New species, old problems
The Santa Ynez River is a state-protected riverine wildlife area. It is also the water source of Lompoc's well field for our clean drinking water.
Most of the year the river is dry, but occasionally the Bradbury Dam upstream releases water under court order. A legal decision long ago, based on the California Constitution, ruled that no dam has the right to kill a natural water course. Therefore, this water, which has been recently released from the dam, is a blessing for the wildlife, for our city water, and a blessing just to see the beauty of the river with water in it.
Later in the winter Lompoc also receives about 14 inches of rain, which is not very much rain for the entire year.
The wildlife population has changed of late, with the familiar species pushed out by newcomers. The favored species now is the uncommon Homo Non-habilis, an emergent species characterized by thriving on no home and no work. Of course they are parasites.
Alarmingly, this species is known to carry infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C, hepatitis A, HIV, tuberculosis,and lesser hazardous agents.
Overall, these invaders are like locusts. They arrive, they destroy, they leave when no more easy resources are provided for them to plunder.
Don't soft-peddle climate change
In the Times editorial of Oct.18, “Wildfire costs out of control,” the Times pointed out the enormous costs of California wildfires and rightly suggested that we provide additional funding for fire fighting and relief of those affected by these disasters.
Regrettably, the editorial did not plainly make the connection between climate change and these devastating wildfires, but used qualifiers such as “if you choose to blame” or “Whatever the reasons, our planet is changing.”
Providing for additional funding while not addressing the causes of climate change is like setting out buckets to catch the water when the roof is leaking. It is necessary, but the roof will still leak.
It is not just wildfires that we need to worry about. There are a whole host of other problems caused by or exacerbated by climate change: drought, heavy rainfall, sea level rise and flooding of coastal areas, changes in snow fall that affect our water supply, hotter summers, decrease of summer ice in the Arctic, and even social unrest as a result of some of the above.
Our problem is clear, civilization is producing huge amounts of CO2 which is the primary factor in our changing climate. The solution is also clear, we must greatly reduce our CO2 output and soon. We are running out of time to keep temperature increases below the relatively safe level of a 2C increase.
How can we do that without destroying the economy? Most economists recommend putting a price on carbon. One possible solution is placing a gradually increasing fee on carbon emissions and then returning 100 percent of the income to all households as a dividend. This will have the effect of greatly reducing our CO2 emissions and at the same time giving a small boost to the economy.