April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
1970 an estimated 20 million people turned out to demand that our government protect the health of our people and planet. This event lead to ground breaking legislation protecting our air and water and the creation of the EPA – Environmental Protection Agency.
Fifty years later we face a crisis of greater magnitude – a Climate Crisis.
The scientific community is united in their position that the next ten years are critical if we are to avoid catastrophic changes due to climate change. CO2 concentrations are higher than any recorded measurements in the last 800,000 years and climbing. (See graph below)
If you follow the science you would read headlines like this in the last few months:
“Greenland’s melting ice raised global sea level by 2.2mm in two months” Analysis of satellite data reveals astounding loss of 600bn tons of ice last summer as Arctic experienced hottest year on record.
“Australia’s Record Heat Means Another Blow to Great Barrier Reef” For the third time in five years, abnormally warm water has caused a “mass bleaching” of coral, and some of it will not survive. Scientists say global warming is killing reefs worldwide.
“East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier has retreated almost 3 miles over last 22 years” Scientists assess ice sheet with potential to raise global sea levels nearly 5 feet.
“What winter? Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record” Doyle Rice, USA TODAY.
“Polar Ice Caps Melting Six Times Faster Than in the 1990s” Olivia Rosane, Mar. 12, 2020, Climate. The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, the most comprehensive look at the data to date has found.
To meet the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act signed into law in NYS in 2019 the entire community: residential, business, nonprofit, municipal, transportation… all will have to pull together. NYS set the most ambitious climate goals in the country. The goals of CLCPA are as follows:
* 70 percent of the state’s electricity will be generated by renewable sources by 2030, increasing to 100% clean electricity by 2040.
* Greenhouse gas emissions with offsets will be reduced to zero by 2050.
In some ways it is a similar challenge we face today with the life-threatening coronavirus. We all have to do our part. One difference is that there is no vaccine to save us from climate change. To meet the above goals the community needs to start planning the transition off of fossil fuels now.
I’ve included descriptions of two projects that CCAA is working on that could be useful to the community.
CNY Carbon Challenge
A six-step, three-month project designed to help individuals reduce their carbon footprint. Every two weeks you receive an e-mail. Each mission can take from 20 minutes to a few hours depending how deep you want to dive in.
Outline of the missions:
Welcome/Pre-mission: calculate your carbon footprint
Mission 1: Sign up for clean electricity
Mission 2: Evaluate your heating options
Mission 3: Reduce your transportation emissions
Mission 4: Limit your meat intake
Mission 5: Buy less and buy green
Mission 6: Make a plan and go carbon neutral
For more information and to sign up go to: www.climatechange-action.com/cny-carbon-challenge