Global warming and open space protection

(Below is another “thought piece” on issues relevant to CGF’s work)

Stop global warming – save the Bay Area’s farms and natural areas!

Many Bay Area residents want to stop the global warming that will dry up our water supplies and flood our coastal and Bayside lands, but taking action means more than buying hybrid cars and installing solar panels on homes. Land use planning that organizes our cities and rural areas will also determine how much greenhouse gas we produce. By stopping unplanned sprawl, we can save the undeveloped lands we have every reason to preserve, and direct the population and business growth into urban areas. Efficient use of space will give us the capability to reduce emissions, while sprawl destroys that capability.

If you talk to Bay Area old-timers, they will tell of driving from San Francisco to San Jose through miles orchards and gardens, an area called the Valley of Heart’s Delight. Now, boats and planes spew pollutants as they bring the same produce from distant continents, but much of what we have lost still remains. San Jose cherries, Half Moon Bay artichokes, Gilroy garlic, and grass-fed cattle from around the Bay Area all provide local alternatives to distant products arriving on a wave of petroleum emissions. Our mostly green and forested hillsides also provide a strong contrast to the endless suburbs of Southern California, where residents drive long distances in emission-spewing cars with little public transit.

Fighting global warming will be a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to consider what the Bay Area will be like when we all become the old-timers. Will we just tell our grandchildren about food that was not trucked from far away, about how you could hike locally instead of driving to the Sierras? Or instead of telling, will we show them the same farmlands, ranchlands, and natural areas that we enjoy today in the Bay Area? Our grandchildren’s environment, as well as our effect on the global environment, depend on getting the right answer to land use planning for the Bay Area.


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