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Wake up leaders who sleepwalk through climate change

By Devlin Buckley  Posted by Devlin Buckley (about the submitter)     Permalink
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For all those who shrug off global warming as a problem reserved for future generations, there is bad news: Passing on the burden is no longer an option.
The scientific evidence is now abundantly clear. The consequences of climate change are happening now, and happening quickly.
Rising global temperatures are fueling increasingly severe and frequent storms, droughts, forest fires, floods, forced migrations, and famines - not just in the Third World, but in our own backyards.
Either we act now or never.
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Leading climatologists, watching in horror as hundred-year projections unfold overnight, have repeatedly proclaimed the need for a revolutionary climate policy.

Sadly, our nation's leaders seem content sleepwalking toward the end of the world. Our democracy is failing just when we need it the most.
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The list of converging environmental catastrophes, blatantly ignored by our political representatives, grows almost daily. Consider just one example: the nation's deteriorating supply of fresh water.
Although the majority of Americans are completely oblivious to the impending crisis, within five years at least 36 states are expecting local, regional, or statewide water shortages.
Absent bold and immediate action, the entire country will soon be facing a major disaster. This is not an exaggeration.
The Southeast is experiencing its worst drought conditions in more than a century. Lakes, rivers and streams have reached record lows; emergencies have been declared; and regional disputes have erupted over remaining bodies of water.
Western states, dependent upon mountain-snow runoff for fresh water supplies, also are threatened by the shifting climate.
With higher elevations experiencing significantly shorter winters, the snow is often melting before it is needed or evaporating prior to arriving downstream. As a result, scientists say the delicately balanced ecosystem allowing life to survive in the arid West is beginning to break down.
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Even parts of the Northeast, usually considered immune from water shortages, have been caught off guard by dry weather and excessive demand - a situation that is only expected to worsen as time moves on.
As global warming takes its toll on the environment, managing water supplies and other natural resources will no doubt prove to be one of the most difficult tasks facing the country.
Planning for future shortages and establishing strategies for conservation, protection and sharing of resources should therefore be top priorities of federal, state and local leaders.
For the first time in a long time, our democracy is being put to a true test. Unfortunately, one must look no further than the presidential primaries to see just how dysfunctional our political system is.
Today's politicians are good for only about 30 seconds of eco-friendly rhetoric that will never be debated or held to any type of standard.
Even the most superficial of issues - Hillary Clinton's jewelry preferences or the cost of John Edwards' haircuts - have garnered more attention than any of the presidential candidates' positions on global warming.
We need leaders developing diverse and comprehensive climate policies for every region of the country. Instead, we have lame political ducks with minimal, shortsighted, counterproductive solutions.
As citizens, we must step up and play our part. If you require water for survival, this means you.
In addition to conserving as much as possible, write a letter or make a phone call. Ask your local, state and national representatives what they are doing to ensure water security in your community.
Contact your favorite presidential candidate and let him or her know you care more about having access to fresh water than you do about their physical appearance or their religious affiliation or their gender or their race or any of the other frivolous issues filling the newspapers and clogging the cable news networks.
Every single day, the United States uses more than 400 billion gallons of water. Just to put that into perspective, if the New York Giants' football field were converted into a massive 9-foot-deep swimming pool, it would hold less than a single second's worth of U.S. consumption.
Soon this abundant supply will no longer exist. Having a well-thought-out plan ready to go may make the difference between a manageable crisis and complete chaos.
One thing is for certain: when the nation is struggling with water shortages and other environmental catastrophes, today's trivial political races will be viewed in retrospect as an enormous waste of valuable time.
Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best: "When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water."

 

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