Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pope Francis inspires Local Citizens to Act on Climate

By David Kowalski

Last Thursday, Pope Francis spoke to Congress and reminded the members about his Encyclical on man-made climate change. "I call for a courageous and responsible effort to 'redirect our steps' and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity," Francis said.

It is the consensus of climate scientists that human activity is to blame. Primarily due to burning fossil fuels in industrialized countries, the atmosphere is rapidly accumulating levels of greenhouse gases far exceeding those observed over the past 800,000 years.

Consequently, the planet is experiencing a record-breaking warming trend, causing ice at the poles and glaciers to melt, sea-levels to rise and deadly heat waves. Severe droughts and uncontrollable wildfires are occurring in some locations, while unprecedented floods are happening in others.

On the same day that Francis spoke to Congress, citizens gathered at Niagara Square in Buffalo for a rally: Rise Up for Climate Justice! People from all walks of life participated: Faith leaders, community activists, students, teachers, indigenous people, environmentalists, performers, union leaders and local politicians.

The rally is the beginning of a citizen campaign leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference at the end of the year. Government leaders from around the world will meet and aim to arrive at a universal, legally-binding agreement to address the problems of global warming and climate change.

Paris will be the site of the 21st of such conferences. In the past, most governments, including our own, have failed to come to a binding agreement. Consequently, the problems have worsened and become more harmful to humans and more difficult and expensive to solve.

We can no longer delay. This is a crisis and governments must agree on global solutions now!

And so we rallied in Buffalo to call attention to the environmental pollution and the climate crisis impacting the lives and well-being of humans here and around the globe.

We rallied to call attention to the injustices of the crisis. Poor, undeveloped countries, least responsible for the pollution problem, remain susceptible to the impacts but lack the resources to adapt. Furthermore, our own children and future generations will inherit the consequences of the pollution problems that human activity is creating now.

We rallied for practical solutions to the crisis, including:
  1. Adopt energy efficiency measures to reduce both energy usage and global warming pollution
  2. End subsidies and investments for dirty fossil fuels
  3. Invest in clean, sustainable energy
And we rallied so that our elected leaders will hear our message and feel our frustration concerning government inaction.

We need strong leaders to rise up to the challenges of the crisis and to realize the benefits and opportunities that will result from solving the crisis.

We need to remind our elected officials that there is a climate crisis and that they need to recognize it and take action. Finally, we need to elect strong leaders who are not beholden to the polluting industries responsible for the crisis.

For more information and photos of the Rally for Climate Justice, click here

Current Climate Pledges are not enough to limit Global Warming to 2 deg. C (3.6 deg. F)!

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