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Ricky Thigpen stands on a beach with a black and white-striped hoodie and black pants, maneuvering a remote-control jeep.

People of Richmond: How does climate change affect you?

on September 18, 2023

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity.

Q: How have you personally been affected by climate change?

“During Katrina I got my mom, my family and them out. After that, boarding up the house, and I heard explosions from that. From that part, it took me about three days to get to the convention center. That’s how much water we had. … If you take care of the earth, the earth will take care of you. It will give you shelter. It will give you food. But if you kill the earth, you won’t get shelter, you won’t get food.” (Ricky Thigpen, pictured above)

“Earlier this year there was really bad flooding kind of near the start of the year. I work over in Marin and it’s right near the water and it was in a flood zone, so they had to not have anyone come into work.” (Katie Archibald, of El Sobrante)

“I’m always concerned about the waterfront. I’m out here at Miller Knox Park, and I was wondering, what’s gonna happen here in the next 10, 20, 30 years. Rising tides and the storms. Erosion. I’m concerned about that.” (Edward Sandow retired textbook salesman)

Edward Sandow stands with his hands crossed in front of him in a brown and white button-down shirt and a floppy hat.

“I live right on the water. We can see the fish dying there, as well as the change of the migration of the birds. There are also more algaes on the bay because it’s hotter.” 

(Ida Abelson)

“Practices have had to be canceled because of wildfires. We have moved practices from outside to inside because of hundred degree weather. We have had to cancel on meets because of hundred degree weather.”

(Ron Bialkowski, cross country coach and teacher)

Patrice Rollands, in a security guard uniform and neon vest, holds a computer tablet with a picture of growing produce.

“Climate change impacts the way the farm grows food. The fruits grown here cannot compare with the beautiful healthy fruits that came out from my backyard. The fruits I used to get were around 6 inches, now I’m only getting 3 or 4 inches. And the taste of plants is totally different.” (Patrice Rolland, security guard)

“It’s too hot. It’s supposed to be like that in Arizona and the desert. And in the desert it’s like 130 degrees! I have property in Arizona. And sometimes I can’t even go because I have kids. I’m worried about if there’s even going to be a planet. I have all these thoughts going on in my head, but I try and just get through the day.” (Kelly Nicolaisen, photographer and shop owner)

Kelly Nicolaisen, short dark and blond. hair, looks at wall hangings inn her Mom Pop Art Shop in Point Richmond, photographer

“A lot of sea life, dead. … I’ve noticed a lot of dead seabirds and seals and fish, sturgeon, huge. The dogs find them.”

(Frances Gandy, dog walker)

“I’m at the cusp of my life so it’s not going to affect me, but it’s going to affect my nieces, and younger people, a lot.”

(Rod Laursen, 74)
People of Richmond: Should council meetings be strictly in person?

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Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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