By Mark Richer:
Climate change is the most local of issues, as well as the most global. More than 90% of extra heat trapped by our atmosphere because of carbon emissions is absorbed in oceans spanning the globe. But the stronger and more frequent hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones that result hit us in our homes and communities. And glacial melting (see main photo of Alaska’s Juno glacier receding) can lead to both freshwater shortages and flooding downstream, as well as crop devastation.
The facts themselves are undeniable, but images and videos help to drive the message deep. This is the mission of Paula Clements, a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps trained by former Vice President Al Gore and climate scientists. Clements frequently gives multimedia presentations that not only educate but also motivate audiences to seek change starting in their local jurisdictions.
Clements gives the next presentation at the Lee District Democratic Committee monthly meeting on April 26.
Clements frames the climate change issue in three questions:
1. Must We Change? The answer to this is unmistakable. The effects of a warming climate are
visible every day.
2. Can We Change? The alternatives to carbon are vast. Wind energy can supply 40 times more electricity than the entire world currently uses. Enough solar energy reaches the earth every hour to meet the world’s power needs for a full year. Technology exists today to make 100% renewable energy a reality. And as technologies improve, their costs are steadily decreasing.
3. Will We Change? This is the hardest question as it is up to all of us to change. Fortunately there is movement in the right direction at all levels, from local communities to countries. Here in Fairfax County, we need to make our voices heard so all candidates and elected officials know that climate change is a top priority for voters.
Scorecards from the League of Conservation Voters are one way to hold elected officials accountable. “If you can’t change minds, change bodies,” suggests a recent attendee of a Clements presentation, Del. Paul Krizek, D-44, who represents parts of Mount Vernon and Lee districts in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Lifetime scores currently for Fairfax County congress members are:
Don Beyer, D-8: 99%
Gerry Connolly, D-11: 97%
Barbara Comstock, R-10: 5%
Check out the following websites to get more involved:
Local 350.org Groups
Mount Vernon Sierra Club
Mark Richer is a member of Lee District Democratic Committee and a co-leader of Indivisible Below the Beltway
Main photo of Alaska’s Juno glacier by Karen Kirk, Deputy and Photo Editor of The Blue View