The Climate Action Campaigner’s Life in La Jolla

The Climate Action Campaigner’s Life in La Jolla

Op-Ed: The world population hit 8 billion — but with a peak in sight. What lessons does that have for climate change?

An early morning on the island of La Jolla, California, between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. It’s January, and the temperature is in the high 60s, and the sea is like velvet.

That’s where Bill Hamilton, a climate activist running for Congress in the 9th district, is living.

“It’s pretty low-key,” says Hamilton, as he shows me his kitchenette with a gas stove that’s not yet been turned on. “At first I thought, well, it’s winter and it’s not going to be this cold again until May. But it’s starting to warm up.”

It’s December, and Hamilton has driven across the flatlands of California, the landscape eerily quiet. When the sun comes out from behind the mountains, it looks like the planet might be in a permanent twilight.

While Hamilton and the rest of Californians are still dealing with a massive drought, the city he lives in is struggling with a record number of people — 8,000 in a town with a population under 10,000 — who are trying to learn to love the outdoors.

The town, called La Jolla Shores, sits in the middle of one of the most remote places on earth.

To find the town’s epicenter, you have to drive north on the Pacific Coast Highway to get off the highway at the last junction before the Pacific Ocean. At the junction, you turn right; a half-mile later you turn left and a second half-mile later you are there. There is no traffic, just a handful of cars. There is a parking lot next to the street, but the people living there say it’s useless. The parking lot is

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