Monday, April 13, 2015

Earth Week in Rochester is not just for environmentalists


CCCareSThe 10-days of Earth Week in Rochester, NY (highlighted by a two-day appearance of world renowned climate scientist and activist Dr. Hansen) is mostly for those who still don’t ‘get’ Climate Change. Environmentalists already know that our local community and the world at large is warming; that our way of life, our infrastructures, and our public health are in danger by not acting on Climate Change. It’s not too late to act, but it’s getting there. After a certain point, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will be simply scurrying around trying to adapt to a warming that won’t stop. The threshold where we can actually stop that warming is coming to a point of singularity, a point where all the countries of the world will decide to keep greenhouse gases below 2C (or 3.6F) above preindustrial averages at the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty in December—or they won’t. If they don’t, the ride is going to get very rough.

Rochester’s environmentalists are making a fantastic attempt to wake up the rest of our community on Climate Change this critical year. These efforts will be a great big waste if only the converted show up—as is what usually happens on Earth Day. ROCHESTER NY EARTH WEEK 2015, from Friday, April 17, 2015 to Monday, April 27th, includes: Fast Forward Film Festival (check this out, it’s really neat); Pachamana’s Awakening the Dreamer-Changing the Dream Symposium; Climate Science 101, with Dr. Susan Spencer; Dr. Hansen speaks to our community on WXXI (PBS) Connections; “Science in Film Series: Future Weather” screening at the Little Theater (with a Q&A afterwards with Dr. Hansen); Dr. Hansen speaks at a featured talk at Sierra Club Forum at MCC; RISK–Rochester “Introducing Sustainability to Kids”; “Climate Activism 101”; "Mothers Out Front Drinks"; “Ask and Activist” panel discussion; an “Interfaith Celebration of our Planet: Renewing Our Commitment to the Earth and its Inhabitants through Prayer and Song’; “Talking With Kids About Climate Change”, and a Citizens’ Climate Lobby Open Meeting (which means, ya’ll are invited). Go here for all the details.

Demonstrate that you care about our environment and addressing Climate Change by getting a non-environmentalist to come to at least one of these events.

Filling these events with only a couple of hundred local environmentalists won’t fix a problem like Climate Change. Only when our community at large comes and engages this issue in force will we have a chance of addressing it. At its core, Climate Change is a real (physical) world issue, not one of ideology or faith. We’re not selling anything—it’s a crisis.

It is at the level of insurance costs that many who don’t believe in Climate Change will begin to finally feel its impact. For some, Climate Change is only an environmental issue and for them, environmental issues are not important, only the god almighty dollar matters. Some (actually a lot of folks and too many politicians) say that if we address Climate Change we will wreck our economy and so we should keep to business as usual--regardless. Ya gotta laugh at this craven absurdity. Mother Nature doesn’t give a hoot about our man-made economy, and when the glaciers melt the water will rise, and when the water rises, shoreline property owners will feel the pinch from their insurance companies. 

How Flood Insurance Could Drive Americans From Coasts As salty waters ride the fossil fueled escalator of sea level rise into American streets and homes, rising flood risks may force coastal neighborhoods — if not entire cities — to be abandoned in the decades ahead. “You can’t build a seawall along the entire Eastern Seaboard,” Jessica Grannis, a climate adaptation specialist at Georgetown Climate Center, said. The challenges of shoreline retreat loom large as the latest round of hiccupping reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program take effect this month. (April 7, 2015) Climate Central

Also, Climate Change is going to dramatically affect public health issues; preparing the public should be a top priority. Ignoring this issue and not preparing the public will produce doom and gloom. Not the other way around. For those who don’t like to think about Climate Change because it’s so gloomy, it is precisely because they don’t think about it and don’t press their leaders to take action that it will actually cause the doom and gloom.

Video: Researcher warns of climate-driven public health impacts in TEDx talk. University of Michigan's Valerie Tran didn't mince words at a recent TEDx talk.  "Climate change is our generation's greatest threat to public health," she said bluntly in the talk given last month.  Tran, pursuing dual master's degrees at the university's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and School of Public Health, cites weather-driven changes to pollen and allergens, decreased water availability, increased natural disasters, extreme temperatures and changes in disease transmission as some of the most pressing issues. "Climate change is going to affect all of us. Everyone in here," she said to the room of 1,300. (April 9, 2015) The Daily Climate

Climate Change is about planning. Earth Day is about reminding ourselves that our environment, our life support system, matters. If just a handful of environmentalists come to Rochester’s Earth Week events, and the silent majority sit home and ignore this worldwide crisis, then our leaders will continue to talk the talk, and no one will hold them accountable for not preparing us.

Remember: Don’t just ask our leaders what they are doing to address Climate Change. Ask them what effect their efforts are having on actually solving this problem. Simply grabbing the low-hanging fruit of this problem from a great big economic tree just ain’t going to matter enough.

Time passes.

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