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Atherton's Earth Day program serves up a Silicon Valley-style solution for climate change

Original post made by ValerieG, Atherton: Lloyden Park, on Apr 18, 2018

Kate Bradshaw has a report out this week in the Almanac on the new and alarming findings on Sea Level Rise Vulnerability for San Francisco Bay, from a recently released study by the National Research Council. It looks at scenarios for what will likely be billions in damage to San Mateo County property and infrastructure from water that could rise as much as 66 inches by 2100.

This is just the latest in a long line of alarming scientific and governmental findings that have been released about the impacts of climate change. Sea level rise—and its impacts on our built communities—is but one facet. Within the next decade, ocean acidification will be devastating the fundamentals for marine life—shell formation—and fisheries. Warming temperatures may eliminate the winter snowpack that stores the water that Californians rely on in the summers. And we'll be battling rising costs from extreme weather such as the wildfires we saw slightly north of us last year. Climate change caused an estimated $306 billion in 2017 but things are projected to be getting even worse.

These facts need to start motivating more people to pay attention and demand real solutions — not ideology. Climate change is now a certainty but we can't give up or simply look at mitigating the inevitable; we have to keep working hard to cap the impacts which are going to escalate from where we are now, unless we act quickly. What we need first and foremost is a dramatically bold and rapid transformation in how we get ALL of our energy, so we can eliminate emissions. Quite simply, this means we must stop burning stuff for power—which not only releases climate-choking CO2 but is so ridiculously 19th century.

Where better to turn to for paradigm-shifting transformations than Silicon Valley? Bold and rapidly-deployed innovations are part of our DNA here and, according to the new documentary film by David Schumacher, The New Fire, there is a generation of young Ph.D. entrepreneurs working away to improve and possibly perfect the most densely powerful, sophisticated, and carbon-free brand of energy humanity has ever conceived—nuclear power. It is also what experts tell us is needed to compete with coal—the fossil fuel used ubiquitously around the world. As you can imagine, these entrepreneurs are up against more than just the typical start-up challenges of their peers — they have legions of well fortified anti-nuclear myths and baked-in regulatory obstacles to overcome as well on their way to saving the world. Can they do it . . . and convince us it's safe?

For those who want to learn about this area of energy innovation, Atherton is hosting a free, Earth Day weekend screening of The New Fire on Saturday, April 21st. This event will be attended by filmmaker, David Schumacher, who will participate in a panel discussion following the screening. The panel of experts will also include Ross Koningstein, author of Google's RE
The event is being held at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center starting at noon, with lunch and networking included. The event is free and everyone is welcome but tickets are required in advance. Please sign up through EventBrite at: Web Link

Comments (1)

Posted by ValerieG
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm

ValerieG is a registered user.

Correction: Text was inadvertently deleted following use of a "less than" symbol for "RE(less than)C." The expert panel for this event has, in addition to award-winning filmmaker Dave Schumacher; Ross Koningstein, a Google energy expert who has studied the issue of eliminating emissions for Google, renowned Stanford climate scientist, Dr. Ken Caldeira, and one or more of the founders of Oklo, a Silicon Valley-based advanced nuclear start-up.

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