Highlight of the Week: Sportsmen and Veterans Air Global Warming Concerns
The threat of unchecked global warming has brought some nontraditional groups to the table to demand legislation that cuts carbon pollution and stimulates a clean energy economy. Among them: Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and devoted hunters and anglers.
Military veterans recently embarked on a 21-state biodiesel bus tour to talk to leaders and civilians about global warming and its effect on national security.
The event is sponsored by Operation Free, a partnership of veterans and national security groups working to raise awareness about the threats posed to national security by global warming and the need to reduce dependence on foreign oil by jump-starting an American clean energy economy.
"As the impact of irreversible climate change and the need for cheap energy increases, you'll see more resource conflicts, more epidemics, and more deaths," wrote Operation Free veteran Rafael Noboa Rivera in The Hill's Congress Blog. "We will [change course] if people like me are paid heed. We must change. Doing so will result in security and wealth for America. Our present course can only end in failure and ruin."
Sportsmen are also pushing for action, supporting bold leaders and going all-out to protect the natural habitats they know so well.
Among the recipients of their encouragement is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) recently outlined a bipartisan agreement on a Senate climate plan in a joint op-ed in the New York Times.
Sen. Graham was saluted in a teleconference hosted by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) last week. During the call, hunters and anglers reported the effects of global warming on their own chosen outdoor spots and the need for other lawmakers to follow Sen. Graham's example.
"I have observed things in my lifetime that suggest that significant impacts have already been felt here in our state," said Clinch Heyward, chairman, SCWF. "I was deer hunting last weekend and here it is October and it is 90 degrees."
"If you go out and hunt at the same time in the same season and the same place every year, then you understand the changes that are happening," added Jeremy Symons, senior vice president for conservation at the National Wildlife Federation.
Next in line: a national sportsmen tele-town hall discussion today featuring Ted Roosevelt IV, Former Sen. John Warner (R-VA), Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership President George Cooper, Captain Franklin Adams, and thousands of other concerned conservationists.
The voices of these and other groups make up a vital component of the public outreach efforts on the side of clean energy. Powerful coal and oil lobbies oppose them, but their unique messages are potent indicators of the broad and growing consensus that we must act soon to avert the worst effects of manmade climate change.