From the desk of Jayne Battey, Miramar Farms
Travel Diary, June 27, 2019
42 Degrees (Celsius) somewhere between Madrid and Barcelona
T(°F) = T(°C) × 9/5 + 32 = 107.6 degrees.
On June 23, 2019 we flew from San Francisco, California to a family wedding in Madrid, Spain. We knew Spain was likely to be warm, and I thought I was prepared for the heat coming out of an unprecedented heat wave that had hit Northern California a couple weeks prior. San Francisco hit the mid-90’s for a week in mid-June, and our little town of Half Moon Bay set a new record at near 90 degrees. With an average high summer temperature of 65 degrees, that was a highly unusual spike for our un-air-conditioned little town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
And when we arrive in Madrid we are about to see temperatures over 100 degrees for a week or more.
I’ve been working in the environmental field for over 30 years and I am well read on the subject of climate change. I knew this was coming, but it is clearly here now. And if you aren’t feeling a bit anxious about the climate—the floods, fires, coastal erosion, droughts and extreme heat—well, you just aren’t paying attention.
This is the global issue of our lifetime, and we don’t have much time left to take better care of the planet that sustains us.
I am one of those people who sees a problem and immediately has 15 ideas set into motion to fix it. And when it comes to climate change, I am overwhelmed by the need to do something. At Miramar Farms we have installed solar, we compost, we have changed out all our lights to LED, we use drip irrigation, we have basically banned single-use plastic, and I am regularly stumbling around in the house in the dark because we (mostly my husband Mark) are constantly turning all the lights off. And while all of this may help me cope, help me feel like I am doing something, we all know that it is not enough. Not nearly enough.
Yes, we should all be doing all the things we can do to minimize waste and lighten our environmental footprint. But the clear fact of the matter is that we need regional, national and global action to address the realities of climate. We need industry to make smarter and more responsible choices, we need strong public policy that supports renewable energy and carbon drawdown, and we need collective action to reduce our carbon footprint in transportation, food, water management, waste management and energy use. And while you may feel you have limited control when it comes to national and global policies (but I beg of you—please get informed and please vote!), there is a lot happening at the local and regional level where you can contribute your ideas, energy and expertise.
I can’t encourage you enough to reach out to your city and county, or a local nonprofit, to see how you can participate in the wide range of local, regional and national efforts underway to address the climate challenges we face. Just search “climate action” or “sustainability” for your community and I am confident you’ll find avenues to get informed and get engaged. There are people doing some really good work on this subject—so there is reason to be hopeful—but we really need all oars in the water on this topic.
So here’s the thing…
It is so easy, on this lovely 68-degree day on the coast of California, to put the climate challenges aside. It is even easy to forget, for a moment, that they exist. But yesterday, July 25, 2019, it was 108 degrees in Paris, France. Truly, time’s up on the climate debate.
Small steps to lighten your footprint
1) Drive less (and/or carpool); bike or walk more. Good for your body, soul and the earth.
2) Eat less meat; eat more locally produced seasonal produce. Your body and local farmer will thank you.
3) STOP using single-use plastic and other single-use disposables. It is easier than you think—and saves $$$.
4) Recycle and compost. And if you don’t think you know what goes where, learn. You can do this.
5) Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. Enough said.