Importance of Natural Resources

Climate Change: A Global and Local Issue

My name is Susanne Moser. I’m a social science
research fellow at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and I am the
director of my own research and consulting company in Santa Cruz, California. The records
of climate change, global change, are just accumulating whether it’s the amount of sea
ice that’s being lost in the Arctic, the hottest year ever, the number of species that are
being lost, the magnitude of this storm or that storm. We have so many lines of evidence
already. We’re actually now in a place of having unequivocal evidence that climate change
is happening and we are extremely certain that we’re the major cause behind it. These
systems are global in scope. They have very large driving forces changing them. Think
of it like the Titanic, you know, you don’t turn that big tanker in a very quick moment.
You have to actually think long before you hit the iceberg. We have no more time to lose.
In fact, we probably will at least scrape the iceberg in a really bad way. There’s something
called a California King Tides Initiative. During the particular high tides, you can
go out now and see streets being underwater. You have a see wall that’s this high, the
water laps up to, you know, just like right under the edge of the sea wall. In Florida,
there are backyards once a day underwater. What happens to coastal areas will happen
to everyone. If we, you know, destroy through a hurricane or whatever, the oil refining
capacity of the United States, well everyone in this country feels it and the prices go
up. Business had a real wakeup call last year when there was enormous flooding in Thailand
and it affected a lot of the chip producers. So people in San Francisco and in Silicon
Valley all of a sudden didn’t have the supplies of chips that they were relying on. Then there’s
the question, okay and where does your food come from and where does your water come from?
A lot of cities, like say Phoenix or San Francisco, don’t get their water necessarily all from
the local area. They get it from the mountains far away. There has been an enormous rise
of interest at the local level in doing something about climate change. California is very often
the policy leader in this country. It has never, ever, started in Congress. Sometimes
it literally comes down to one leader saying, I want this done in my community. Climate
change is a real threat, and a growing threat, and a rapidly growing threat, but we have
no choice but to deal with it.

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