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Your Stories of Climate Coming Home

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June 1st marks the start of hurricane season. The agencies that provide long-range weather forecasts...

June 1st marks the start of hurricane season. The agencies that provide long-range weather forecasts predict a very difficult season. So, it’s possible that another Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina will hit the Gulf Coast or the Atlantic Coast before November.What can Sierra Club groups do in this situation? On Cape Cod and the Massachusetts islands, Sierra Club people have learned a few things from recent experience. Keep in mind that hurricanes aren’t the only environmental  problems that Americans face during the warm weather season. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, massive power failures, and crop failures are also on the list. The following suggestions may be helpful.EMERGENCY SERVICES: If you’re a Sierra Club leader, it’s helpful to know the first aid basics. Red Cross certification means that you’ve completed training that most people understand and respect. Contact local emergency services agencies including the Red Cross. Ask, “How can I be helpful?     What kind of training do I need?” First aid training is useful. Also, volunteer to help with shelter management, during emergencies.The important thing is to “be prepared.” Get your training now, before the emergency develops. For security and safety reasons, and other reasons,  agencies like the Red Cross want to know something about their volunteers.    If you volunteer to help with shelter operations, you’ll probably be asked to participate in a criminal records check. You’ll probably be asked to carry a Red Cross photo identification, during your hours of service.ANIMAL RESCUE: In your town, who cares for wildlife and domestic animals during emergencies? Check with local agencies. Again, if you want to get involved, there will probably be a need for a background check and some basic training.PUBLIC EDUCATION: What’s happening in your local environment? How does climate  change impact on your community? On Cape Cod and on the islands, families are worried about the expansion of Lyme disease season and the arrival of new problems, including the arrival of West Nile virus. We’ve had some community exhibits that include information about what happens as “climate change comes home.” The sign for our exhibit says, “Your Health and Safety in a Changing Environment.” (The message appears in several languages.)Taking the information to environmental groups may be helpful. However: At this point, it’s very important to start reaching out to people who, usually, don’t have much involvement with groups like the Sierra Club. Try to connect with senior citizens, religious groups, human services providers, etc.Our local Sierra Club group is involved in volunteer trainings on May 29th and May 30th. We work with county health workers and the Red Cross  to prepare for the warm weather season. Also, we’ll have some events in early June that alert people to the start of hurricane season.(sumitted by Bob Murphy, chairman, Sierra Club Cape Cod and Islands  Group.)

If the releases of greenhouse gases are the basic cause of global climate change (true I think),...

If the releases of greenhouse gases are the basic cause of global climate change (true I think), then unquestionably the threat is due to activities of mankind.  And no amount of cap and trade legislation, blocking of tar sands pipelines, tweeking of gasoline consumption per mile, etc. is going to accomplish any significant improvement.  If it is people who cause greenhouse gas emissions, it follows that more people on the surface of this planet will lead to even more greenhouse gas emissions. 
If we can not (or will not) take action to slow down the rate of population increase, we are destined to see even more and bigger storm Sandys in our future.  Completely aside from the issue of global climate change, over population is a root cause of almost every threat to the environmental attributes we hold dear.  Hardly a week goes by that I do not receive a solicitation to “Save the ?????” where ????? is whales, old growth forests, tropical reefs, orangutans, scenic vistas, sea otters, wild salmon, polar bears or ice caps.  In my opinion, a rapidly advancing world population increases the threat to every ?????.
Lumberjacks and timber barons do not go into old growth forests just to hear the roar of chain saws, they go there because an ever growing population pays them well to do so.  The orangutan is not threatened by a native of Borneo with a new chain saw, he is threatened by the third son of a New Jersey banker who wants a teak deck on his new boat.
Homo sapiens is the only species capable of developing endangered species lists — and the only species dumb enough to breed ourselves onto an endangered species list.
Donald E. Proctor
Sumner, Washington

Our Children Deserve Better

The droughts in Oklahoma are getting worse each year.

Climate Change, Oklahoma, and the World

We all need to realize that we are not our own entity separate from nature; our futures are linked. Therefore it is in our best interest to take care of what we have. The only things we have.

Wildlife Conservation, Food and Water Security? Enough said.

I am a biologist with an invested interest in our planet’s wildlife (as should everyone else on this planet). Climate change is having severe and well-documented impacts on the phenology of many species. We need to slow this thing down fast!

Keep it clean

I’m concerned with the amount of pollution we are emitting and with water conservation.

Community leaders of developing nations were asking where is the leadership from developed nations while attending the '09 U.N. Climate Summit (COP 15)

I attended the People’s Summit in Copenhagen in Dec. ‘09 and listened to panel discussions/presentations each day. South Pacific Islanders and First Nation People living in mountain regions were rightly asking where is the leadership from the developed world, particularly from the U.S.  to implement a plan to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. 
These community leaders had a strong conviction and were speaking from the hearth without being disrespectful to developing nations. 
Their testimony moved me and has helped me speak with more conviction and passion when I suggest action on climate change.  

