I’ve traveled around the United States for years and I’m always thrilled by its beauty and heartened by how much Americans love our country. Until recently, it never occurred to me that we are all slowly ruining it.
My attitude about the environment was simple: I didn’t litter or waste food, and I ate what I caught. But now I know – and it’s hard to believe– that I was part of a culture that is threatening our future.
Years ago, it was easy to doubt the warnings about the climate. After all, we’d overcome environmental challenges before: acid rain, smog, DDT, and more. Surely the warming atmosphere was not much to worry about.
We have the EPA. How could oil and gas emissions be threatening our planet’s ability to sustain us? It’s tempting to deny the facts because the solutions to saving the planet require that we adopt a more Spartan lifestyle. Who wants to hear that? Not fun!
We just don’t know how to respond to the slow-moving extinction that we’re causing. It’s like the storm is out there somewhere, but it certainly can’t be as bad as predicted and perhaps it will change course.
Most Americans haven’t acted. Every day I see the signs: cars idling while the driver texts; government vehicles idling with no one in them; public buildings freezing because the thermostat is set so low; stores still using plastic bags. The list goes on.
While each act is insignificant, collectively they demonstrate the failure of our nation’s leaders to acknowledge the danger of the warming climate and do something to halt and reverse the damage.
If government and business leaders aren’t taking action, how can individuals make a difference? We don’t do much because we feel powerless. We have often been misled about climate change. We are resigned about politics, especially federal politics.
But please listen. It seems more obvious every day that climate change is taking a relentless toll. Addressing the threat isn’t about us; it’s our children’s future.
Calling the evidence “fake news” is laughable. The jury is in.
So, please listen. Find an organization committed to making a difference. I have come to realize that ordinary people like me can educate ourselves and become effective advocates since I found such a group.
There are many organizations working for a stable climate. Give some a listen and try them out. I tried the Sierra Club, 350.org and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). There’s Xtinction Rebellion, The New Majority, Audubon, and Mom’s Clean Air Force to name a few. Try some out.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been home base for me for the last four years. Its mission is to promote and support political leaders who have the courage to tell Americans that the warming climate is dangerous and it will cost a lot of money to address the crisis.
CCL trains and support volunteers to build relationships with elected officials, the media, and community groups. We are lobbying for a refundable fee on carbon emissions and welcome your support.
Jeff Dorian is the Group Leader of the Broward Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.