This morning as I left home on my way to work I drove past the small park at the corner of my block. As usual, I drove by but to my surprise I didn’t find an empty park as it usually is at 8:00 in the morning but rather a huge crowd of people lined up to receive food from the community food bank. The food bank normally holds food giveaway events once a month in the park. However, in the 12 years I have been living in this neighborhood I had not seen that many people lined up to receive food. My main question is, why? Is there such a huge crisis that I am not aware of? Let me first say that as a child of immigrant farm workers I found myself going to free food-giveaways often but I had never seen so much need in the community as I did this morning. My questioning leads me to the many possibilities that have led to this, for example, that people are not working, that they are not getting payed enough, that food is not accessible, and in my head it all comes back to climate change.
The frightening part about climate change is that it can go unacknowledged because of its broad reach. For example. farm workers-such as my parents-say that there are no jobs because it has not rained much this season, or that the vines are not ready to be pruned because it has not been cold enough this fall and the leaves are still on. The real question is, why hasn’t it rained much? Why has it not been cold enough? These questions again connect back to climate change. Our environment is changing and we must acknowledge that, there is no reason to deny it anymore because it is affecting our day to day lives. Now, the question should be focused on how does our community address this issue and what can we do to to bring attention to its effect on the central valley.
It is time to start this conversation and work together to address this growing issue, I invite you to find out what you can do to create change in our Central Valley. The American Friends Service Committee of the Pan Valley Institute as a member of the Human Rights Coalition of the Central Valley wants to bring attention to this issue and it is organizing a community forum. Climate Change: People, Planet & the Valley will be held on December 5, 2015 from 9:00AM- 1:00PM at the North Gym 118 at Fresno State. This forum will feature guest speaker Mark Arax, and other panelists that will speak about the different aspects of climate change such as political, social, and ethical in the valley . For more information contact the Pan Valley Institute @ 559-222-7678 or Dr. Su Kapoor 559-435-2212