Anthony Corso | Stratford Court
|Bruce Bekkar, a member of the Sustainability Board, in Big Sur
A recent issue of the Sandpiper notes that cities are experiencing environmental degradation in an accelerating fashion. In response to the situation some are turning to “Green City Planning”—the process of analyzing factors contributing to environmental destruction while instigating action strategies to eradicate such elements particularly those contributing to global warming.
As noted, “There is a great deal of variation among cities incorporating “Green City Planning.” In general, the goal is to achieve the smallest carbon footprint ,possible, though a series of actions ranging from those of minimal, but noteworthy sway, to those having a higher level of significance.
Actions which have a high level of significance, and are directly related to global warming, are of serious concern to Del Mar and its Sustainability Advisory Board. The Board consists of group of educated and informed professionals who have provided their expertise on a variety of environmental concerns and issues since 2006.
As noted on the City’s web-page, the City recognizes that the human-cause climate change is a reality, with potentially destructive effects to the City’s residents and businesses.
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography Study Focus 2050 describes what the Region might look like if the current climate trend continues; heatwaves are likely to increase in frequency, magnitude and duration, thus increasing energy demands and causing public health threats. The region might also incur longer fire seasons, large wild fires, shortfalls in water supplies, sea level rises leading to coastal flooding and erosion.
What might the future hold for Del Mar in terms of the potentiality of such environmental catastrophes? Dr. Bruce Bekkar, a member of the Sustainability Board, notes that some actions have already been enjoined. A Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, has been conducted with the assistance of partners in the San Diego Regional Climate Protection Initiative (Kaiser Permanente, the San Diego Foundation, seventeen local jurisdictions in the San Diego Region, and the ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability).
Of note, the Sustainability Advisory Board is formulating future steps for reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions but having to do so with minimal assistance from representatives of the scientific community. The Board has submitted a governmental application for assistance from knowledgeable persons familiar with “Green City Planning” which could generate an “environmental action plan.”
A recent report from SANDAG, the Regional Planning Organization, could be of crucial assistance and a valuable resource for the development of a sustainability action plan. Although it contains a wealth of information and recommendations it has not been given serious study by public officials, perhaps because it has been so recently published.
The SANDAG report, City of Del Mar Energy Roadmap, provides a framework for each City within the Region to identify ways of saving energy in governmental operations and within the community. It provides no-cost technical assistance, such as free audits of government buildings; approaches to identify and apply for energy efficient rebates and latest information in critical subjects such as: electric vehicles, alternative fuels, transportation strategies to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions financing energy efficiency projects, and residential retrofit programs.
If one is to read the reports cited above and converse with political representative and members of the Sustainability Board one must conclude: Del Mar is facing a challenge of immense proportions. Each of us is asked to become informed as to the magnitude and changes occurring at the global level and the implications for our environment and subsequent quality of life.
Hopefully we will opt to become a “Green City,” provide the financial resources needed to recruit knowledgeable professionals who can guide us in “Green City Planning”, become better educated as to the requirements for sustainability, demonstrate a willingness to adopt individual environmental practices, and once again offer ourselves as a role model for other local governments.