According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, “Human societies have adapted to the relatively stable climate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. A warming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety.” (19 January 2017 snapshot, no longer accessible on current EPA website) Global warming and climate change are and will continue to have specific impacts on local communities. For this reason, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of California are focusing on building climate change-resilient coastal communities.
How will climate change affect California’s Central Coast and the Cambria area in particular? We know that sea level rise, drought, increased fire hazards, increased tree diseases and declines in freshwater and marine life are impacts already seen in our local environment. Drastic declines in the sea star population, the near absence of adult anadromous (migrating) steelhead in local creeks, the appearance of large new populations of invasive plants, the loss of morning fog and of streamflow in successive summers of drought, and the rise in high tide levels all point to significant changes in the area’s ecosystems.
With these alterations now afoot, it is critical that Greenspace and other local environmental groups develop and press for programs that address climate change. We intend to help area residents and people from communities similar to Cambria prepare for these changes, mitigate them in effective ways, and ensure that pollution and over-development do not add to climate stressors on our creeks, forest, agricultural land and marine habitats.