Climate Issues

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

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. 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. Urge your members of Congress to stop Trump and instead protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, by writing to them:

Contact information:

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

Dear Senator/Representative [name]:

I strongly urge you to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as a person who cares about wildlife and the places they live. I ask you to please oppose any effort to drill in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge and to stand behind legislation to permanently protect this region.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is 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.”

Attempts to open this fragile coastal plain 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 Refuge 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 Refuge by standing against drilling in the coastal plain and supporting legislation to designate it as Wilderness.


[your name]

Reduce your carbon footprint. 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