Climate Adaptation in California
In the News – State Farm and Allstate Halting Home Insurance
As of June 2023, State Farm and Allstate are halting home insurance in California due to “rapidly growing catastrophe exposure.” Much of that is caused by the dry climate increasing the risk of fire.
In 2020, 4.3 million acres burned and, in 2021, California experienced at least 7,396 wildfires, which burned nearly 2.6 million acres of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Sierra Nevada Caldor fire, for example, (August 14, 2021 through October 21, 2021) burned 221,835 acres. Over 4,000 firefighters fought tirelessly to protect thousands of homes and businesses. At one point the hazardous AQI reached an unbearable 1117. Anything above 300 is considered too dangerous to breathe for even a few minutes. The state had an additional 7,490 wildfires that burned 362,455 acres in 2022.
“As climate risks — ranging from wildfires, drought, extreme precipitation and storm surge — intensify in California and throughout the country, insurance companies and government regulation will have to find a way to adapt,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist and professor at Stanford University.
State Farm’s decision to cease offering home insurance in the most populous state shows “adaptation is very difficult” within the climate crisis, Diffenbaugh added. “What’s becoming increasingly clear is that the gap between what’s happening and what we’re prepared for is getting wider and wider.”
FEATURED ON FILMS FOR THE PLANET
Take a deep dive into California and its struggle with water and check out two outstanding films: “Where There Once Was Water” and “Reflection: A Walk With Water.”
WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER
“Where There Once Was Water” takes a look at the driest of places – California and the Southwest USA – and the deepest of spaces – our inner worlds. It presents an invitation to change our perspective and heal our relationship with water … one watershed, one meal, one raindrop, at a time.
“A film that couldn’t be more relevant to the challenging times that we live in in California and the greater Southwest. Beautifully shot and edited, this documentary goes deeper than most environmental films that I’ve watched, touching on the personal, exploring the sacred connection that has been lost, and providing some practical steps for adapting and making a difference. Some excellent interviews with experts on the subject as well. No surprise that it has been picked up by numerous film festivals.” ~ Cinema House Films
Reflection: a walk with water
“Reflection: a walk with water” filmmaker, Emmett Brennan, embarks on a powerful journey to find stories of hope and healing. Brennan sets out to walk 200 miles next to the iconic Los Angeles aqueduct. Along the way he encounters cultural leaders, ecological iconoclasts, and indigenous wisdom keepers who are re-envisioning our relationship to water.
“A thoughtful, informative, provocative, and inspirational film. Brennen challenges us to consider the manner in which our ill-planned development goals and strategies have created a less resilient environment, especially in the context of water availability, significantly increasing our susceptibility to environmental disasters under a new climate regime. While he asks the viewer to consider what would happen if we designed our lives around water in a radically different way, his film cleverly shows us that the solution isn’t so radical as it may appear for those who know their history and science.”—Kurt Schwabe, Associate Dean and Professor, Environmental Economics and Policy, University of California-Riverside, Co-Editor, Drought in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions: A Multi-Disciplinary and Cross-Country Perspective