We Can Do This

NWF   |   April 16, 2007

This morning, several of the world’s leading scientists went to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.to share more detailed information about how global warming will affect North America (www.nwf.org/wildlifeandglobalwarming/IPCC.cfm). The potential harm to local wildlife is one of the report’s central findings, and one of the most alarming to me and to NWF. Temperature increases of just a few degrees may propel up to 40 percent of all species globally toward extinction. It’s unmistakable. This is not just global warming, it’s local warming. It’s happening where we live.

But what keeps me hopeful that we can still prevent the worst impacts of global warming is the overwhelming demand for action coming from folks all around the country. This past Saturday, more than 1,400 global warming demonstrations happened in all 50 states involving thousands of people from all walks of life. The day of action, called Step It Up 2007 (www.stepitup2007.org), turned out to be the largest global warming demonstration ever. It included everything from hiking up a threatened glacier in Wyoming, to diving to a threatened reef off the Florida Keys, to marching on state capitols. Maybe you participated. If you did, you’re part of the solution. NWF was involved in some of the events, but more encouraging was the fact that hundreds of events were organized by people with no tie to conservation or environmental groups. They are just mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, kids – all coming together to tell Congress to Step It Up and pass laws that reduce our global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050.

We can do this. If we start today and consistently reduce global warming pollution by 2 percent each year, we can get control of global warming.  The scientists have set the goal, and we can set the pace to get there. We can all reduce our global warming pollution by 2 percent a year – and it adds up. If individuals, cities, major corporations – everyone – sets our minds to it, we can get to 80 percent by 2050. If we don’t, we’re saddling our kids with a huge problem, and they will have to make serious and costly sacrifices.

We’re at a crossroads: America must choose between a fundamentally different planet or a fundamentally different energy future that breaks our oil addiction and aggressively opens the path to clean, safe alternative and renewable sources of fuel. Which path do you want to take?

Published: April 16, 2007