Sea Levels and Climate Change Awareness On the Rise?

June 6, 2017 by

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

“Climate change arguably represents the greatest threat of this generation. Fortunately, it also represents a tremendous opportunity.” commented L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT, in response to the US withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord.

Venice, Italy will be under water within a century if global warming continues to accelerate at current rate. Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

The Paris agreement declared that the threat of climate change is “urgent and potentially irreversible,” and requires “the widest possible cooperation by all countries” and “deep reductions in global emissions.” Might there be a silver lining to the US pulling out of the Paris agreement? Possibly if the global discussion leads more people to a clearer understanding of the dangerous threat of climate change.

Solar panels on roof of home at The Cannery, a planned community in Davis, California designed to promote nature, sustainability, community and healthy living for both humans and the environment. Photo: The Cannery.

It’s not a matter of what you or I believe, it’s a matter of science. Science is based on facts, not opinions. Icebergs are melting, seas are rising, those are facts, not points of view or opinions. Now, more than ever, it’s up to each and every one of us individually and collectively to take a part in and be responsible for creating a more sustainable planet.

New Orleans is still cleaning up from the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Many of the world’s largest businesses understand that clean energy is not only essential for the survival of the planet and it’s good business. That’s why companies like Google, Amazon, General Electric, and even Shell Oil were opposed to President Trump’s ill-conceived decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Accord.

Google invested $168 million in Ivanpah, the world’s largest operating solar farm. Located just outside of Las Vegas at the edge of San Bernardino County, California, the farm uses 347,000 mirrors (173,500 heliostats) and three 450-foot towers to harness energy from the sun to generate electricity. Photo: Reuters.

In 2016, employment in the solar industry grew by 25% and wind power jobs by 32%. Developing new clean energy technologies is not only an essential investment in our children’s future, it makes good economic sense. Seas are rising, and so are sales of American goods overseas. Many American companies draw large revenues from the sale of their products abroad where regulations and consumer demand require a commitment to sustainability. These businesses will continue to be on board as long as it benefits the brand and its bottom line.

Venetian boy drinks from public fountain. Globally, according to the World Health Organization, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

The rest of the world is committed to creating the most carbon-free future possible. If we deny ourselves these important opportunities for growth, others will pick up what was surrendered in the West Wing due to ignorance and denial.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

It’s now up to us as individuals, industries, academic institutions, states and cities to rise to the challenge and demonstrate the leadership that the rest of the world expects of us. Living selfishly by “putting America first” is really putting greed and power first and ignores the obligation we have to our fellow citizens of the world and to the future of this planet.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

To help compensate for what will be lost due to the American withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, billionaire Michael Bloomberg–who currently serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change–has pledged through his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, up to $15 million to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,

$15 million may be a small drop in the bucket as ultimately $2.5 trillion in global assets may be at risk, but nonetheless, it’s loud drop that will resonate around the world.

What can the rest of us do? Speak up.

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