Even if you're not a believer in the concept of "climate change," the Focus 2050 Study issued this week by the San Diego Foundation gives cause for concern and should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.
The likelihood of a population that's doubled to 4.5 million by 2050 who are living with warmer temperatures, more drought, decreased water supplies, rising sea levels, and more fires - as if this past weekend's weren't enough - don't create a pretty image of the future.
The forward-looking document that the foundation calls "the first comprehensive, regional assessment of climate impacts undertaken for any county in California" takes advantage of a wealth of brainpower - much of it local - in the public and private sectors.
Why, one might ask, does a philanthropic body take on a project of this magnitude?
Since the organization was founded in 1975 to focus on meeting community needs and preserve the quality of life in the greater San Diego area, it's a natural extension of the mission, said Bill Kuni, a La Jollan who heads the group's environmental committee.
He says it's time to take preemptive action to protect ourselves from the coming effects of climate change, saying the issue "may be the most important of our time."
The 100-plus-page study and its accompanying documents have been two years in the making. Read it and weep, some may say.
Others, like the authors, say, Read it and act. We're with them.
Foundation leaders are working on the next steps: developing an awareness campaign, getting the work included as part of the California Climate Change Assessment in 2009, and talking with local, county and business leaders to push the mission forward.
In the meantime, we should all heed their call for action. They want us to:
- Encourage the mayor and council and county supervisors to develop local climate action plans.
- Urge leaders to prepare the community to be "climate-resilient."
- Get involved in community efforts to conserve natural resources and become a more sustainable community.
- Commit to three personal changes you can make to help the environment.
- Share the report with others.
We applaud the San Diego Foundation for taking the lead on this issue. We should all step up to the plate and do our part. Start with reading the report.
If each one of us even took one of their recommendations to heart, think about the cumulative impact that we could begin to make.