By Stephen Meno
Stephen has just joined CT Green Scene as our summer intern. He is a recent Tufts graduate who interned his last semester with Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, an environmental non-profit in Boston. Stephen believes in raising environmental awareness. But, he says, there is enough talk about the problems and not enough about real solutions. Whether it’s climate change or the best green products on the market, environmentalism is accessible and change is well within our reach. Please join us in welcoming Stephen.
Experts have just declared that the planet’s changing climate is quickly approaching the point of no return. I could give you the gory details: there are 390 parts per million (ppm) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and at the current rate of CO2 output which, if things continue as they have been, will increase to 1000 ppm by 2100. What does that mean? If the global community does not act quickly, drastic changes in temperature, weather patterns, and sea level will result in famine, mass extinctions, and trillions of dollars in property damage.
I am certainly not telling you anything new. But my fear is that those who actually do care about the environment will become so frustrated with the lack of government action that they simply become apathetic about it. Unfortunately, it seems as if the government is not stepping up to role. The North Carolina Senate is considering a bill that would allow the coastal commission to calculate sea level rise based solely on historic data, rather than on the rate of glacier melt. Considering this is a state whose economy is heavily based on tourism along their coastline and Outer Banks, to ignore the inevitable sea level rise will only mean millions lost in revenue and in property destruction.
But, there is still hope (especially for those living in the Northeast). A study by the Nature Conservancy found that the Appalachian Mountains might be one of the best locations to be as the planet’s temperature increases. Because of its ecological, topographical, and biological diversity, plants and animals have a greater chance of finding a more hospitable area to migrate to. More to the point, the planet is not irrevocably doomed. By the same token, we can’t just sit back, relax, and let someone else do the dirty work. We as individuals and residents of Connecticut have more power than we realize.
One person can make a difference. All of us together create a tipping point. Encourage your political representatives to support much needed reforms, including government funding for wind and solar energy production, public transportation, and bike paths. Personal choices from buying an electric car to purchasing local, organic food can have a major impact as well. Now that it’s nice outside, walk or bike instead of drive. Assess your carbon footprint and consider the ways to reduce it. Get an energy audit on your home. Recycle. Compost. Plant a garden. Plant a tree. Eat less red meat.
And most importantly, spread the word to others! It is up to us to decide which direction we’ll head in. Be the change you wish to see.
Image courtesy of Nature.org.