Anthony Corso | Stratford Court and Shirley King | Avenida Primavera
|David Engel started an organization called “Stay Cool for Grandkids.” Photo Anthony Corso. Click on image to enlarge.
Dr. David Engel digs even deeper into the issues of climate change when faced with the sobering global warming reports – most recently “What We Know: The Risks, Reality and Response to Climate Change” released March 18th from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. When he began his retirement as a Professor of Periodontics at the University of Washington, School of Dentistry and moved to Del Mar, he dove straight into the San Diego Foundation’s Climate Initiative to chair the Environment Working Group, from which evolved the Focus 2050 Study – the first comprehensive regional assessment of climate change impacts to San Diego County.
Pursuing his volunteer activism like an academic he regularly digests the deep volume of climate evidence that is available to all of us from the world’s leading environmental scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), UC San Diego, and other scholars at USD, and SDSU. And yet he continues to build his commitment with a fused focus on the future generations.
Despite the growing gap between our Democratic and Republican national leaders regarding the human causes of global warming, David does not surrender to a sense of fatalism in facing the ‘inconvenient truths’. He is encouraged by the reported 70-80% of public citizens who are not skeptical about the man-made reasons for climate change and the efforts of major corporations that are using more and more sustainable business practices.
Just as the data from a recent SANDAG white paper on climate change predicts San Diego to be in store for 76 days of extremely hot weather in 2050, he is even more ready to confront the realities presented by the scientists who predict that we could see severe changes in the next two to three decades. To sustain his optimism about what we all must do to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), he adheres to the buoyant mantra offered by his colleague Richard Sommervile, Professor Emeritus at SIO, “There is no silver bullet, only silver buckshot”. That is, there are many things we can do today to reduce the threats of global warming tomorrow.
For David and his wife the emergence of their first grandchild, a girl, two years ago crystallized the direction of their buckshot. They used their donor advised fund at the San Diego Foundation to grant three years of operational support for Stay Cool For Grandkids established in 2013 as the first United States organization of grandparents and other seniors concerned about global warming. The mission of STAY COOL is to speak out for America’s grandchildren on government and business policies that impact future climate change – a clearly defined objective to establish a well-informed, active, non-partisan grandparent organization to educate leaders and others about the urgent need to pursue policies that will reduce local, regional and national greenhouse gas emissions, particularly at the local level. It is a membership organization – free and open to anyone interested in protecting future generations from the dangers of global warming.
David and his Stay Cool members advocate that communities stay focused on the three central areas 1) the development of Climate Action Plans by local municipalities, 2) water conservation and its relationship to global temperatures, and 3) traffic and the reduction of emissions with fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
Del Mar has yet to produce a Climate Action Plan, but David is optimistic about our city’s collaboration with the progressive direction of a city such as Chula Vista and its Environmental Resources Manager, Brendan Reed. Likewise Del Mar and its residents can join extraordinary citizens like David Engel and Stay Cool for Grandkids with a collective investment in our planetary well-being to reverse what we have done wrong.
The full text of the Focus 2050 Summary Assessment and the core scientific working papers that comprise this analysis, are online at www.sdfoundation.org. To learn more about Stay Cool for Grandkids, go to www.staycool4grandkids.org and Facebook.