Monday, October 17, 2016

Devin Carroll - October 16, 2016 - Congress needs to take action on climate change

Congress needs to take action on climate change

Congress is resisting acting on climate change.

Our military sees security threats, from flooding of coastal bases to increasing warfare and unrest caused by changing regional climates. They have plans to deal with climate threats and make bases and equipment as carbon-free as possible. But Congress is not helping.

Top NASA scientists use satellite data and fine-tuned models to predict a precarious future. Congress has undermined this work. I am not a scientist” is their excuse to ignore science.

Insurance companies are alarmed by financial risks. Residents of low-lying coastal areas such as south Florida already have a hard time finding insurance. This is why three Republican representatives from Florida are among 14 cosponsors of a resolution which recognizes the reality of human-caused climate change and calls for action.

Why only 14? Every district faces big risks. In Fresno’s neighborhood, increased drought and baking hot summers will challenge farmers and endanger outdoor workers.

American inventors develop new technology. Businesses invest in conservation and green energy. Economists want to help them with a price on carbon, such as cap and trade, or better, a carbon fee and dividend.

Please, Congress. Take action that tells the world, “We are in the game.”

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Devin Carroll, Fresno
October 16, 2016

Vicki Hellenas - October 14, 2016 - What will it take to change our lives to address climate change?

What will it take to change our lives to address climate change?

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Recent retirement has offered some unexpected benefits. There is time to really pay attention to important things that were previously in or out of my awareness with the flick of a radio switch on a long commute.

Climate change and our impact on it as a species had been a frequent topic on the stations I listened to. Interesting, alarming, but not something I felt I had much pressing engagement with because my energy and attention were too diverted. I was busy making a living and justifying a daily commute that had me on the road for over 40 hours a month.

Time spent in the car gave plenty of opportunity to resent the gray haze that hides the Sierra on most days, the parched trees and oleanders along Highway 99, and the visual impact of water restrictions. Now I find myself realizing that my busy lifestyle obscured insight and promoted denial of my contribution to the general mess we call air pollution and drought.

Today, I’m wondering, “what and where is our internal barometer of how uncomfortable it has to get for us before we are willing to make changes in the way we go about our lives?”

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Vicki Hellenas, Fresno
 October 14, 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Don Gaede - October 6, 2016 - Humans must act now on climate change

Humans must act now on climate change

The Earth is now warmer than it has been for 120,000 years, according to a new Stanford University study (story Sept. 28).
No surprise. We are seeing record heat and fires plague our West coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the last 16 months have been the hottest streak our planet has seen since record keeping began 137 years ago.
Whether you believe God intentionally created Earth for us humans, or this planet came about via a wonderful accident, we live in a unique place, a unique, beautiful and vulnerable place. Christian environmentalist Peter Illyn writes, “For all its epic scale, the God-drawn balance of climate is remarkable fragile.”
Katharine Hayhoe✔ is a Christian climate scientist, and author of the book “A Climate for Change.” The natural greenhouse effect, she states, has kept Earth at an ideal temperature for untold ages. But this effect is now being altered, “enhanced” by human activity. CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is adding an extra “blanket” around our world, making it uncomfortably warm.
We humans have a choice, and we must act now. Let’s not squander this unique and beautiful gift, endowed to us by our creator.

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Don Gaede, Fresno
October 6, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Radley Reep - September 30, 2016 - Students: To stop global warming, think local

Students: To stop global warming, think local

My thanks to Rachel Mrkaich, a high school student in Clovis, for her thoughtful letter of Sept. 23 imploring politicians and businesses to act quickly to curb global warming.

I’d like to offer the perspective of a long-time teacher and activist. Business is “private” enterprise. Go public. Focus on government, on local government primarily, where anyone of any age has the right and the opportunity to participate.

High school students are well versed in U.S. government; unfortunately, they’re much less familiar with local government, which is where the bulk of the decisions are made. They’re able to describe in detail the U.S. Constitution but can say little about their local “constitutions,” the city, county and regional plans that affect every aspect of their lives, everything from employment opportunities to livable communities to environmental protection and, yes, even global warming.

Were high school students to routinely converse with Valley residents knowledgeable in the form and practice of local government, our San Joaquin Valley would change dramatically for the better.

I’ve had the pleasure to teach high school students. They’re inquisitive, inventive and tenacious when it comes to problem solving.

Stop global warming? Maybe not. Fix the problem at home? Why not!

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Radley Reep, Clovis
September 30, 2016

Connie Young - September 28, 2016- Trump led birthers off a cliff; climate change is next

Trump led birthers off a cliff; climate change is next 

Given that Donald Trump has finally admitted he was wrong about President Obama’s birth certificate, can we trust his judgment about climate change? You may recall that he called it “a hoax.”

Considering the difficulty he had figuring out a basic legal document, what are the chances that he’ll be able to understand and make good decisions about something as complex as global warming?

In the case of the birth certificate, the only thing lost because of Mr. Trump’s poor judgment was his credibility. With climate change, the losses will be people and places we love.

Connie Young, Fresno
 September 28, 2016

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Rachel Mrkaich - September 22, 2016 - Hold polluting businesses accountable

Hold polluting businesses accountable

 When is enough, enough? If the combination of the drought, the massive death of the trees in the Sierra Nevada, wildfires, and the rising temperatures aren’t enough, what is? Will it take a three-foot increase in ocean levels, the rate of extinction increasing precipitously, or a five-degree temperature increase to motivate people to finally do something about global warming?

There comes a point when the damages done are so great that we cannot fully restore what once was. As a high school student who cannot hold politicians and businesses accountable, I ask that you – those who can – take action. 

My generation is growing up in a world plagued by the consequences and apathy of the generation preceding it. I fear that if our current trends aren’t reversed now, we’ll never be able to end the cycle of climate change. 

The businesses that contribute most to climate change could easily afford researching and implementing newer, greener energy sources, but they don’t. They prioritize profit over sustainability. To ensure a healthy world for our children and grandchildren, we must act now. Hold polluters accountable and promote a carbon fee and dividend.

Rachel Mrkaich, Clovis
 September 22, 2016

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September 22, 2016