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Climate Issues

Experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say, “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” In other words, there are no doubts climate change is real, and it’s happening quickly. According to the U.S. EPA, by 2100 global temperatures are expected to increase by 0.5 to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit, with an estimated increase of at least 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit given current greenhouse gas emissions. This increase in temperature is expected to cause more frequent and intense heat waves, change weather patterns and threaten the survival of plant and animal species.

If you care about climate change, here are some things you can do:
Prevent oil drilling in the Arctic
Support bills that would prevent oil drilling off America’s coastlines
Tell Congress to create U.S. climate change legislation–because Trump won’t
Reduce your carbon footprint
Support “keep it in the ground” initiatives
Invest ethically


Prevent oil drilling in the Arctic by speaking out against the SECURE American Energy Act
ACT BY: January 15, 2019
The extraction and use of fossil fuels coal, gas and oil contribute to climate change. Currently, wildlife living in the Arctic are in danger of falling in the crossfire of oil drilling there. Trump has recently vowed to open up 90 percent of US coastal waters to offshore drilling. This year, the House Committee on Natural Resources recommended passing an amended version of the SECURE American Energy Act. The act would allow for drilling of fossil fuels in the ecologically sensitive Arctic. The next step is that the House will vote on the act before it’s sent to the Senate for review. Find your U.S. Representative and tell them to stop Trump’s SECURE American Energy Act and instead protect the Arctic, by writing to them:

You can find your U.S. Representative here.

Here is a sample letter you can copy, paste and personalize:

Dear Representative [name]:

I strongly urge you to protect the Arctic from fossil fuel extraction. I ask you to please oppose any effort to drill on Federal land and in the ecologically sensitive waters of the Arctic. Please do not support the SECURE American Energy Act, which would result in the exploitation and destruction of the Arctic! Instead, please stand behind legislation to permanently protect this region.

The Arctic is a critical ecosystem. Each year, millions of birds migrate there from all 50 states to breed and raise their young, like the Tundra Swan; and the mammals, such as caribou who similarly travel there for survival purposes, completing one the world’s longest land migrations to reach the coastal plain and give birth to their young. The people native to the Arctic National Refuge lands–the Gwich’in people–have relied on these caribou for millennia for their own survival, and call this region the “Sacred Place Where Life Begins.” Arctic waters are home to marine mammals who bring in a significant flow of tourism dollars, economically important fish species and ecologically critical sea ice.

Attempts to open this fragile ecosystem to oil and gas development are highly concerning. Industrial oil fields would cause permanent damage to this vital habitat and to the animals and people who depend on it to live. Drilling would destroy habitat, create a large risk of a deadly oil spill, and further contribute to climate change, causing additional harm to the fast-warming Arctic.

The Arctic is an important place for both wildlife and people. It’s also a special part of the wild American landscape, on par with the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. I ask you to please help protect the Arctic by standing against drilling and demanding increased protections for this special place.

Sincerely,

[your name]


Support bills that would prevent oil drilling off America’s coastlines
ACT BY: February 15, 2019
Great news! Members of Congress are now seeking a moratorium on new offshore oil and gas drilling. In 2019, seven members of Congress introduced legislation in the House that would block the Trump administration’s plans to expand oil drilling off America’s coastlines. However, the Department of Interior is expected to introduce a plan to auction off the U.S.’s offshore territory for expanded drilling. You can read more about the new movement and challenges it faces in this NRDC blog post.

You can help push the movement to stop offshore oil drilling in the right direction by sending messages of support to your Representative.

You can find your U.S. Representative here.

Here is a sample letter you can copy, paste and personalize:

Dear Representative [name]:

I strongly urge you to protect America’s coastlines from fossil fuel extraction. Please support the recent efforts of your fellow Representatives Salud Carbajal, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Joe Cunningham, Jared Huffman, Donald McEachin and Frank Pallone in opposing plans to drill for oil off America’s coastlines. Oppose efforts by the Department of the Interior to exploit the fragile coastal ecosystems off America’s shorelines.

America’s coasts are home to a diverse array of wildlife and plants. It’s also an important place for trade and recreation that employs many Americans. Attempts to expand oil and gas development off America’s coasts highly concerning. Offshore drilling would destroy habitat, create a large risk of a deadly oil spill, and further contribute to climate change, causing additional harm to the fast-warming Arctic.

The coasts are a critically important place for both wildlife and people. I ask you to please help protect America’s coastlines by supporting legislation proposed by your fellow Representatives and opposing the Department of Interior’s plans to expand offshore drilling.

