The time to act is now ... Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Margaret Suozzo, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 9:51 am
On Saturday, April 14th, an estimated 250 people from the Palo Alto area took part in the largest day of citizen action on climate change in our country's history.
In the rain!
The event, Step It Up Silicon Valley, held in Mitchell Park, was sponsored by Acterra, the City of Palo Alto, Roche Palo Alto, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group -- all leaders in addressing climate change. We were joined by 1,400 other events throughout the country on Saturday, each calling on Congress to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.
Why? To combat global warming.
Already, we are seeing the impacts of human contributions of carbon dioxide to the earth's atmosphere. Current CO2 concentrations are higher than any seen in almost a million years Eleven of the last twelve years rank among the warmest years on record. And the rate of global climate change that we are currently experiencing is greater than that during any time since the end of the last ice age!
Since the late 1800s, sea level has been rising by over half a foot per century and is accelerating. This temperature increase has brought with it melting polar ice caps, melting tundra, snow cap loss, rising sea levels, more extreme weather conditions, and changes in species habitation and migration patterns.
Here in California, we're losing the Sierra snowcap, which accounts for much of our water supply. Projections for resulting water loss range from 20-80 percent in the coming decades depending on how much and how quickly we act. Further, observed sea levels off the coast of California have been rising at the rate of about half a foot per century.
If we don't act now to slow the pace of climate change, we are in for more of the same and worse. So what can we do about it?
1. Join the call to Congress to "Step It Up: Cut Carbon Emissions 80% by 2050." Write your Senators and Representatives telling them that you support the goals of Step It Up 2007.
2. Take action in our communities:
• take the lessons learned from leading communities, such as Palo Alto, back to your community.
• connect with others in your neighborhood or city, through neighborhood groups, and organizations such as Acterra, and Sierra Club.
• encourage your community to join Sierra Club's Cool Cities in signing the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement.
• strengthen the teams addressing this issue in your community by actively participating in your community’s efforts.
3. Take action in our workplaces:
• challenge your place of business to commit to a carbon-reduction target with Sustainable Silicon Valley.
• if your business is located in Palo Alto, challenge it to become a green business, through the Chamber of Commerce's Palo Alto Business Goes Green initiative.
4. Take action at home:
• evaluate your own ecological impact and carbon footprint.
• sign up for Acterra's Green@Home program (if you're in the two pilot neighborhoods, Midtown and Barron Park in Palo Alto) and receive a "house call" in which volunteers will install simple energy-saving devices and help you create an energy savings plan.
• encourage your community to ask Acterra to build on its pilot efforts and operate Green@Home in your community.
Take advantage of the momentum started by Bill McKibbon through Step It Up 2007. Let's begin Earth Week 2007 with a commitment to living more sustainably and taking action to help reduce the threat of rapid climate change.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 17, 2007 at 12:38 pm
Highly recommend reading the book
"Unstoppable Global Warming" by Singer
Factual, no hyperbole, real science and some political background to all the furor over anthropogenic global warming.
Bottom line...we have multiple cycles of warming documented, and we are nearing the peak of one of them. Every 1,500 years, with cycles w/in that one also. And they are correlated with a warming sun. Which is happening now. Anybody notice the big news a few weeks ago that the ice on Mars is melting? Is that our fault, too? No, the sun is in a warm cycle.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 4:29 pm
Even the Bush Regime has reluctantly accepted the fact that global warming is happening due to the burning of fossil fuels and other man made creations, like coal burnig plants. Sure, global warming has occurred before, the last time being during the cromagnon period. This was no problem back then because the vast majority of people did not live near the oceans, like the majority of humans today. Scientists on top of Monau Kea in Hawaii over the years have noticed a dramatic increase in ozone layer, greenhouse gas buildup, and so on. Amphibians, like frogs and salamanders, an indicator species, are rapidly nearing extinction, along with many other creatures, like the polar bear, who is not expected to be found anyplace but in a zoo in aprox. 50 years or less. Mankind has a greater ability to survive the warming, which is expected to increase by roughly three degrees over the next century at the rate things are going, but the animals are less adaptable to these changes, and many species are predicted to become extinct over the next fifty years as well. This has been all over the news. Things can be done to make alter the process, but to deny this is simply misguided at this point. To perpetuate the misinformation is not helping this dramatic problem. The VAST MAJORITY OF SCIENTISTS THAT STUDY THESE ISSUES ARE IN AGREEMENT THAT THE EARTH IS GOING THROUGH ITS SIXTH MAJOR EXTINCTION PROCESS, AND THAT WE ARE HELPING THE PROCESS ALONG. Top Generals in our own military have recently suggested to the president that something needs to be done. Where shall we draw the line in regards to the planet? Believe what you will, but please don't bury your head in the sand, or underground will be where were living in the future.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 5:16 pm
refer to the following webstite for an article by Kurt M. Cuffey, Professor from UC Berkeley, who is speaking at Stanford as I write this post. I apologize for my lack of computer knowledge, and must leave you with this long winded entry. Perhaps one of you could make is more accessible. That would be great. I think you wil find the article very useful.
Posted by Joanna, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 8:47 am
Margaret, thanks for an excellent post. To others, please consider that whether or not you accept the well-documented reality of global warming caused by human factors, there is a vast multitude of other good reasons to adopt the practices that can offset global warming. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, creating less waste, curbing pollution, working to foster biodiversity (and combat species' extinction rates) are all things we need to be doing *regardless*, for our personal health, and that of our environment.
Posted by Margaret, a resident of another community, on Apr 18, 2007 at 10:20 am
Draw the Line suggests that current warming is due to a warming sun. If the warming we are observing were primarily due to changes in energy output from the sun, however, the whole atmosphere would warm. This is not happening. The observed pattern -- warming in the lower atmosphere, cooling higher up -- is a “fingerprint” that emissions are trapping heat at lower levels, and is one of a half dozen such fingerprints that support human emissions as a main factor in recent climate trends.
I repeat, we can and do have an impact. The time to act is now.
Or, just read the book, Unstoppable Global Warming.
There was also a Channel 4 ( Britain) documentary that was not badly done if you prefer to watch your info instead of read it. It was on youtube also. Can't find it now..anybody know what the name of it was?
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 18, 2007 at 4:42 pm
May I add that clarifying how small the impact of humanity is on the warming of our planet does not lessen the inherent "goodness" of being smart about conservation, recycling, etc. Being as clean as we can voluntarily be is one thing..forcing changes on nations through governmental regulation which will have no demonstrable effect on the warming, and which would cost trillions of dollars that would be better spent in simply vaccinating everyone, planting food, building irrigation, eradicating malaria spreading mosquitos, all of which would have proven and demonstrable effect on the lives of humans..it makes no sense.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 28, 2007 at 1:56 pm
Ok, finally watched the ConvenientFiction link you gave, Dick.
At last, a coherent, reasonable, undramatic, ( read dry, but factual) presentation that acknowledges that there is some truth in Gore's movie, but does an excellent job of explaining how it isn't the WHOLE truth.