Recently, the Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a new area of focus: Supporting the Environment.  Today’s speaker, the Honorable Rod Diridon, Sr., brings a wealth of experience in public service and leadership (e.g., Chair of the U.S. High-Speed Rail Association, Emeritus Executive Director (Ret.) of the Mineta Transportation Institute).  Read more about Rod’s background with the link at the end of the article.
In the presentation, Riod posed the question:  Is Climate Change the Sixth Mass Extinction?  Rod began by highlighting the previous mass extinctions:
Rod then discussed
  • What is happening now and the human causes.
  • How some impacts are irreversible
  • Actions we can take today to limit future warming
before moving on to the science behind climate changes and how greenhouse gases are created.  Next, Rod focused on the statistics of climate change and the impact that it is having on humans
  • Food production disruption leading to starvation and mass migration
  • Unexpected epidemics
  • Water shortages as more land turns to desert
  • Radically inclement weather causing wildfires, flooding and drought
  • Polar ice melts causing massive flooding
After reviewing the current situation, Rod shared that scientists believe that we have 12 years to make significant changes to avoid the point of no return.  He stressed that we possess the tools to make the change, but need to will to make the changes.  He identified priority solutions with numerous examples, especially in transportation with a focus on transportation in the Bay Area and California:
  • Transform the power grid
  • Electrify everything
  • Electrify transportation at a very rapid rate
Another solution to address climate change is building sustainable buildings that include:
  • Home and Backyard Solar Panels
  • Home Battery Power Storage
  • Purchase of only sustainably generated electricity
  • Home Insulation
  • Eliminate Gas Heating, Fireplaces and other Wood Burning
Rod concluded by addressing what every individual can do and stressing that we do possess the tools to make the necessary changes, but time is short.
Watch the video of the presentation here.
Review the PowerPoint presentation here.
Read Rod’s bio here.