Friday, September 16, 2016

Climate Change is Personal

It’s been a record hot summer here in New York (and elsewhere), with heat waves lasting way longer than usual. But at least I didn’t have to worry about our house being in the path of an uncontrolled forest fire or flooded by extreme rainfall.

So, is this weather the new norm?  Are we on a path for sustained high summer temperatures and dangerous weather-related catastrophes?  People much smarter than me have been raising warning flags for years and finally, most of our elected officials are realizing that this is not just a possibility, a passing phenomenon…climate change is real and it is here. The scientists were right.

But is our government - any government - capable of actually turning this around?  I'm afraid the answer is no.  In large part, it will be up to each of us.  Climate change is personal.

Preserving our planet and our way of life for the next generation depends on how we, as individuals, heat, cool and power our homes, how we use transportation and even what we choose to eat!

The idea that we can't develop enough renewable, sustainable energy to power our lives was developed and is still being heavily promoted by the fossil fuel industry and some of their elected shills. But it’s not true.

Solar energy is available everywhere, and offshore wind farms can deliver a large percentage of our energy needs.  Geothermal uses the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes and businesses, and real conservation can make up the balance.  Have you heard about PASSIV HOUSE

We also have to consider electric cars, or those with good gas mileage, and of course, try to drive our cars fewer miles. And public transportation, especially when it's electric, has to step up to the plate and become an attractive alternative. Trains are incredibly energy efficient and they need to be clean and comfortable, and move us to popular destinations all over the country.

But it gets more personal than that. The fact is that production of meat for human consumption is arguably the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the world.

More than one third of the fossil fuels used in the United States are used for animal production. And if that's not bad enough, it also requires enormous amounts of pesticides and pharmaceuticals (more on that problem later), and animal waste is a major source of water pollution.

Here is a good link to get the whole picture.

So let's skip the steak, vote for the wind farm, and make that call to the solar company. Every one of us needs to do our part to save this magnificent earth for our children and grandchildren.