In a decade of record rainfall, mudslides, fires, and drought, the future of California’s environment is critically at risk. With the sudden lack of federal funding for our national parks, the EPA, and climate science, how can California protect itself for the future of climate change? The answer is in retooling our economy toward renewable energy industries, recycling, and sustainable management of our resources.
We need to invest in solar energy through improved tax incentives for home and business owners so that lower-income households can also benefit from solar programs. We also need to encourage renewable energy industries to explore opportunities in California. In 2017, California produced so much solar power that we paid other states to take our excess solar electricity instead of keeping for ourselves. Instead of lowering dependence of fossil fuel usage for electricity, we gave our solar energy away. It’s time that changed.
Clean, sustainable water policy is essential to the future of California’s land, resources, animals, and people. Water is life. It’s time we started respecting it as such. 2018 will decide the fate of $2.7 billion in state bonds for water storage infrastructure. Cities and farms are struggling to use water more efficiently while preventing toxic runoff that pollutes the waterways. And some rural Californians still lack access to safe drinking water. All this needs to be addressed with a cohesive, state-level plan and reliable funding. Water is a public resource, not a private commodity to be bartered away to the hands of a few corporations. Private water leases to bottling companies on public land need to be seriously reviewed, renegotiated at market price, or rescinded. After five years of drought, let’s reclaim our water.
Over a third of the country's vegetables and two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts are grown in California. Between population growth and the uncertainty of climate change, sustainable agriculture that follows green farming practices while allowing for economic viability is the only path forward. A combination of farming education programs and regulatory enforcement is needed to transition into sustainable stewardship that will protect our farmlands, waterways, and food.