Your Climate Stories: Toni Hoffman Stands Up to California’s Poor Air Quality

Written by Guest Blogger on . Posted in Your Climate Stories

This is part of a regular series on Planet Change called “Your Climate Stories,” where we share reader stories about changes that they’re seeing and actions that they’re taking in their daily lives to help reduce carbon pollution and respond to the impacts of our changing planet.

If you have a climate story, please send it, along with any of your photos and videos, to us here

Name: Toni Hoffman

Location: Shafter, CA
















Living in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California, air quality and sufficient water are daily issues.  This region has the worst air pollution (fine particulate matter) in the country.  The Sierra Nevada and the Coastal Range  mountains are both within 50 miles, but can hardly be seen during the poor air-quality summer months.

As I am retired, I use my car very sparingly, averaging less than 1,500 miles per year.  I’m also VERY frugal with water and electricity and am a vegetarian for both ethical and conservation reasons (a pound of beef is reported to require 1,780 gallons of water to produce).  Fortunately, the Central Valley is America’s vast salad bowl, producing almost one half of all fruits and vegetables for the U.S., so it is easy to buy local produce and nuts.  If I lived in a house, I’d have a vegetable and herb garden, fruit trees, and do rainwater collection, along with solar panels.

My apartment was built in 2007 and is well insulated and fairly energy-efficient, as required by California’s building standards (yes, I believe firmly in the government’s ability to affect positive change through regulation).

Last week a young man in a retail grocery store couldn’t understand why I made a special trip back to my car to get cloth bags for my purchases.  He did not know that plastic is made from petroleum and seemed unfazed by the information. I despair at the inability of people (particularly in the U.S.) to connect the rash of climate castastrophes (F5 tornadoes, extreme drought, massive wild fires, record-breaking floods) of recent years to their own actions (driving 12 mpg trucks, eating meat 7 days a week, our mega-consume-and-dispose culture).

I will be dead when the full effects of our dismissal of climate science rages in, but the young man in the grocery store won’t be.  Neither will your children or grandchildren.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Adams via Flickr Creative Commons (Whoa, check out the smog!).

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Comments (1)

  • Noel Schmidt


    Thank you for the great article. Your life is one i would like foloow


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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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