Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What to do with the government's report on climate change

Yesterday, the White House released an extensive report on global warming's effects on the U.S. -- "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States." The findings are not new, if you've been following global environmental events, but they surely are revealing in terms of the seriousness that we find ourselves in.

In the findings, we can expect ... more devastating fires, "wild west shoot outs" for water in Western states, more large-scale flooding, ocean rising of critical proportions, ocean ecosystems' destruction, increasing insect infestations, and extreme heat.

For me, all these issues are of big concern to me and my family and highlight the urgency of what do you do to protect and safeguard your family?

The report encourages adaptation to a changing world of climate change, as well as ways to slow down and prevent emissions that caused excessive greenhouse gas emissions in the first place.

In the end, it is all about choices. We are at a critical crossroads. What will be choose? The status quo or a different path?

For our survival, we MUST choose a different path. As the report conveys, we must improve "energy efficiency, using energy sources that do not produce carbon dioxide or produce less of it, capturing and storing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use, and so on. Choices made about emissions reductions now and over the next few decades will have far reaching consequences for climate-change impacts."

Furthermore, "no matter how aggressively heat-trapping emissions are reduced, some amount of climate change and resulting impacts will continue due to the effects of gases that have already been released. This is true for several reasons. First, some of these gases are very long-lived and the levels of atmospheric heat-trapping gases will remain elevated for hundreds of years or more. Second, the Earth’s vast oceans have absorbed much of the heat added to the climate system due to the increase in heat-trapping gases, and will retain that heat for many decades. In addition, the factors that determine emissions, such as energy-supply systems, cannot be changed overnight. Consequently, there is also a need for adaptation."

Bottom line, this is what you do:
  • Aggressively speak your mind about emissions reduction to your federal and state government representatives, stating that your family's economic viability and physical safety is at stake.

  • Do everything your budget allows to switch to transportation, electronics, household appliances, and other gadgets that are energy efficient, zero-emission producing, and non-fossil-fuel-renewable-energy using. For example, sign up for renewable energy (like wind) through your electrical company today.

  • In water-strapped zones, do your part to conserve water in every way possible and encourage a cap on development that uses more water resources.

  • Plant native trees -- lots of them, everywhere you can. And if you can contribute to legitimate reforestation projects with your money, do it. There is evidence that reforestation has a rapid effect on balancing the climate in your area -- even regionally.

  • Encourage local food growing. As climate change wrecks havoc on growing areas around the world, we need to be able to grow our own food here in the U.S. to feed ourselves without reliance on outside forces.

  • Eat less meat (primarily beef). Livestock contribute a huge amount to greenhouse gases. Convert your family's diet to a vegetarian or Mediterranean diet. <-- These links take you to food pyramids to help you visualize how to eat that way; it's not difficult. You and the planet will be more healthy.

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