Wake up to the reality of climate change

Apr 17, 2019

As we approach Earth Day on April 22, I am thinking about the first Earth Day as a teach-in by Sen. Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin to draw attention to what was happening to our earth after a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 1969; the burning of the Cuyahoga River; the smog in our large cities, etc. On Dec. 2, 1970, the Nixon administration signed into law a newly formed agency of the federal government, which was to improve water treatment plants, set standards for vehicle emissions, reduce automobile pollution, seek regulations concerning the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes, clean up the foul air and water, etc.

Well, 49 years later and many more oil spills, contaminated water in Flint, Mich., and West Virginia as well as many other states — we are going backward especially since Jan. 20, 2017. With the more intense storms, droughts, fires, you would think people would begin to put two and two together that the climate is changing.

Why won’t people accept the findings of scientists? Why won’t Catholic Christians especially in this area listen to the Pope, who is a scientist and representative of the founder of the Catholic Church? In 2015 Pope Francis invited all to “care for our common home” in his encyclical, “Laudato Si.” When the current president visited the Pope, he was presented with a copy of the encyclical.

Sadly, it was not read by the president and he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. The Environmental Protection Agency, under this administration, is rolling back regulations on air and water quality, as we have seen devastating hurricanes hitting the east coast, Puerto Rico, Florida, Alabama, and now the widespread flooding in the breadbasket of our country.

Many of our senators and representatives applaud the rollback so fossil fuel companies can make more money.

People wake up. Scientists say we have 12 years to make a difference. People make fun of the Green New Deal Proposal. In what kind of world do you want your children and grandchildren to exist?

The United Nations’ weather agency says extreme weather last year hit 62 million people worldwide and forced two million people to relocate as man-made climate change worsened.

The theme of Earth Day 2019, which is Protect our Species, “grew out of the recognition that human activities (climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution, and pesticides) are the leading causes of what Elizabeth Kolbert calls the Sixth Extinction, which may well be our own.”

Margaret Meeker