It’s not unusual for Ventura County to get hot in the summer — many of us have lived in apartments and workplaces without ventilation or air conditioning and recall exhausting heat — but as the years progress, so do the temperatures apparently. Judging by past news reports, each year seems to be topping the year before with higher temperatures. This July, the highs are stifling in this extended heat wave.

“In Ventura County, temperatures reached the low 90s in some areas Monday, but Tuesday is expected to bring hotter conditions, with some areas reaching the upper 90s,” said Keily Delerme, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “Wednesday will be much the same, only hotter,” in “Thunderstorms, extended heat wave expected in Ventura County,” July 22, VCStar.

At the same time that our county hits peak temperatures, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors was discussing drilling new oil wells on an existing site in Oxnard. The Supervisors, 4-1, denied the new drilling expansion project. The oil industry itself takes much of the blame for rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Transportation (28.9 percent of 2017 greenhouse gas emissions) – The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains and planes. Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes primarily gasoline and diesel,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

In light of sweltering temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions, here is the dire predicament all human beings face: How do we get out of this mess?

One idea, employers can contribute by recognizing their role and ability to reduce the carbon footprint of all their employees traveling to and from the office each day — is five days a week in this virtual world absolutely necessary? 

Further, for those who must work at minimum wage, some working two or three jobs just to pay for basic necessities, employers should consider providing efficient transportation as to not exhaust the worker more, such as encouraging ride shares and “car shares” through financial incentives. The reason why holding employers responsible is critical: The exponential impact of employers joining this movement could be the thing that strikes the balance with individual accountability and government intervention such as rebates for electric cars and going solar.

Thinking bigger, with the money saved on gas by workers, the trickledown effect could be tremendous. There has been a lot of talk for many years about eating local produce, thereby reducing demand for imports and the fuel transport burns. That might be troubling to port commissioners, but really, what will the port be worth once the polar ice caps are gone? Alaska did hit 90 degrees this year.

We live in a mass consumption society that demands waste for profit in so many arenas of life yet we rarely demand change. For instance the fall of Saturn, the car company. But companies such as Trader Joe’s is starting to understand its role as well: is all that packaging really necessary? Think about all the impacts of removing packaging on so much of their produce, from the weight of it in transport to sheer added volume in shopping containers and fewer trips to distribute. Jobs will be impacted, but maybe employers can pay their employees more in those recovered costs.

It’s a wild, civilized world out there, but the individual and the government should not be shouldering the burden alone.

 

T Christian Gapen
Art Director/Production Manager
Ventura County Reporter
Ventana Monthly