What is “climate adaptation”and how well is California doing with it? The podcast “America Adapts” hosted by Doug Parsons has been exploring the topic of climate adapation since 2016. In this three part special, sponsored by the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Doug takes an in-depth look at the state of California, presenting its long history of environmental leadership, current work on adaptation throughout the state, and how California will be dealing with a changing environment in the future.
EPISODE ONE (45:42): THE STORYTELLERS consists of three main stories. Geologist Jeff Mount of UC Davis tells the epic tale of the 1861-1862 floods that washed out Sacramento, killing hundreds and forcing the temporary movement of the state capital to San Francisco. Environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr. and “The Queen of Green,” longtime head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Mary Nichols tell about how the state managed to clean up the smog problem of the 1970’s, she then brings us up to the present with her perspective on Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown with regard to climate leadership.
EPISODE TWO (1:04:50): THE JOURNEY is Doug Parson’s journey around California exploring the five most important elements of climate adaptation for the state — fire, drought, flood, temperature and sea level rise. For each one he goes into the field with an expert. He visits the burn area of the Thomas Fire of December, 2017 with a fire captain, talks about drought with the state’s “Water Czar,” standing beside the Sacramento River, hears the details of the ARkStorm Mega-flood Scenario from a climate scientist, follows an urban heat expert using a laser thermometer to measure the temperature of asphalt in Los Angeles, and visits the central coast of California to talk about sea level rise. The five sequences provide an overview of climate adaptation for the state.
EPISODE THREE (40:38): THE SYNTHESIS in which Doug Parsons and writer/producer Randy Olson talk about their overall impressions of climate adaptation in California. Each of the experts interviewed during the journey gave scores from 1 to 10 for their opinion of how well they think the state is addressing their element of climate adaptation. The scores are presented to three of the experts for their assessment. The analysis ends with one more expert - a dissenting voice in terms of how well California is preparing for the changes in the climate that are already happening.