On Saturday April 22, I marched. I marched for science, but I also marched for the Napa Valley. I graduated from Vintage High School in 2008 and went off to UC Davis to get a bachelor’s degree in physics. Science went from being a strong curiosity to being the driving focus of my professional life. I’m now mere months away from a PhD in physics from UC Irvine and the impact of scientific reasoning, or the lack thereof, lies heavily on my mind.
Science is many things, but most importantly to me science is a thought process. Scientific reasoning is taking in data and coming to “conclusions” that are supported by the data. The quotes are important. Seldom is anything a done deal in science. Scientific reasoning dictates that you take in new evidence even if that new evidence says old evidence is wrong. With that new evidence you must update your conclusions. Additionally, a handful of anecdotes is insufficient to override overwhelming amounts of evidence for an issue.
But why did I march for the Napa Valley? Because climate change. Over 97 percent of scientists think the evidence supports climate change and a warming planet. This climate change affects us.
Our wine is world-famous and our local economy crucially depends on it. But what happens when the Earth warms? The prime growing regions move north. Napa Valley will become too hot and somewhere north of us will become the new world-famous region until that area also becomes too hot.
A recent study showed that a large majority of American citizens accept that climate change is happening and affecting lives but do not believe that the effect is impacting them or their communities. Climate change is affecting Napa and will continue to.
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Climate change is a local issue. There is not one optimal solution to fix the problem of a warming planet, but I strongly believe that we must fight and have our voices heard by decision-makers. Our state and federal representatives need to know that climate change will destroy our local economy and devastate a way of life for many Napans. We need the Environmental Protection Agency. We need the Clean Air Act. And we need new, and fair, regulations that protect our world and stimulate our economy. This affects everyone.
I marched for science and Napa Valley. Please join me and advocate for scientific reasoning and for protections against a changing environment. Climate change can be slowed, and maybe someday be reversed. Let’s keep the wine flowing.
Justin Clifford Smith