Kids signing the card to President Obama at Austin Earth Day. 

Kids signing the card to President Obama at Austin Earth Day. 

Kids at Austin Earth Day signed a “Get Well” Earth...

Kids at Austin Earth Day signed a “Get Well” Earth card to be sent to President Obama

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? As a child, I took family...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

As a child, I took family vacations each summer at the Jersey Shore. Hurricane Sandy literally wiped out dozens of these treasured beach communities.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

While climate change affects us all, it disproportionately affects the poor and vulnerable. We have a moral responsibility to care for our planet and for each other.

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? -Change in growing zones commonly...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

-Change in growing zones commonly accepted + implemented by seed companies
-Pets didn’t get fleas over the winter, now year long problem
-Historied drought last summer with crop loss

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

The significance of the impact of climate change will be borne by our children. I want to leave a different legacy.

I grew up with consistently cold, beautiful, snowy winters. I am seeing that change. I’m also seeing...

I grew up with consistently cold, beautiful, snowy winters. I am seeing that change. I’m also seeing my fellow college age peers suffer from poor diet & lack of affordable education. Many things must change for us to fix our nation.
To me, the fight for a good environment coincides with the fight for better equality of opportunity, clean elections, and a stronger economy. By the way, Mr. President, there is an agricultural system used by Mark Shephard in Viola, WI that can reverse agriculture’s impact on climate change & withstand changing weather patterns by providing our staple food crops with perennial plants, mob stock with various animals. PLEASE see his book “Restoration Agriculture” for details & push this system in the name of climate- control!! I firmly believe it to be an important part of the solution (& it’s economically viable).

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? Climate variability as evidenced...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

Climate variability as evidenced by extreme seasonal weather events that lie outside the historical record eg 50 degree days in January in Wisconsin; extreme rain or drought during summer. These variations from norm affect the cycles of plant and animal life.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

Minimizing the increases in green house gases can reduce the likelihood of cataclysmic events and allow us to ameliorate the potential for extreme hazardous events. We are one people on the earth and must think of how these changes will affect the future habitability and continuance of all living beings and species.

Effects Felt 'Round the World

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

I am from Togo, a West African country, bordered at the south by the Atlantic Ocean. Three roads constructed on the south of the country were already taken by the Ocean and no one knows if the fourth road would be taken too, as the ocean is keeping coming.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

I have been the founder of an environmental association named Jeunes Verts Togo (Young Green Togo) that is (illegible) the local population and has been provided environment education to this population since 2009. Jeunes Verts Togo (Young Green Togo) also act in reforestation and restoration of affected area due to climate change (high dry/ erosion/ etc.) The association also set up some environment clubs in many high school and this is providing education (Green alternatives) to young people. We believe in green alternatives and we trying our best to make the change happened.

Community Importance

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

Our CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) always gives us ramps (wild leeks-a spring ephemeral) in the first box or 2 of the season. Last year (2012) in Wisconsin, we had a VERY weird winter. We had 2 weeks in the 40’s in Feb. when it should have been in the 20’s or 30’s, followed by the regular freezing temps. The apple trees bloomed out of season & the buds froze, cause a huge failure of the apple crop. And the ramps came & went 2 weeks before our first CSA box in April or May.
Our 28 year old daughter was born January 23, 1985. When she was little the Kites on Ice event happened her birthday weekend & we would have her party there-on the ice outside of Monona Terrace. The winters got warmer, & the ice more precarious, so they moved the event to the Memorial Union. Then, there wasn’t good ice for that, so they stopped having it.
In the 1980’s people could do winter sports on the ice nearly all of December. Now the lakes barely freeze for the ice fishers before Christmas.
The maple sugaring season was short last winter (2012), with only about ⅔ the regular yield.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

It’s a social justice issue-the worst effects on the poorest people- Biodiversity is important for resilience & survival- & we’re losing it rapidly -the human spirit, to be healthy needs access to wild places.

Monona Woes

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

I live on lake Monona in Madison, WI. On winter mornings I wake up to the sun reflecting over its smooth ice and in the summer the last thing I look at is the moon’s moving reflection on the water. Because of the algae that fills the lake each year, I can no longer swim in the beautiful water I’ve grown up by. I’m forced to dissconnect myself from the lake that first connected me to the planet.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

I fight climate change because it’s the issue that could unite all of us. Black, white, brown, straight, gay, transgender, rich, poor, young, old, the birds, the bluefin tuna, the pika, everyone. Everyone is impacted by climate change and everyone can do something about it.

Nostalgia and Future Fears

What changes have you seen? How has climage change impacted you?

