Healthcare Educator: Climate Change is Here, Californians Need to Take Action

Extreme becoming norm in parts of California

Manny Otiko


Photo by m01229/Flickr

While many people in the Republican Party challenge the existence of climate change, Californians are already dealing with the effects. Some of those Californians were guest speakers at a recent press conference hosted by Ethnic Media Services.

Esther Bejarano, programs manager, Comite Civico del Valle Inc., is a healthcare educator who lives in El Centro in Imperial County. She talked about how extreme temperatures are forcing people to change their habits.

Bejarano said Imperial County has always been a hot place. But climate change has made it even hotter. Now the area is seeing temperatures averaging around 110. Bejarano said recently it was 100 degrees at 8 a.m.

Changing Habits

This is forcing people to change the way they live for the sake of their health. And that’s where Bejarano comes in.

“Now it is as hot as ever,” she said. “Climate change is taking effect on our bodies.”

Her son has changed his lifestyle. She tells him to always carry a water bottle and he was recently forced to cancel a daytime soccer game.

Bejarano says high temperatures mean people will have to start going outside with parasols, hats and eyeglasses to protect from the sun.

Naturally, people are turning to technology to stay cool. But this is putting a strain on AC units. Bejarano says it takes almost a day to get your AC unit fixed, and that wait can be deadly.

Bejarano has a blunt message about extreme heat and climate change.

“Be ready, it’s here, take action,” she said.

Seniors at Risk

In a video message, Dr. Sharon Okonkwo-Holmes, family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente…



Manny Otiko

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.