Sincerely,

[your name]


Tell Congress to create U.S. climate change legislation–because Trump won’t
ACT BY: March 1, 2019
President Donald Trump simply does not take the world’s most serious ecological problem seriously. In 2017, he declared the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation because it would “undermine (the U.S.) economy,” and “puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage.” Since then, he’s been denying the facts, and serious consequences of not taking action to mitigate the human-made carbon emissions that are causing climate change.

It’s virtually guaranteed that Trump will take no action to address climate change during his remaining two years in office. So, as John Kerry has written in this op-ed for The New York Times, it’s time for us to urge Congress to create legislation for Trump that seriously addresses climate change. Tell them it’s time to join international climate agreements, make targets for emissions reductions, invest in climate-friendly infrastructure and technologies, subsidize clean energy and phase out use of fossil fuels.

For the U.S. to put financial interests above environmental protection is a large mistake that puts the health and safety of the entire world at risk. Scientists say we have fewer than 12 years to aggressively act on climate change.

Urge your Congressional representatives to address climate change now, since Trump isn’t doing anything helpful. Search for your representative and find their contact information here, and find a sample letter to write to them below:

To The Honorable [insert name here]:

I am writing to urge you to swiftly create legislation that seriously addresses the growing climate crisis, because President Trump is failing to take any action. A lack of action will only push the world closer to the edge of no return. Please listen to the science, which tells us we have less than 12 years to avert a global climate catastrophe.

This planet is the only one we have. We must work together to protect it for future generations. We do not want to be the generation that causes irreversible damage that will have lasting negative effects on human and environmental health – and which is already leading to human rights crises, wars and major ecological degradation across the globe. We must make strong, long-term commitments to climate change like those outlines in these international agreements in order to protect humanity from rising sea levels, droughts, extreme weather events and other repercussions of climate change.

Climate change is a non-partisan issue that can no longer be ignored. The Earth is too important. Additionally, the effects of climate change will devastate the global economy if no action is taken now by all nations, including the U.S. Working toward a solution–renewable energy–instead of perpetuating climate change by burning dirty fossil fuels will help the U.S. economy and create many jobs. “The renewable energy industry remains one of the most vibrant, fast-changing, and transformative sectors of the global economy, with investments totaled more than $329 billion in 2015,” the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration reported in April 2016. The U.S. could be a leader in renewable energy development, but instead it is choosing the quick and dirty path to its downfall by continuing to rely on fossil fuels.

Climate change is real and urgent, scientists agree. So why aren’t you making it a priority for our country to join the rest of the world in protecting the planet from a sure path of destruction? Please act now by creating the plan the U.S. needs to do our part in addressing the climate crisis.

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent issue.

Sincerely,
[your name]


Reduce your carbon footprint
ACT NOW
Most of our everyday activities–from eating vegetables transported to your local grocer from another continent to driving your car to work–involve the emission of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon is one of several greenhouse gases driving climate change. Adopt some or all of these habits to help you reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Get home solar panels
  • Eat less meat and dairy, and more locally grown foods (better yet, start a home garden)
  • Install energy-efficient lightbulbs in your home
  • Get around by walking, biking or using public transportation
  • Cut your energy use by unplugging unused appliances and taking advantage of natural light instead of using electricity to light your home all the time
  • Make sure your home is well-insulated to cut down on heating fuel/air conditioning use
  •  Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of using your dryer on sunny days

Support “keep it in the ground” initiatives
ACT NOW
Burning dirty fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil are a major cause of climate change. Continued extraction, processing and burning of these resources will only continue to worsen climate change. Major climate change mitigation organizations such as Greenpeace and 350.org are pushing campaigns for organizations, businesses, and institutions to divest, or cut ties, from fossil-fuel-linked groups or funders and instead support those who push for the expansion of renewable energy resources. Keep updated on these groups’ efforts to keep fossil fuels and learn how to get involved by visiting their websites.


Invest ethically
ACT NOW
Portfolios and stocks are popular ways to make money off your investments. But some investments are more ethical than others. When creating an investment portfolio or choosing to buy stocks, thoroughly do your research on corporations or find an independent financial advisor who can guide you toward investments that do not directly or indirectly support the fossil fuel industry. For more information on ethical investing, check out Fossil Free Funds’ searchable investment database.


(cover photo: Antarctica. Chinstrap penguins. ©Carl Safina)