Earth Day, 2016, is today.
While on the one hand it is discouraging to think of one day a year people give a thought to the earth. On the other hand, any way to draw attention to our environmental crisis might lead to some good.
Changing and more extreme weather patterns are finally getting people’s attention. Just this month Houston, Texas, experienced historic flooding with 17 inches of rain, at least 7 deaths, and 1,200 rescues. In India temperatures have again reached 113 degrees F, and are as much as 40 degrees F higher than usual for this time of year. Hundreds of deaths from heat have occurred again, already early in the season. March 2016 was the hottest on record, as have been the previous months.
Many still don’t realize that it was years of draught, leading to famine that lead to the Syrian refugee crisis, and recruits for terror organizations. And that this is a pattern that will occur again and again, with increasing frequency and numbers of people, as the environmental crisis deepens.
And yet SUV car sales are higher than ever and car pooling has decreased significantly. Majorities of people continue to support tar sands mining and their associated pipelines, and fracking despite increasing news reports of disasters related to that. Plans are being made to expand oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Cities continue to struggle to get improved mass transit systems approved.
Two hopeful signs are greatly increasing levels of local resistance to fossil fuel extraction projects all over the world. The success of the Keystone Pledge of Resistance was a significant symbolic victory. The other is that renewable energy capacity is increasing more rapidly than anyone expected, one effect of which is that the cost of electricity production by wind and solar is now falling below the production costs of fossil fuel energy generation. These economics have resulted in the closing of coal fired electrical plants, and stopped exploration and decreased mining of coal.
Our challenge now is to stop fossil fuel mining and also the construction of new fossil fuel related infrastructure. We don’t need more gasoline stations being built in our neighborhoods.
An increasing number of people and organizations are calling for a World War II style of mobilization of industry and the people for a massive response to our environmental crisis. If you care, you can join these efforts. Two of the organizations I am involved in are the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), and The Climate Mobilization.
The following is a message from the White House today:
“That’s why, when I ran for this office, I promised I’d work with anyone — across the aisle or on the other side of the planet — to combat this threat. It’s why we brought together scientists, entrepreneurs, businesses, and religious organizations to tackle this challenge together. It’s why we set the first-ever national fuel efficiency standards for trucks and set new standards for cars. It’s why we made the biggest investment in clean energy in U.S. history. It’s why we put forward a plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. And it’s why in Paris, we rallied countries all over the world to establish a long-term framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions — the first time so many countries had committed to ambitious, nationally determined climate targets.” President Barack Obama
The following was just received from FCNL. Maybe more people are starting to care.
Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced an amendment (S.Amdt.3864) (text below) to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill (H.R.2028) which finds that climate change is real, that human activity contributes to climate change, that over 180 countries are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that Congress has a responsibility to take action. He is joined by Sens. Kirk (R-IL), Ayotte (R-NH), Collins (R-ME), Portman (R-OH), Whitehouse (D-RI), Merkley (D-OR), Schatz (D-Hi) and Markey (D-MA) The Senate may be voting on this amendment as early as next Monday.
It’s a stronger version of the House Republican resolution (H.Res.424) (“Gibson resolution”), and can bring Congress ever more closer to meaningful bipartisan action. Please consider calling your Senator to support Senate Amendment 3864 to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill.