By Len Novarro

Do you believe climate change is real?

It’s amazing to think that there are still skeptics — with all we know.

Never have brush fires in San Diego broken out so early. Usually, the beginning of the season is late September and early October. In the last week alone, mid-May, we have experienced a half dozen, some serious, brush fires in the county, causing evacuations of more than 5,000 homes.

The May 2014 Bernardo Fire. Photo by Chris Stone
The May 2014 Bernardo Fire. Photo by Chris Stone

Last year, a huge wildfire leveled a large parcel of our most cherished national park in California — Yosemite. Experts at the time said this was just a small taste of what was to come. Significant outbreaks have occurred in other parts of the world, where droughts have been prevalent. Turkey and Syria are examples. It has been suggested that the many of the uprisings that took place during the Arab Spring occurred because of government’s inability to respond to these conditions.

The pattern of increased wildfires by the end of this century will be “clear for temperate and northern regions of the world,” declared a report from Yale University’s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry last year.

While dryer places like the Western United States will continue to grow dryer, more tropical areas will become much wetter. That became painfully obvious as the Philippines experienced one of the worst typhoons ever in Typhoon Haiyan in December 2013. In August 2005, one of the most devastating hurricanes ever — Katrina — hit the Gulf Coast in New Orleans. That city is still recovering and parts of the Philippines may have to wait years before getting back to normal.

The coast of New Jersey and parts of Staten Island, NY, hammered by Hurricane Sandy last year are just more examples of the effects of climate change.

Climate change is here and has been for some time, but the more dramatic effects of this global shift have hit us more lately and more often.

Noted climatologist Veerabhadran Ramanthan of UC San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is credited with discovering the greenhouse effect of hydrocarbons in 1975. In the 1990s, he led an international field experiment in which he found that atmospheric brown clouds over Asia, caused by increased release of hydrocarbons, is having a devastating effect on climate and health.

There is no escaping the evidence.

Last week the White house released a landmark 1,300-page report by 300 leading scientists who concluded that no American will escape the effects of climate change in one form or another.

And barely anyone took notice.

The conclusion of experts throughout the world is that we are in the midst of a climate shift of gargantuan proportions.

Why aren’t we talking about it more?

Why has it become a political football — dividing left and right?

Why aren’t we doing something about it?

What can we do about it?

Or is our complacency just as seismic as the changes taking place?

This is just one of many important issues to be discussed by a stellar panel of professionals at the first “Make It In America” conference scheduled for Nov. 19-22, at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. What can we can do and how some entrepreneurs are creating successful big businesses coping with disaster are among topics to be discussed.

And if you have not seen this most talked about documentary yet, click on for the first part of “Years of Living Dangerously.”

Len Novarro is co-publisher of ASIA, The Journal of Culture & Commerce, a newspaper serving the Asian and Pacific Islander American community of San Diego and California.

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