Written by By Allison Graves
(CNN) — It’s an idyllic California coastal town with an oceanfront motel, an oceanfront bar, a pier lined with kayaks and a vineyard that pumps out sparkling local wines.
But even in Del Norte County, many people aren’t wild about climate change. The greater region on the northern tip of the state is one of the fastest warming places in the nation, with average temperatures hitting 72 degrees in May, according to Climate Central, an independent nonprofit.
The news comes as scientists from the California Air Resources Board prepare a report and policy recommendations on what steps California needs to take to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The agency estimates that in coming decades, sea levels will rise by as much as 2 feet — damaging the region’s tourism and real estate sectors, as well as its regional economy.
Del Norte’s county seat is Crescent City, where North Coast Brewing Company recently opened a new brewery with a focus on sustainability. Here are a few tips on how to protect your home or business from climate change.
Get used to the rising heat
Rising temperatures means longer summers and months with highs reaching 80 degrees or higher.
“It really just means your thermometer is going to be on the fritz for a longer period of time,” said Kyle Foy, who co-owns No Heatz on the east side of Crescent City. The eight-barrel-brewery features more than a dozen beers on tap and a menu of food items like BLT sliders and high-end burgers.
Hotter temperatures make it more difficult to keep the beer cold. The cooler the beer stays, the more money a glass sells for.
“We had a IPA that was averaging around $7.50 for a pint,” Foy said. “We were selling that one pint for $5 and now the bottles are going for up to $15. So people just aren’t buying as many,” he said.
“In July and August, we’re so hot, it can be like 110 degrees here so it’s really tough to keep your beer cool.”
In Del Norte County, parts of people’s crops are leaving because of heat waves, said Tom Jador, a local pharmacist who grows a wide variety of crops, including soy beans, which are a staple of Asian diets.
Jador grows alfalfa and other hardy crops in the shadow of cliffs in Del Norte and Humboldt counties. When that land dries out, weeds and other pests take over.
“The dead areas around the water line weren’t diseased, they just weren’t growing,” Jador said. “If we didn’t have irrigation, then we would be out of business.”
He said another shift was happening. Before the arrival of Salinas Valley’s labor-intensive vineyards, most people in the county didn’t grow things, but they could pick them.
“The hard part for some of us is the fact that now we’re asked to pump our own water,” Jador said.
The better-known producers are able to afford that expense, but not every family can afford to pay to treat the water, Jador said.
“We live in a place where a lot of people have been farming for a long time, and it’s a bit of a shame when this is how agriculture goes. You get a bunch of people together and work really hard and see it all wiped out in a couple years, and maybe everybody loses their homes,” he said.
While his fields were affected by the drought, he continued to farm them through the five-year dry spell because he knew they were diverse enough to endure.
Del Norte residents may have to grow up, he said.
“We’re going to see a lot of farms go.”