Year 4, Month 5, Day 2: Crips And Dips

The York County Journal-Tribune (ME) talks about Earth Day and climate change:

Climate change is the focus of Earth Day 2013, a movement that is now in its 43rd year, and it’s a timely theme for anyone who cares about the environment in which we live.

For years, this phenomenon was labeled as “global warming,” but it’s much more complex than just increased temperatures. It’s true that Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and it’s projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next 100 years.

It’s also well-documented by scientific evidence that human beings – particularly our burning of fossil fuels – are the main contributor to this, since greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in the atmosphere. Global warming, however, is only part of bigger picture of climate change. The extra heat, in turn, causes long-term changes in rainfall that lead to floods, droughts or intense rain; as well as more frequent and severe heat waves, according to the EPA. As well, the EPA notes that oceans are warming and ice caps melting, raising sea levels and changing the nature of the ocean in which so many creatures live.

It’s easy to laugh off “global warming” when you’re shivering in subzero temperatures during a Maine winter, but we have to keep in mind that it’s the big picture over many years, not the day-to-day temperatures, that reveal the warming trend. And this phenomenon is no laughing matter, as it will affect all of our lives through its impact on our health, agriculture, air and water quality, electrical power and transportation.

Political action is necessary to combat climate change, since the biggest problems cannot be addressed by individuals alone. It’s great for each of us to do our own part – by recycling, cleaning up litter on our beaches and parks, conserving energy, planting a tree, and limiting our contribution to pollution – but while those efforts certainly add up to make a difference, they’re small potatoes in the face of major contributors such as the coal burning power industries.

It’s no small task to convince political leaders around the world that we must take significant action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The energy industries are powerful and have significant amounts of money to lobby for their cause rather than for the cause of the environment, which is why the world is so delayed in responding to this threat. As well, some politicians can’t even be convinced that climate change is happening, or believe it’s just the natural course of the environment, despite the solid evidence that it’s a man-made and dangerous phenomenon.

Just reinforcing their sentiments here; these are just ii-V-I licks I’ve strung together. April 20:

Meaningful responses to the threat of climate change have to happen in multiple ways, and on multiple levels. All of us have to be activists and educators — mobilizing our fellow citizens to put pressure on the political establishment, while making it clear to everyone that the science of global heating is absolutely unambiguous. On the individual level, we’ve got to change our lightbulbs and scrutinize our buying habits to eliminate waste — and on the national level, we’ve got to fight against the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in existence.

Major energy corporations are the biggest source of funding for many American politicians, a state of affairs that has hindered the formation of a robust national policy on climate change. Transforming the entrenched thinking of our leadership and the economic models that they exemplify is far more challenging than installing an energy-efficient water heater or composting our lawn clippings.

The coming century could be the saddest story ever told, the farewell of a species doomed by destructive ignorance and hubris. Or it could be the greatest story ever told — a tale of knowledge, conscience, cooperation and progress. The choice is ours.

Warren Senders

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