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Elder Climate LegacY

By Chuck Francis, Education and Environment Committee

This frightening headline in The Guardian recently should push climate concerns to the front burner for everyone. We spend our legislative time debating such seemingly worthy issues as limiting the filibuster, seeking funding for a non-needed canal to take water from Colorado, moving funds out of the Environmental Trust Fund, and questioning the need for a two-chamber legislature in Nebraska. Yet there is an ‘elephant in the room’ that should draw more attention. Specifically, the current trend in global warming will likely impact agriculture, human health, and ultimately the potential to produce enough food globally for our species to survive.

Evolution has prepared us to survive immediate threats such a scaring a bear away from the entrance to our cave dwelling, moving to higher ground to avoid flood waters, and migrating to better lands when our available soil is exhausted. But even with our ‘big brains’ we seem incapable of taking appropriate measures when nitrates gradually accumulate in groundwater, chemical residues from neuro-active substances such as ‘neonic’ insecticides and accumulation of glyphosate herbicides shown to cause cancer are found in many people’s blood, or air-borne particulates from forest fires invade human lungs and increase respiratory disease. Our pursuit of current short-term economic gains are realized by ignoring the long-term known impacts of these present technologies and threats to survival.

Miners used ‘canaries in the coal mines’ to detect growing concentrations of carbon monoxide that killed the smaller creatures before visibly affecting humans, and gave our species with larger bodies time to escape. To use this as a metaphor, today we are surrounded by ‘canaries’ that give indications of our own susceptibility to the impacts of inappropriate and unhealthy life styles that may provide comfort and profits in the short term, but will likely doom our species in the not-too-distant future.

Please read the article from Climate Action [Climate Change Facts to Scare You into Action] that will convince you that global warming is not a hoax, but actually an ‘inconvenient truth’ that everyone should take seriously. These issues stand out:

  • Climate change could be irreversible by 2030.

  • Greenhouse gas levels are at an all-time high.

  • More than 1 million species face extinction.

  • Climate change is creating a refugee crisis.

  • Our oceans are dying.

  • We use more of the earth's resources than it can renew.

These are facts that science has proven through observation, measurement, and modeling. They are not to be taken lightly, nor to be legislated against as is happening in too many states in the U.S. We should be able to use our ‘big brains’ in useful ways other than accumulating ‘more toys’ and unnecessary gadgets that make life comfortable in the short term.

We should think about what life will be like for our descendants over at least the next seven generations.


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