Ah, the morning routine: get up, make coffee, fix my daughter’s lunch, feed the dog, check the headlines which say 2014 Was The Hottest Year on Record. Wait, what? Yes, 2014 surpassed our last warmest year in 2010, and all recorded years of global temperatures heading back to 1880 when we first began such record-keeping. And the ten hottest years on record have occurred since 1997.
What are you going to do about it?
OK, besides disrobing. But seriously. All of us. What is in our power to do something about this? A lot, actually. You can start with what the effect might be if all of us actually spent 5 minutes to contact our representatives and told them we were worried and we wanted leadership on climate change. Even in today’s world where much of our democratic process goes on behind closed doors and is lubricated by deep-pocketed lobbyists and there is so much cynicism and apathy that less than half of us typically vote in any given election (which saddens me to no end but that’s a topic for a different post), our congressional leadership really does want to hear from us, and it really does matter to them and their priorities whether people are bringing an issue to their attention.
And what else? There’s about 136 odd ideas in this blog and all the references contained therein. There are all these amazing Partners in Proactivity and more. There’s a zillion other blogs and articles and sites that address. What else? There’s lobbying for public infrastructure. Installing solar. Contributing to an alternative energy kickstarter campaign. Biking to work or school. Eating with a smaller footprint. Holding the Wall against expanding oil exports. Riding the bus. Turning the lights off when you leave a room. Switching to CFLs. Talking to your kids about climate change and what we all can and should do about it.
Is your head swimming yet? Mine does that a lot. But don’t be overwhelmed, because that can lead you to do none of these things, which is the last thing I want this post to inspire. We don’t have to do all of these things. But it won’t work if only some of us do some of these things, or even some of us do all of these things. ALL of us need to do some of these things. Collectively. And I believe passionately that as critically important as changing individual behaviors is to our climate future, we cannot stop there. We also have to step beyond the boundaries of ourselves and our households, and ask others to join us in solidarity and leadership. Which is why my first action on reading the New York Times headline this morning was to write my representatives and ask them What Are They Going To Do About It?
Dear Representative Kilmer:
This morning, my phone shared the following New York Times update: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/science/earth/2014-was-hottest-year-on-record-surpassing-2010.html?_r=0). Our 1998 record that coincided with an El Nino has been left in the dust- and this is a year with no El Nino. As the article quoted a NASA scientist, ” the next time a strong El Niño occurs, it is likely to blow away all temperature records.”
What are you going to do about it?
I don’t ask this question lightly. We ALL have to do something about this. What am I doing about climate change? I blog about climate change (www.350climatechangeactions.wordpress.com). I attend rallies, like the one on the Canadian border this summer, or in Seattle this fall, protesting oil export expansions that fuel climate change. I am working on CarbonWA’s initiative to pass a carbon tax. This year we installed an 8 kW solar system on our home that gives us about half our household energy needs. And of course, I write my representatives, asking them to show leadership on this profoundly critical issue.
So what are you doing about it? I realize that as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled congress, you have one heck of an uphill battle. When we now have proudly self-proclaiming climate deniers like Inhofe and Coburn in positions of environmental leadership, the future of this issue looks incredibly grim. But I also am very pleased about the steps the White House has been taking on their own, to promote renewables and regulate major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
I recognize that you are surrounded by an culture dominated by deep-pocketed fossil fuel companies and their congressional allies, and it is a terrible place for progress on climate change. As your constituent, I ask that you not allow this culture of corruption and anti-science to control our national congressional conversation on climate change. Please keep speaking truth to power, please keep the overwhelming, wide-reaching, encompassing impacts of climate change on our environment, our quality of life, and on our economy- a fact that seems to escape the likes of Inhofe and company- and make sure that we continue to press forward with pragmatic solutions including strict emission regulations in the power and natural gas industries, disincentives for coal and tar sands export, carbon pricing, and investments in renewables. We have so much to gain for the future of our country’s energy independence and quality of life, and so very little to lose besides oil and gas stock prices, by acting immediately and substantively on climate change.
What will you do about it? I hope you will show leadership and strength in creating a future for our country and planet that is built on reducing greenhouse gases and transitioning our economy to an energy infrastructure that is compatible with the livable future of our planet.
Deb Rudnick, PhD
Certified Senior Ecologist, ESA
and, very importantly, a mom to a member of the next generation who has to live on this planet