WE the People


Toks Talks Transportation blog logoCalifornia’s residents have been up against considerable climate-induced challenges as of late.  The multiple tragic stories coming out of recent storm-hit areas in California reinforce the urgency of the climate crisis. Closing out 2022 and continuing to push hard into the infancy of 2023, extreme weather attacks have been unveiled at a whole other level.

Although we seem to have escaped the severe fire impacts we experienced in recent years, the storms have presented devastation in other forms.

The rain, snow and wind packed a violent punch this winter, delivered painful results, and didn’t give many parts of our state time to come up for air. Some regional areas that have, previously, been minimally-impacted by extreme weather are now trying to recover from dire circumstances.Image of flooded highway with cars stranded in the flood waters

Conventional wisdom has long dictated that humans are at the mercy of our environment, that we are simply beholden to what our eco-system doles out. But as we continue to research, innovate and implement people-focused, climate-centric actions, we see that we, humankind, can hold the climate reins in major capacities. We have the ability—and obligation—to help reverse human-induced climate change and improve our habitat for future generations.

Because people are at the heart of all our work, those of us who are practitioners of climate-related efforts have the unique and essential opportunity to intervene with purpose and direct our climate-focused planning and policies.

Image of Caltrans road workers on the highway during a snow stormWhen weather shows its fiercest disposition, our overarching concern is not so much the what, but, rather, the who. Roads can definitely be repaired; people’s lives sometimes cannot. At the end of the day, it’s people and families being impacted by the violent storms.

At the time of this writing, 12 atmospheric storms have hit the state. Our appreciation for our state and local rescue and repair teams can’t be overstated. Through their heroic efforts, they have made incredible differences in people’s lives and have continued to keep roads safe and clear. Without boots on the ground teams, many communities would still be at a standstill.

An emphatic thank you to Governor Newsom, who has played an important part in California’s recovery through connecting with people, putting in orders and approving funding to help offset and recoup loss.

Climate Change continues to taunt us, but I am pleased with our continued response to this fierce opponent. I am confident that, together with our partners, policies and push, our ongoing work in transportation will result in a healthier and safer climate for the future.

Watch storm video