Take action on climate change

Letters to the editor 

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Nov 13, 2021

Giulia Mannarino

We live in the most decisive decade for the future of our planet. The global scientists who raised the recent “Code Red For Humanity” alarm are dead serious. Global warming is real, urgent and accelerating. Systemic changes in policies, economies and politics are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As climate scientist Michael E. Mann stated: “The science that we are doing is a threat to the world’s most powerful and wealthiest special interest that has ever existed: the fossil fuel industry … It is about the short-term interests of a small number of plutocrats over the long term welfare of this planet and the people who live on it.” Hopefully the leaders of world nations, who were not on track to meet past Paris commitments and who recently made pledges in Glasgow that are not enough to limit global warming, will surpass their COP26 commitments and take climate actions bold enough to address this existential threat to life on Earth before it is too late to save the grandchildren.

The fossil fuel industries and their executives, who earned billions while ignoring the warnings of their own scientists and the consequences of their actions, certainly bear responsibility for the costs involved to mitigate this crisis. However, humanity cannot leave the industries in charge of creating the problem in charge of the solution. Carbon capture, natural gas and petro chemicals, should not play any part in this future. The only viable solution is renewable generation in the energy sector as well as electrification of transportation. But the power to save the planet from destruction caused by humans isn’t only the responsibility of world leaders.

There are actions individuals can take to help slow down climate change.

Discuss climate change. Talking about climate change at the dinner table and elsewhere is important to transform the culture and mobilize at the scale necessary. Use the power of your vote. Vote in every election and put politicians in place that protect their constituents over corporations and believe in implementing already available solutions. Use the power of your wallet. Divest from banks etc. that finance and expand the climate problem. When shopping, support companies that are concerned about sustainability and their carbon footprint. If possible, purchase items second hand. Eat sustainably. Cut back on beef consumption, plant a garden or trees, shop locally.

Address impacts on the local community. Engage local networks, local institutions and local decision-makers to think about the impacts of climate change for the communities and regions where you live and how to make them more resilient.

Other actions: If you have special skills use them to fight for the climate; give up single-use plastics; if you can, switch from gas to electric vehicles and install solar panels.

And, of course, donate time or cash to local organizations, like Mid Ohio Valley Climate Action, that are dedicated to educating the public in our region about the climate crisis.

Giulia Mannarino