It’s time to act to save the planet

We need to fol­low doc­tor’s or­ders on cli­mate change

Albuquerque Journal - - OP-ED - BY CAMILLA FEIBELMAN DI­REC­TOR, SIERRA CLUB RIO GRANDE CHAP­TER

I am a first-time mom. The baby at al­most 14 months is a joy. He bab­bles, tod­dles, gob­bles and gig­gles. He is cu­ri­ous about ev­ery­thing, es­pe­cially about things that fit in his mouth.

Ev­ery now and again, he gets sick. When his symp­toms are bad and the fever is high, it’s time to fol­low the doc­tor’s or­ders and get treat­ment.

I cer­tainly don’t think, “You can’t be sure of the ther­mome­ter,” “the doc­tors are just try­ing to make money,” or “this might get ex­pen­sive to treat.”

My baby could suf­fer brain dam­age if I don’t do what the sci­ence rec­om­mends.

So, when I think about our del­i­cate planet, as a new mother, feel­ing ten­der prob­a­bly to a fault, I can’t un­der­stand why we wouldn’t take the same ba­sic pre­cau­tions that we do when our kids are sick. We hold their hands when they cross the street. We cut their grapes into eighths. We kiss their skinned knees. We cud­dle them when they bonk their heads.

But some­how, when the cli­mate comes crash­ing down on us, flood­ing our cities, strand­ing our cat­tle, ter­ri­fy­ing our pets, wip­ing out Caribbean islands, killing hun­dreds in In­dia, send­ing Florid­i­ans flee­ing and Hous­to­ni­ans float­ing — some ba­bies in plas­tic boxes, set­ting our forests aflame, con­demn­ing us to drought more years than not, our govern­ment fails to act on the un­der­ly­ing is­sue.

EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt even claims with a straight face that it’s in­sen­si­tive to talk about cli­mate change dur­ing a hur­ri­cane. The idea that I’ll res­cue you from your flooded home, but I will not make ba­sic changes that will let the oceans cool so this won’t hap­pen to you again with in­creas­ing fe­roc­ity in the fu­ture, is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble.

I won­der about the day when I’m not here to pro­tect my child and his. They’ll ask “why didn’t you take the ba­sic pre­ven­ta­tive ac­tion to make sure, at least, that we’d have enough re­sources to live com­fort­ably?”

The large ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans, even when they aren’t sure of the sci­ence, agree we must do some­thing about cli­mate change. This ten­dency to­ward pre­cau­tion re­veals a ba­sic hu­man de­cency.

This is our time to in­no­vate, cre­ate, change and flour­ish so that our kids can be as­sured of a safe, boun­ti­ful fu­ture. It’s time to pro­tect our fam­i­lies and gen­er­a­tions to come by re­join­ing the Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment, im­ple­ment­ing the oil and gas meth­ane waste and pol­lu­tion rules, train­ing enough elec­tri­cians lo­cally to sup­ply the Face­book so­lar project, reopening the Re­new­able En­ergy Pro­gram at San Juan Col­lege, re­train­ing our work­ers to do home ef­fi­ciency pro­grams and in­stall so­lar pan­els, man­u­fac­tur­ing wind tur­bines, in­creas­ing the amount of re­new­ables PNM uses to power our homes, and ed­u­cat­ing the stu­dent who will even­tu­ally bring us the most highly ef­fi­cient bat­tery.

In­stead, Gov. Su­sana Martinez’s Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment is propos­ing the re­moval of ref­er­ences to cli­mate change and evo­lu­tion from its sci­ence guide­lines. Pub­lic hear­ings on this are at 9 a.m. Oct. 16 at the Jerry Apo­daca Ed­u­ca­tion Build­ing, 300 Don Gas­par Ave. in Santa Fe. The state seeks to con­demn our kids to ig­no­rance while, for ex­am­ple, Pope Fran­cis writes in his en­cycli­cal on cli­mate change, “A very solid sci­en­tific con­sen­sus in­di­cates that we are presently wit­ness­ing a dis­turb­ing warm­ing of the cli­matic sys­tem” but “… all is not lost. Hu­man be­ings, while ca­pa­ble of the worst, are also ca­pa­ble of ris­ing above them­selves, choos­ing again what is good, and mak­ing a new start.”

Will New Mex­ico be like Tesla, which in­no­vates elec­tric cars that go from 0 to 60 in 3 sec­onds? Or will we be like Ko­dak, which didn’t be­lieve in dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy and is now wiped from the econ­omy?

Will we fol­low the doc­tor’s or­ders — and the pope’s?

Our planet has a fever. It’s time to act. Our kids are count­ing on us.

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