A call to action | AspenTimes.com

A call to action

Dear Editor:

Many thanks to everyone who attended the Climate Action Party with 350.org founder and environmental writer Bill McKibben last Friday. It was a great success and a testament to the wonderful community we have in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Mr. McKibben spoke candidly about the challenges of living on a planet altered from climate change. Precipitation is up 5 percent, forcing a deluge of downpours and floods. Just in the past 10 weeks, flash floods have ripped through Nashville, Tenn., Arkansas and the Texas-Mexico border. Towns, nations and continents (!) are continually breaking all-time temperature highs. June was particularly sweltering, with Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Chad all surpassing historical heat records and Pakistan recently setting the all-time high for Asia at 129 degrees. (Not to mention the East Coast of the U.S., which has been slogging through 100-degree temps for more than a week.) As Mr. McKibben said, it is as if the hundred-year storm is happening every day in some part of the world. And, this is with only a 1 degree global mean temperature increase.

Scientists project that a planet 5 degrees warmer is well within reach if we do not act quickly and decisively. If 1 degree has the ability to have us catapulting from one disaster to the next, we dare not wait to see what 5 degrees is like.

So, why is it that we are setting ourselves up to take this risk? It is easy to blame the fossil fuel industry for this inertia, given their successful lobbying to prevent climate legislation thus far. However, it is important to remember that we, as voters, shoulder responsibility for inaction as well. If we don’t make it loud and clear to our leaders what we want – a price on carbon – then we will lose a fight without ever going to battle.

Take a few minutes today to call your senators and representatives and demand that they support a bill that places a price on carbon. Tell them you want to see them support a target of 350 ppm. It is our duty to speak up. As Martin Luther King once wrote, “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty done by the bad people but the silence over that by those that are good.”

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Katherine Dart

Woody Creek

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