San Joaquin Valley, Part 1
In California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the San Joaquin Valley region includes all of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Kings, and Tulare counties, plus parts of Madera, Fresno, and Kern counties. It stretches from Stockton in the north to Bakersfield in the south. About 4 million people live in this region. That’s a little over 10% of the state population. Because its agricultural economy is so intimately connected to the physical environment, climate change is going to have unusually profound effects on life in this part of the state. Part 1 focuses on air quality and heat in the Valley. Part 2 will tackle the incredibly complicated topic of precipitation – both drought and flooding.
What kinds of air quality problems do people in the San Joaquin Valley region experience? What causes each of these problems?
How is climate change expected to affect heat in the Central Valley? What are some ways this will affect people’s day-to-day lives?
How vulnerable are communities in Bakersfield, Delano, Earlimart, Coalinga, and Huron to climate change effects? Using the CalEnviroScreen, compare your own neighborhood to neighborhoods in two of these cities.
Have you had any weather- or environment-related experiences similar to the young people in this episode? If so, how do are your experiences similar? If not, why do you think that is?
In order of appearance, the young people I interviewed for this episode were: Yvette (Bakersfield), Elizabeth (Delano), Karissa (Delano), Ivan (Earlimart), Luke (Coalinga), and Michael (Huron). I also spoke with my scientist-collaborator, Nancy Freitas.
If you want to dig deeper into some of the topics in this episode, here are some places to begin.
About anticipated climate change impacts:
See the short summary for the San Joaquin Valley - California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, Regional Reports
Climate Change in the San Joaquin Valley from Union of Concerned Scientists
“What Climate Change Means for California” from the US Environmental Protection Agency
“Overview of Projected Change in the California Central Valley” from California Landscape Conservation Partnership
“Kern County’s Future in the Face of Climate Change” from Advancement Project California
About the San Joaquin Valley economy:
“Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag” from Bakersfield.com
“Resilient Roots: Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems” from Climate Science Alliance
About air quality:
“Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“State of the Air” from American Lung Association
“What is AB 617?” from San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
“California Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2000 to 2019” from California Air Resources Board
“Cars, Trucks, Buses and Air Pollution” from Union of Concerned Scientists
“Meat production leads to thousands of air quality-related deaths annually” from National Geographic
“California Heat Waves” from California-Nevada Climate Applications Program
“In California, extreme heat and ozone pollution hit poor communities hardest” from National Geographic
“Development to Meet San Joaquin Valley’s Population Growth, Extreme Temperature Must be Climate-Smart” from union of Concerned Scientists