We are with the program
By PAT CARULLO
You can count on us. Well cause no waves. We are team players. Well stay the course. Well be totally non-divisive. Well be patriotic to the end. We are with the program.
Theres no environmental destruction. Theres no conflict of interest in government. Theres no massive debt. Theres no evolution. Theres no corporate control of democracy. Theres no encroachment on our personal liberty. Theres no global warming.
But here are some facts: Based on input from 72,000 weather stations around the world, NASAs Goddard Institute climatologists determined that 2005 was the hottest year since modern record-keeping began. Of the 10 hottest years on record, eight have occurred since 1996.
Last years hurricane season was the most devastating ever. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded seven major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher. NOAA administrator Conrad Lautenbacher called it the most devastating hurricane season the country has experienced in modern times, and the National Weather Service, for the first time in its history, ran out of hurricane names and had to use the Greek alphabet to name the last storm. This storm formed later than any other hurricane, in December.
Abnormally warm waters in the tropical Atlantic Ocean that spawned Hurricane Katrina also brought a drought to Brazil where rivers and streams dried up. Incidents of forest fires have increased, and with the melting permafrost in Alaska, homes there are sinking.
But the impact of climate change is felt not only in far away places.
A recent article in a local newspaper reported that warm winter weather this year in the river valley affected activities like ice fishing and skiing. Certainly, a warm winter has repercussions for tourism in a place where people rely on winter visitors to maintain economic viability. But the problem goes beyond people not being able to enjoy fishing. This is a defining moment not only for the river valley, but for the entire country.
Internationally, people are alarmed by global warming and by the refusal of the current United States administration to recognize the problem. America produces much of the worlds pollution but we are the only developed country that has not signed the Kyoto agreement.
The Delaware River defines our region. We have already seen the impact of global warming in 2004 with Hurricane Ivan, and only a few months later with the April 2005 flood, both of which had devastating economic impacts. In 2002, Eileen Claussen, of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, stated: We face both increased flooding and increased drought. Extended heat waves, more powerful storms, and other extreme weather events will become more common. Rising sea level will inundate portions of Florida and Louisiana, while increased storm surges will threaten communities all along our nations coastline. New York City could face critical water shortages as rising sea level raises the salinity of upstate aquifers and reservoirs.
One things for sureif we do nothing for the planetit will blow us off like we never existed. What we are doing is destroying the environment for our children and their children. Unless we act now, our generation will be forever held responsible.
We are stardust, the universe come to know itself. So lets get busy, folks. For the children, please!
(Pat Carullo is a member of the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition, a grassroots environmental non-profit dedicated to preserving the natural resources of the Upper Delaware, which maintains a website at UDPC.net. )