Ann Brown, Tri-Valley Citizens' Climate Education
I applaud your highlighting of one of the consequences of the climate crisis in your editorial on July 8 - increasing threats to human health from high temperature days. Recently, I passed an older woman sitting along the sidewalk, looking distressed and very hot. Let’s all be alert for people who may be suffering and be proactive about offering help.
One blessing that we have in our communities is shade trees. The heat impact can be up to 20% lower if you are in shade. When outdoors, bring an umbrella for shade, along with a spray mister and a bottle of ice water. Evaporative cooling really helps!
These are adaptation strategies. Let’s also consider getting to the root of the problem, greenhouse gas emissions. In the Tri-Valley, the two greatest sources are transportation and buildings. As a center for innovation, we can showcase some solutions and model the future. Here are some resources:
The Ray https://theray.org is a transportation innovator with some locally relevant projects that could work well here. For example: public EV charging stations using solar shade structures and battery storage, and inductive charging lanes for electric buses and trucks. Given the controversy over the Aramis solar project, here is a viable alternative: Right of Way Solar, creating solar facilities on freeway right of way interchanges. On the Ray’s interactive map on the website, they have identified the I-580 Airway Blvd. interchange as a potential site. Besides producing clean energy, these sites could be planted with native grasses and pollinator plants, restoring the soil’s capacity to sequester and capture excess CO2. Watch a YouTube video with Allie Kelly of The Ray, as she explains and shows graphics of some of these solutions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHx0g8AKiZs
Allie is the July monthly speaker for Citizens’ Climate Lobby. You can watch recordings of many fine speakers on the CCL YouTube channel, or visit https://citizensclimatelobby.org/monthly-speakers/.
Use the natural air conditioning of our bay marine layer whenever possible. Set your thermostat for 76 - 78˚F. It is generally cooling down to at least that in the evenings, so just open your screened windows and doors until the next morning when it rises above that. Close the blinds as the sun hits the windows. Energy efficiency can save dollars and on the potent F-gases released by air conditioning that exacerbate the climate crisis.