This month’s SEM article was going to focus on another topic. But it was pushed aside by the urgency of the United Nations’ new climate report. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded it’s “unequivocal” that humans have warmed the skies, waters, and lands and that many of the “widespread and rapid changes” are irreversible within our lifetimes.
Humans are dangerously warming the planet through the burning of fossil fuels. Warming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions also result from the clearing of land for agriculture and urban development which releases as CO2 the carbon stored in trees, other plants, and the soil. There’s a growing concern, too, about other GHG emissions like nitrogen dioxide (fertilizer production) and methane (livestock farming; decomposing of solid waste in landfills; and oil and gas drilling).
Chicken Little was right—the sky is falling. John Kerry said, “The IPCC report underscores the overwhelming urgency of this moment. We can get to the low carbon economy we urgently need, but time is not on our side. This is the critical decade for action.”
Far more aggressive action is required, and we must make changes in our lifestyles and be(come) active advocates for our sacred earth. Can you modify by a couple of degrees the winter/summer temperature in your home? Or replace your natural gas furnace/AC unit with a heat pump? How soon can you save enough to buy an electric vehicle? Can your family reduce its consumption of meat?
Please review the Hot Earth Liberation Plan “What You Can Do To Fight Climate Change” on SEM’s website at https://www.universityucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/What-you-can-do-to-fight-climate-change.pdf The top options are:
1.) Talk about your climate change concerns to everyone in your life
2.) Be an influencer! Contact your representatives to support actions to fight climate change. The advocacy organization Climate Solutions says, “The more people talk about climate, the more motivated they are to do something about it.”
Our dithering is tied to a lack of political will and the influence of the fossil fuel industry. The IPCC report has compiled the best available science and created a solid foundation for decision-makers to act. Now it’s up to us to put enough pressure on decision-makers to actually reduce emissions, be they corporate executives or government officials.
Changes are needed in manufacturing, buildings, transportation, agriculture, how electricity is made…
The Senate’s passage of an infrastructure bill means the already voluminous GHG emissions from manufacturing asphalt, concrete, and steel will increase. If we can’t persuade firms like Seattle’s Ash Grove Cement to go green, more dramatic thermostat adjustments will be needed because our options are disappearing and “laissez-faire” and “mañana” are no longer acceptable. We have only 8½ years to halve our emissions!
Anyone can be added to SEM’s email list for legislative and environmental alerts by contacting UCUCC’s office. But that’s not enough now. The world has changed, and we must change how we deal with today’s climate crisis. SEM is asking EVERYONE to contact their federal, state, and local government officials and emphasize the need for them to reduce GHG emissions.
We need leaders who can implement bold projects like the building of planned communities powered by solar energy. That’s what Tesla’s CEO is currently doing in Austin where Tesla is building large manufacturing plants. As UN Security General Antonio Guterres said, “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”
The Earth is Sacred – Not Ours to Wreck