This column is brought to you by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition (LexGWAC).
Rachel Carson wrote: “The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.”
Following the wisdom of one of the world’s great game changers, we accept that challenge, Ms. Carson. On Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at Cary Hall, the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition will orchestrate an ambitious public forum on food, water, energy, investment, and federal, state, and local actions with a panel discussion followed by breakout sessions on the various topics.
Lexington’s Anne Kelly, Ceres Director of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy and Co-Director of the Policy Program, will lead the event. The panel will include Tim Smith, Walden Asset Management, a founder of the socially responsible investment movement; Shanna Cleveland, Conservation Law Foundation; Larry Chretien, Executive Director, Mass Energy; and Sonia DeMarta, Founder of Lexington Farmer's Market and speaker on the link between global warming and our food supply.
Our goal is to have participants of all stripes become engaged, charged up, and leave with a mission and concrete climate action goals. If 17-year-old Nelson Kanuk of Kipnuk, Alaska, can do it, we can too. Nelson is one of six Alaskan youth suing that state to pay more attention to climate change. He explained that when he finally understood what climate change was, he thought—“What can I do to help?” As he saw the world he knew literally washing away before his eyes he urged the state in no uncertain terms to “take action to protect our future by creating a recovery climate plan, to hopefully reduce the carbon emissions in our future.”
Similar suits are being filed on behalf of young plaintiffs in nine states. And yes, given the unfettered ambivalence of our political “leaders” to pay any attention to climate change, our youth have reason for concern. It is High Time we started looking out for the future wellbeing of our children and learn what we can all do to help.
Hurricane Sandy played a major role in helping many of us to sit up and take notice. In fact Sandy had barely moved on out of this region when Congressman Ed Markey called an emergency meeting at Arlington Town Hall to seize the moment and put climate change on our radar. The meeting evoked the compelling sense that we need to have the conversations and recognize that there is much we all can do to help. Our Jan. 13 forum is designed to do just that.
Markey got the climate change message long ago and has been frustrated by the lack of political will to recognize the urgency of what is happening and act to address the problem. In September he released a report, Going to Extremes: Climate Change and the Increasing Risk of Weather Disasters, with Representative Henry Waxman detailing the costs associated with climate change and extreme weather. The report looks at the impacts of this year’s record-breaking heat on agriculture, wildfires, storms, and water levels. It finds the links between extreme weather and climate to be “abundant, robust and well documented.
Please join us on Jan. 13 for this highly interactive event. We have work to do.