Global warming affects Kern

Maryann Kopp

Natalie Bursztyn, Bakersfield College professor of geology and Earth science, asked this question: “Why should people of Kern County care about global warming?”

“Firstly, we are located in a bad geographic area, which is primarily responsible for the levels of pollution we get here. We are surrounded by mountains that create a sort of pocket,” said Bursztyn.

“With all of the agriculture in the valley we create a lot of pollutants. We put a lot of dust and aerosols, as well as CO2, into the air. By geography, this all gets funneled into the bottom of the pocket, where Bakersfield is located.”

Bakersfield’s second issue concerning global warming stems from ice melting in the sea, which creates rises in sea levels.

“Over here in Kern County, we may not be coastal, but we do have a river and a lot of the city is built around river level,” explains Bursztyn.

“With sea levels rising, it is inevitable that the Kern River level will rise also, and much of the land will be flooded. We would lose much of the southwest and certainly Oildale.”

A 20-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change regarding global warming was recently released.

The general consensus was that humans, in fact, have an impact and that it has been fairly negative.

So what can the residents of Bakersfield do to help create a positive influence on the environment, overall, and potentially relieve the impact of any future dangers?

Bursztyn has some helpful suggestions, most of which are simple.

Using the recycling bins on campus is an example of what BC students can do to help reduce waste and lower CO2 emissions with very little effort made.

Carpooling, riding a bus, walking, and cycling instead of driving a car will save on burning extra fossil fuels, which cause the CO2 emissions.

Bursztyn, alongside other cyclists at BC, think that BC can play a bigger role in combating global warming by allowing bicycles, rollerblades and skateboards on campus.

They believe that if a 5 mph speed limit were enforced that the worry of cyclists injuring pedestrians would be reduced. This might also lower the use of the campus golf carts, which use much more energy.

According to the website, in the United States, a typical meal travels about 1,200 miles from where it is grown to where it is consumed.

Buying locally grown food at Farmers Markets can help save the fuel used to transport food and provides monetary support for the local economy.

Bakersfield’s Farmers Market is located on 30th and F Street in the Montgomery World Plaza parking lot every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is open year-round.

“The bottom line is that we need to use less energy!” said Bursztyn.

Using energy efficient bulbs in lieu of incandescent bulbs, changing filters in air conditioning units, using energy efficient appliances, and reusing grocery bags are all small things that can be done which may help our current global situation.

To Bursztyn, the most important and practical way to help in working toward solutions is to be informed and educated not only about the issue at hand, but also about who you vote for and where they stand on issues concerning the environment.

“Be aware,” she urged. “Vote, and get involved in working toward solutions.”