By Marty Eberhardt
As a parent, I was stunned by the sudden rush of love and protectiveness that came upon me as soon as I saw my first child.
Then, thirty years later, I felt it again, when I met my new grandson.
These are universal human emotions. Grandparents everywhere want a good life for their offspring. We have a crucial advantage over our busy sons and daughters; we often have more time and resources to work for a better world.
And San Diego needs a lot of informed, active people to avert bequeathing a truly disastrous world to the next generations.
In San Diego, the wildfire season has been declared year-round. Bark beetles are decimating the forests we love, and making them more vulnerable to fire. We are in an historic drought, and stored water supplies are sustaining us…but they must be replenished soon, or we will have much more serious problems in the years to come. The snowpack which we rely upon for water is dismal.
This is a small taste of the future our grandchildren will see if we continue to live as we have been living. There is an international consensus that we must avoid 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming over pre-industrial levels if our offspring are to live in a world we would want for them. The latest computer models clearly show us what will happen here if we don’t limit greenhouse gas emissions soon…loss of our beaches, loss of our forests, loss of adequate water supplies, loss of health of humans and of the land.
I think that it is our duty as citizens AND our responsibility as parents and grandparents to step up to the plate. I joined STAY COOL to have a way to do that, beyond my own personal lifestyle changes. I wanted to work with other people, and other grandparents, to influence lawmakers to take steps to reduce carbon emissions, to support solar energy in public and private buildings, to increase public transportation, to conserve water and support the reuse of drinking water, to support Smart Growth and to restrict sprawl into the fire-prone wildland-urban interface.
If our politicians understand that global warming is NOT a back-burner issue for many, many voters, but an issue that we know directly affects the lives of our families…then, I believe that we can have an effect.
For those who say, “ It’s all just too overwhelming. Can we really make a difference?” I say, “Can we afford not to try? And can we look our grandchildren in the eye if we don’t?”
Founding Member, STAY COOL
Former Director, The Water Conservation Garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens