Adapting to Our Changing Climate With Action

Man kneeled down with handful of grass. Wearing work gloves and seems to be at the Intention Tree. Working with intention.

As climate change progresses, we are seeing more extreme weather events at greater frequencies. Now it is our responsibility is to create a positive change.

What do these changes mean for our communities, our ecosystems, and for Lucidity Festival, and what can we do about it?

At Lucidity 2022, we saw an April heatwave that brought temperatures into the 100s during the event. Last year, Lucidity festival was affected by the heavy rains and had to close down one of its parking lots, resorting to an off-site parking lot in Santa Ynez.

With Lucidity 2024 dates being moved to June, we anticipate that the river will be low enough to cross and park on the other side. Still, these last few years have shown us the importance of being prepared and adapting to our changing climate. 

Lucidity works with Santa Barbara County, the local fire department, and Live Oak Campground to make sure the event is safe for attendees. At the same time, Lucidity Festival goers should come prepared for any weather, bring enough food and water, and be ready to leave no trace.

Close photo of sign that reads: Change starts with YOU. "Change" and "You" are both underlined.
Photo by Foster Snell / @FosterTheExplorer

With the 2022 Lucidity theme being Regeneration Earth, followed by The Great Synthesis in 2023, we have learned that the time for action is now.

California’s heavy rains have caused flooding, road closures, mudslides, and property damage. These effects have hit close to Lucidity Festival’s home. The heavy rains also put California residents at a higher risk to wildfire later in the season when all the extra vegetation after the rains dries out in the dry season. 

The time has never been more urgent to be an environmental activist. And that means going beyond being prepared for extreme weather and taking action in our communities to regenerate the earth so we can have more climate resilience.

5 ways you can take action now.

1. Advocate for Regenerative Policies

These can include government policies that can affect wildfire management, water management, energy, climate change, and environmental conservation. Here’s what you can do:

Mike Love at the microphone, seated, with his guitar. His lyrics are very much about revolution and conscious movement. Advocate advocate advocate!
Photo by Kris Kish / The Sights & Sounds
  • Contact local and state representatives (including the mayor, state senator, assembly member, and governor) and urge them to advocate for regenerative wildfire and water management policies.
  • Engage on Social Media, especially on government pages and posts by California politicians, expressing your concerns and urging them to prioritize regenerative wildfire and water management policies.
  • Write Op-Eds or Letters to the Editor to local newspapers expressing your concerns and calling for action.
  • Support nonprofits financially or with volunteer time.
  • Collaborate with existing government agencies, advocacy groups and nonprofits
  • Form in-person and/or online committees and advocacy groups in communities where such groups don’t already exist.

2. Cultivate Native Perennial Grasses

Did you know that prior to the arrival of European settlers, California’s ecosystems were predominantly characterized by perennial grasses that thrived year-round? Many invasive annual grass species were introduced by colonial settlers for cattle grazing purposes.

These invasive species contribute to wildfire fuel and erosion due to their shallow root systems, which result in minimal moisture retention, and their production of abundant above-ground biomass that dies off after seeding.

Pair of hands pressing down into the Earth. Close shot.
Photo by Ben Georges

Indigenous perennial grasses foster fungal communities that facilitate nutrient exchange with trees and enhance moisture retention. Oak trees growing alongside native grasses may show improved health and resilience against wildfires.

Preserving native flora on our hillsides can also mitigate the risk of mudslides when those heavy rain events hit.

That’s why volunteers planted dozens of native oaks trees surrounded by native perennial grasses at Lucidity Festival’s Regenerative Action Day in 2022!

3. Harvest Rainwater and Establish Rain Gardens

At present, a significant portion of California’s agricultural operations and lawns rely on depleting underground aquifers for irrigation. This reliance poses a considerable long-term threat to both wildfire susceptibility and drinking water resources in the state.

Moreover, conventional grass lawns have limited capacity to absorb rainwater, leading to rapid saturation and subsequent runoff into storm drains during the rainy season. This runoff exacerbates flooding issues in suburban and urban regions.

An alternative approach involves implementing rainwater catchment systems designed to slow down, disperse, infiltrate, and retain rainwater within the soil.

Examples of such systems include rain gardens, swales, mulch pits, ground covers, as well as tanks and ponds engineered to capture and store rainwater for prolonged periods, thereby mitigating rapid runoff into streets and drainage systems.

Information HQ in its early stages of build week with Dream Maker volunteers posing out front.
Photo by Alexander Siegel

4. Establish Greywater Systems

On average, each American discards over 14,000 gallons of greywater annually into the sewer system—an amount that could nourish a 20×20 ft flower garden for more than four years!

Greywater, the water produced from activities such as bathing and laundry, holds great potential for reuse, particularly in nurturing plants. Implementing greywater systems presents a straightforward solution to maintain verdant and fire-resistant landscapes around buildings during dry seasons, all while conserving precious potable water resources.

5. Adopt Fire-Resilient Landscaping Practices

Regrettably, many of the drought-resistant plants commonly utilized for landscaping in California residences also pose significant fire risks. Pine trees and shrubs such as lavender and rosemary are particularly susceptible to intense burning during wildfires. Opting for native fire-resistant species can enhance property safety against such threats. 

While numerous alternatives exist, xeriscaping featuring rocks and succulents—plants with low combustibility and high water content—offers an effective strategy for diminishing fire hazards in residential areas. Replacing our grass lawns with drought-tolerant, fire-resistant native plants will not only conserve water, but also help recharge groundwater and prevent erosion!

Workshop presenter with back facing to camera and participants diligently taking notes.
Photo by Sydnee Wilson

Lucidity Festival is a great place to learn more about some of these issues and meet like-minded individuals. Every year the festival hosts workshops and panels about permaculture, environmentalism, climate change, activism and more! 

For starters, this year at Lucidity I recommend attending:

Oak Woodlands as Indigenous Food Forests with Nathan Lou

Climate Change: Inspiration and Motiviation with Nicole LaFleur

Living With Our Wild Neighbors with with Brittany Rickan

Reimagining Indigenous Cooperation with Danielle Klein

Next Steps

While the above is not an extensive list, they are some actions can be taken today towards regeneration. The first step is learning more about regenerative solutions, and sharing this knowledge with your community helps a lot. If you want to learn more, we recommend doing some research on permaculture, which is a regenerative design science that aims to heal the planet while meeting human needs. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *