It was 94 degrees in Washington, D.C., the hottest April 29 in 43 years — fitting for a Climate March. At least six of us from Morganton, equipped with sunscreen, signs and water bottles joined a crowd of about 200,000 to walk from the Capitol to the White House. Another 100,000 people participated in sister marches across the United States and around the world.
Why were we there? Because over 95 percent of the world's climate scientists agree that the earth is indeed warming. The 10 warmest years ever recorded — with the exception of 1998 — have occurred since 2000, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.
There are now longer and hotter heat waves (NC just had the warmest April on record — and the wettest), fiercer storms (consider Hurricane Matthew) deeper droughts, and more wildfires (think California and our own western NC.). The growing season is shifting, impacting our farms and food supply. Warmer temperatures and melting icebergs are causing coastal flooding. It will only get worse, much worse if we do not act.
Unfortunately President Trump and his EPA director deny the overwhelming scientific evidence. They have reversed many important climate actions and are threatening to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. The EPA has even taken down the critical documents on its website that described what is happening and how we can respond.
So in many ways it is up to us. What can we do besides march? Here is what I am going to try to do:
1. Continue to lighten my own carbon footprint: buy local, eat less meat, share car rides or walk, use LED lights, switch off and unplug, reduce and reuse before recycling, reduce water waste, consider solar or wind energy.
2. Support businesses and industries that work to reduce their carbon footprints.
3. And keep writing, calling and emailing national and state legislators about climate change in general and about specific issues as they arise.
I believe it is God's creation, not ours. We should not, in our arrogance and selfishness, destroy this wondrous gift. Our children and grandchildren need us to act now!