Few people deny climate change is real these days. Here is an excellent summary. Extreme drought and resulting raging fires, extreme rainfall and flooding, and rising sea levels are a few of the most obvious signs. Worse changes are not as obvious–rising CO2 concentration in the air and sea, resulting in more acidic water, killing coral reefs and other marine life. Rising sea temperatures resulting in melting glaciers, less ability to absorb heat from rising air temperatures, and greater evaporation of water into the air which produces downpours of rain. Climate refugees from flooding, fires, drought stricken areas, famine, and/or the political consequences of these, such as in Syria, Louisiana and California.
There are some hopeful signs, mainly related to the expansion of renewable energy sources, resulting in electricity prices that are falling below that from fossil fuels. As has most often been the case throughout history, money is driving the change. In this case, away from fossil fuels.
Each gallon of gas, each pound of coal burned, adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, adding to the environmental damage. There is no moral justification for continuing to do so. We just have to stop burning fossil fuel now.
And yet the fossil fuel industry and those who profit from it continue to expand extreme extraction practices such as tar sands mining and fracking, and the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to support it. At the same time, billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel infrastructure is at risk because of rising waters along the Gulf coast. It seems the ultimate irony to try to force the construction of new pipelines, when the infrastructure to process that oil may be flooded as a result of burning fossil fuel.
Water is a critical issue now. Fracking contaminates huge volumes of water with cancer causing and other chemicals and impurities. Huge tailings ponds hold the waste from tar sands extraction, and release methane gas. Oil spills contaminate rivers.
After years of work by the environmental community, including building a national organization and providing training for nonviolent civil disobedience in preparation for nationwide direct actions to oppose the Keystone pipeline, President Obama announced his decision to not approved it. For the first time the people prevailed against the fossil fuel industry.
Native Americans were in the forefront of that effort, as they are again today, resisting the construction of the Dakota Access (Bakken) Pipeline. That pipeline would go under both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The inevitable spills will threaten the water supply for the people and crops of the agricultural belt of the country. It will be a disaster for the nation’s food and water supplies.
This is not the time to sit on the sidelines. Our children and grandchildren’s future will be determined by what we do, or do not do, to protect our water and environment now.
Please do anything you can to raise awareness, and to support those trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Be a leader if no one else is. Support one another. Rise Up Now. This affects us all. Protest and resist wherever you are.
Photo taken by Peter Clay, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friend, who just returned from another trip to North Dakota.