175658 Vulnerability of local restorative environments to global environmental change

Monday, October 27, 2008

J. Aaron Hipp, PhD , George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis, MO
Oladele A. Ogunseitan, PhD, MPH , Program in Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
In 2006, 12.3 million people visited one of seven California State Beaches and Parks in the Orange Coast District (OCDSBP). According to the most recent California State Parks survey, more than two-thirds of visitors to state parks reported participating in at least one of the following activities: walking for fitness/fun; driving for pleasure/sightseeing; visiting historic/cultural sites and events; beach activities; surf play; visiting outdoor nature museums, zoos, or arboretums; picnicking; wildlife viewing; and trail hiking. Such park visitation reputably offers considerable health benefits with respect to psychological restoration and physical activity participation. There has been a paucity of research on the vulnerability of such park experience, utilization, and visitation to natural phenomena such as climate change.

The California Climate Change Center (CCCC) predicts up to 75cm of sea level rise (SLR) and at least a ten-fold increase in coastal flooding by 2070. They project a 2-4 time increase in heat wave days and 25-85% increase in days conducive to ozone formation. With approximately 17 miles of beach and 6,000 acres of coastal scrub canyons, I hypothesize OCDSBPs, and the experiences and activities afforded within, are at significant risk to these consequences of climate change.

I have initiated a GIS-based climate change vulnerability assessment within the seven beaches. Preliminary data suggests upward of 30% of sandy beach area may be lost due to SLR and over 50% of one park submerged during coastal flooding. In addition, I am employing weekly surveys within three OCDSBPs quantifying visitor use, experience, and environmental perception.

Learning Objectives:
Recognize the global environmental change vulnerabilities of California State Beaches. Identify public health-related consequences of global environmental change within California State Beaches. Evaluate the importance of California State Beaches to the physical and psychophysiological health of residents and tourists.

Keywords: Climate Change, Well-Being

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: it is my original research that I am completing as a requirement for a PhD in Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.