Throughout my lifetime I have seen Wisconsin’s weather become increasingly erratic and extreme. The sight of my skis and snow shoes -dry, hanging neatly on their hooks- fills me with a desperate nostalgia. In the summers I have seen crops washed away in torrential rains or left to whither in the parched soil. These seem to be glimpses of the future, and to be honest, it scares the hell out of me.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

Why not? I have everything to lose if I don’t fight and everything to gain if I do. I fight for the health of my family, for future generations, for social justice, for stewardship of this good Earth.

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? Last summer in southwest WI- we...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

Last summer in southwest WI- we had a drought that devastated crops. It was so sad & a wake-up call that climate change affects us all.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

The Native American people talk about making decisions based on how it will affect “future generations” not just a quick fix. We need to apply this thinking of “7 generations” to everything we think & do.

I just attended the rally in Washington D.C. Feb. 17 to help make my voice heard for our children’s children children…

Local and Global Impacts

What changes have you seen? How has climate change affected you?

I have seen changing weather patterns and more extreme weather events in the Midwest, where I grew up and where I live. I have also seen the damage that they cause: in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA, the flood of 2008 destroyed much of the city and displaced thousands, including family and friends. It was unlike anything ever seen or even considered in the area, the result of very heavy snow and rain through the winter & spring due to the warmer & wetter air.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is the issue important to you?

I want climate justice for the billions of people around the world today who disproportionately feel the impacts of climate change and for the future generations who, without our action, will inherit an Earth very different from our own.

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? Winters are shortening and are...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

Winters are shortening and are less cold while summer seasons lengthen and get hotter. Weather events are more intense when they occur. it’s harder to rely on traditional growing conditions.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

This issue affects and overshadows all other issues from over population to resource depletion to species extinction to the economy to national security.

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? 1) Extremes of weather, strength...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

1) Extremes of weather, strength of storms in Dane Co & Douglas Co. Drought or flood in last 5 years; planted lettuce 3/25/12!!
2) Phemology -earlier blooming of flowers, budding of trees, planting garden, later harvests, fall colors, warmer temps in Oct/Nov. Annual family trips to cabin in Douglas Co- we have noticed ice out to be sooner in spring (records from Lake Assoc.); panfish nest/breed earlier; song birds nest earlier & “get quiet (when they have nestlings) earlier in June than years past. Wildflowers like gaywings, heptatica and (illegible) bloom earlier and

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

It is deeply disturbing to observe the changes I have seen in the last 20 years. The implications of not mitigating through reductions of CO2 & other g.h. gas is frightening. What will I tell my grandchildren? (that I did all I could.)

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you? We are giving up fossil fuels by...

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

We are giving up fossil fuels by giving up driving. We are downsizing living space to 1 bedroom apt. Joining a Transition (illegible) in Minneapolis. We have seen tremendous changes.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this issue important to you?

Because it is irresponsible to leave a ruined planet to the 7th generation.

World View Come Home

What changes have you seen? How has climate change impacted you?

I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of world traveling this year (I was in Germany with my high school last June and in Haiti with a group from my church last December). These two countries are really polar opposites, with the USA somewhere in the middle. While Germany has not been hit as hard as the USA, it is miles and miles ahead of us when it comes to alternative energy. No matter where you go, there are solar panels and/or windmills everywhere. It really makes one wonder what the hell (pardon my french) is holding us back. On the other hand, the people of Haiti are mostly too poor to afford to power their houses, regardless of the source. That being said, they’ll be among the most affected people in the world by our angry climate. They’ve already been hit by storm after storm (with an earthquake thrown in there) and have done the least damage out of anyone.

Why do you fight climate change? Why is this important to you?

I love nature very much, so I am absolutely devastated at what’s happening to it. However, if we don’t kill ourselves first, I’m confident that the USA and other rich nations will find a way to survive the crisis, though our lives may not be as generally enjoyable. Unfortunately, the world’s poorest countries, like Haiti, are basically doomed. If we continue on our current path those who have done little to nothing to create this problem will literally be wiped from the face of the Earth. Martin Luther King said something along the lines of (and I’m going to butcher this) “An injustice somewhere, no matter how small, is an injustice everywhere.”

Diego wants climate change because of the weather changes. Taken...

Diego wants climate change because of the weather changes. Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13)

Elizabeth wants climate action because she is worried about the...

Elizabeth wants climate action because she is worried about the future of her children. Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13).

Geanna wants the planet to still be here as she gets old. Taken...

Geanna wants the planet to still be here as she gets old. Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13).

Morgan describes her love of seafood. Taken at the Sierra Club...

Morgan describes her love of seafood. Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13).

Adrien describes how climate change affects everything on our...

Adrien describes how climate change affects everything on our planet. Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13).

Dave wants the Keystone XL pipeline project to be shut down!...

Dave wants the Keystone XL pipeline project to be shut down! Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13).

Mike wants climate change because he loves Earth. Taken at the...

Mike wants climate change because he loves Earth. Taken at the Sierra Club and Beer event in Austin, Texas (04.04.13)

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