What’s with climate change, really? | TheUnion.com

What’s with climate change, really?

Other Voices
Troy Rampy

Most of us enjoy the fact that we are relatively self-reliant. As much as possible, we like being in control of our life.

We like knowing that, if we do the right things often enough, there is a greater likelihood that our life will be more enjoyable, more satisfying, more meaningful.

But there is one area where we are vulnerable, where what impacts our life is seemingly beyond our control and where others pull the levers in order to further their own interests.

I'm talking, of course, about the environment.

In the short- and long-term, our environment is what will determine the quality of life for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.

The environment — our air, water, soils, plant and animal life – comprises the key element that maintains our overall well-being and quality of life.

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How could it not? It's what surrounds and supports us. It's what ultimately nurtures us. We could do all the "right things" but, if our environment grows more toxic, those other things won't matter. We will suffer substantially.

And, taken to the full extent of its natural consequence, the human race could possibly perish as a result. Based on current scientific projections, the previous sentence is not an exaggeration.

The pretense regarding climate change is long over. There are few, if any, CEOs, credible politicians or scientists who still cling to the fairy tales that climate change is not happening and that much of it is not man-made.

Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the more than 70,000 people who died during the 2003 European heat wave, the irreversible loss of our polar ice caps, the estimated 150 to 200 species that go extinct every day — these things are not coincidences. They are showing us the pattern of what is to come.

This issue is way beyond everyday politics. It has nothing to do with being progressive or conservative. This is truly a bipartisan issue. If you are in the middle or upper-middle or even the upper socioeconomic class and think you are immune, think again. We are all in a sinking boat, together.

In truth, civilization never has seen anything like this before. Not on this global scale. Science, as well as our own common sense, tells us if we continue on our current trajectory, our weather patterns will just keep getting more erratic and intense.

Polar ice will keep melting. Sea levels will rise. Environmental catastrophes and both social and economic chaos will likely ensue.

You think this is science fiction? You think this is way off in the future somewhere? Guess again. It's already here. It's already happening.

Our current California drought and its effect on this recent rash of wildfires in Southern California? That's nothing compared to what could be coming. We have a long, hot, dry summer ahead. And that's just California.

There's a whole list of climate change-related issues in process, right now, in almost every part of the world.

Some individuals say it's already too late to reverse the damage we've done via excessive carbon dioxide emissions released into our atmosphere.

That there was a window of time when we could have reversed this entire juggernaut, but we missed it. Others say perhaps not, maybe we still have a shot at this.

One thing is certain: if we do nothing, or too little, too late, we will all pay an incredibly high price. Way too high.

What can we do, now? There's actually a lot each of us can do like recycling, replacing energy-wasting light bulbs, appliances and cars, eating locally raised produce, etc.

We can go online or read Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth," for more ideas.

But that's not enough.

On a larger scale, we absolutely need to invest our time and money in supporting local, state, federal and global environmental policies as well as organizations that are truly making a difference like Fossil Free and Our Children's Trust.

There are several other organizations including journalist and presenter Bill Moyers' recommended list of five (see http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/07/five-groups-leading-the-charge-to-halt-climate-change/).

We especially need to hold our politicians accountable for stopping the madness and enacting laws that gets big money out of politics and puts our environment first.

In the short- and long-term, our environment is what will determine the quality of life for ourselves, our children and our children's children. A healthier environment is the most important legacy we can leave.

Please don't sit back on this one. Do something today.

Troy Rampy lives in Grass Valley.

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