Few things are more important to our collective interest than the environment. We share it with each other.
This blue-green ball we call home is — for the foreseeable future — the only home we’ve got. And we had better start taking better care of it.
In this ugly presidential election, it seemed the environment had fallen off the radar, in favor of more finger-pointing ads about the economy and jobs. It was good, then, to see at least a nod to the planet on Thursday night during President Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention, and his proclamation that climate change is no joke.
“Yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax,” said the president.
“More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it,” he added, bringing the cheering audience to its feet.
The Huffington Post, in its convention coverage, noted that Obama delivered his speech as the devastating Midwest drought hit food prices, Gulf Coast regions cleaned up from Hurricane Isaac’s wrath, and the West continued to battle destructive wildfires.
Recent reports have found that climate change will bring more droughts, sudden downpours, worsening storms, and boost the frequency of U.S. western wildfires over the next 30 years.
Climate change is hurting us right here in North Carolina.
Human-accelerated climate change is already taking its toll on seven of the Atlantic Coastline’s national seashores, according to a new report from the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Researchers announced just last week that if heat-trapping pollution isn’t drastically reduced, all seven face real risk of being submerged by rising sea levels.
The national seashores most threatened by unchecked climate change are Cape Cod (in Massachusetts), Fire Island (New York), Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia), Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout (North Carolina), Cumberland Island (Georgia), and Canaveral (Florida).
All seven of these coastal areas see a high volume of tourists and vacationers, but this thriving industry would suffer greatly if scientific predictions of sea level rise are realized. The report, “Atlantic National Seashores in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption,” states that all areas listed have a majority of their lands less than one meter (3.3 feet) above sea level, and therefore are at serious risk of inundation by a higher sea level.
“Science is compelling that climate is changing, becoming warmer and much more variable,” said Dr. S. Jeffress Williams, scientist emeritus for the U.S. Geological Survey. ”Many impacts are already affecting Atlantic National Seashores and will do so for decades into the future. This new assessment is important for planning for these changes by documenting effects such as sea level rise and warming on both the natural resources in the parks and also the public who visit the parks and value what the parks offer.”
It’s simple. If we hurt the planet, we’re just hurting ourselves. It’s time to get serious about climate change.