cause new ones. California’s warmest winter on record was this past winter (2013-2014).
  • From year-to-year we can go to less than a third of average rain fall to more than 3 times the average rain fall.
  • California and the western U.S. have warmed over the last several decades, leading to changes in hydrologic and associated measures.
  • Virtually all GHG emission types have been increasing (methane, CO2, etc.). CO2 emissions stay in atmosphere for over 100 years.  CH4 has shorter life in atmosphere but is potent GHG.  Our climate has clearly warmed beyond what can be expected from normal variability, as shown by computer modeling.
  • Summer warms more than winter, in part because the land surface is drying out in summer.  Instead of some of heat energy going into evaporation (of land moisture) the energy totally goes into warming the atmosphere.
  • Warming drives loss of spring snowpack in coastal and Sierra mountain ranges– putting our local water supply at risk.
  • Sea levels are rising as well; mid-range estimates predict 3 feet sea level rise from 2000 to 2100.
  • Although there are large uncertainties, we can expect substantial changes in many systems. If climate change follows high end trajectory, changes will be enormous.

California needs to plan and adapt:

  • Monitoring of physical, biological and human systems is needed to understand processes, inform models and detect changes.
  • Continued investigation of regional changes from historical observations and from evolving global and regional models is needed.
  • Impacts cover range of sectors and systems—interdisciplinary approach is needed.
  • Rapid changes and science findings requires ongoing communication with decision makers.

How can you make a difference and help the effort in the San Diego region?

As Dan suggested, our region must plan and adapt to the coming climate changes. Our regional planning agency, SANDAG, is charged with long-term planning to ensure we reduce our emissions and develop policies that will allow us to adapt.

SANDAG is currently combining and updating the region’s two big picture planning documents into one comprehensive plan called “San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan.” The Regional Plan will provide a framework for our region’s housing, transportation, a vibrant economy, community health, social equity, borders, and environmental protection.

In an effort to bring greater focus to the Regional Plan, SANDAG staff prepared a series of white papers that inform the development of the plan. The SANDAG Draft White Paper on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation is available for public review from until May 19, 2014.

Share your public comments with us at sarah@staycool4grandkids.org and we will submit them. Or, submit your comments directly to SANDAG. All public comments must be sent to allison.wood@sandag.org no later than May 19, 2014.

At the meeting we welcomed 4 new Advisory Board members:  Bob Leiter, Marty Eberhardt, Brad Zlotnick and Sue Randerson.  We also noted the imminent arrival of SC4G’s first summer intern, Ana Reyes, who will start in June.  Finally, members were directed to check out the STAY COOL Facebook page for the climate change videos made by 6th grade students at Chula Vista High Tech Middle School.

Meeting adjourned at 7:40 PM.

 

 

 

 

A Cause for Concern in California – and San Diego

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general science membership organization, states it clearly, “Climate change is already happening. More heat waves, greater sea level rise, and other changes with consequences for human health, natural ecosystems, and agriculture are already occurring in the United States and worldwide.” So how will climate change affect California – and is it already? More specifically, how will the San Diego region be affected by this new climate reality?

On May 14 STAY COOL members will hear from a local climate expert, Dr. Dan Cayan, at
our next educatdan-cayanional meeting. He’s the director of the Climate Research Division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and the director of the California Nevada Applications Program at the California Climate Change Center. He has helped apply climate research to improve the understanding of climate variability for decision makers in our state.

According to Dr. Cayan, the West is particularly vulnerable to climate change. “In California and in the West, the spring and winter in particular have displayed the strongest trends towards warming. And when we look at the western part of North America, we’re seeing a broad footprint of warming that we think is probably the early signs of human-caused climate change.” Cayan believes this pattern fits with the large scale climate tendencies of global warming, along with melting glaciers and rising sea levels. In the future we can expect climate change to warm our environment by at least a couple degrees Fahrenheit and perhaps double that in the next several decades. That, in California, is likely to reduce the springtime snow pack towards the end of the century by at least half. This dry year in particular, the snowpack water content was measured at 68 percent below average, according to the Department of Water Resources. With these reductions in our snow packs, we’re looking the substantial loss of water supply in snow storage.

In San Diego, so much of our quality of life, health and economy relies on our water supply and our relationship with the coast. San Diego imports about 70 percent of our water from outside our region. Our semi-arid climate means water sources are scarce, yet our economy and our growing population depends on a steady supply of water to survive.

As the earth warms, oceans expand and sea levels rise. Mission-BaySea level rise scenarios vary, but
the scientific community agrees that San Diego is vulnerable to coastal flooding and erosion in low-lying coastal areas, which has the potential to disrupt wastewater systems, energy facilities and transportation routes.

With so much at stake, what must we do to prepare for the coming changes and protect future generations? How will San Diego meet its future water needs? What are the leaders in our region doing now to adapt to and prepare for climate change?

Dr. Cayan will shed light on these questions and share insights based on his research work at our next meeting. Hear the latest research, future projections and how our communities should prepare. Learn how we, as individuals, can help address the problem.

Learn more about our May 14 event here: http://www.staycool4grandkids.org/get-involved

Attendance at the May 14 event is limited, so please RSVP: sarah@staycool4grandkids.org

Why the Urgency About Reducing CO2 Emissions?

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By Peg and David Engel We founded STAY COOL for Grandkids, an organization of grandparents and others concerned about the dangers global warming poses to our grandchildren, because we feel that action to limit CO2 emissions is needed now. We believe these dangers are both real and already happening. CO2 … Continue reading