Wednesday, June 17, 2020

World Wisdom: Has battling the effects of climate change become a lost cause? Or do we keep teaching and encouraging our kids about conservation?

by Leslie I. Landis


If you are reading this article it is because you believe in climate change and you want to help prevent its future unpleasant and disastrous consequences. Is it already too late? I don’t think so. The result of many people staying at home to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus has shown us what a difference less people driving, shopping and generally overusing the earth’s resources can make. The skies are clearer. The air is cleaner. Animals are exploring areas previously taken from them. There has been a 6% drop in carbon emissions.


The question is what can we do to maintain this progress as the shelter-in-place requirement disappears. Of course, there are the obvious suggestions that we can do ourselves and discuss and implement with our kids: Drive less or drive electric. Buy less. Recycle more. Use less plastic. Use less of the earth’s resources, especially those that are non-renewable. Work with or donate to organizations that are working to save the natural world and fight against climate change.


But it is my opinion that the single most important thing you can do is vote for representatives and a government that cares about our environment, that places climate change prevention before the selfish interests of making themselves or their donors richer. And include your kids and teens on the research and conversation, for they too will eventually be voters and contributors to our planet and society.


A recent New York Times article compiled an appalling list, titled, “The Trump Administration Is Reversing 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.”


Just a few examples of weakened or reversed limits included in the list:


1. Fuel economy and gas standards for cars and light trucks have been reduced.

2. Coal power plants can increase mercury emissions.

3. Oil and gas companies no longer have to report methane emissions.

4. Rules meant to reduce air pollution in national parks and limit methane emission on public lands have been weakened.

5. Rules that monitor how refineries pollute neighboring areas, as well as pollution increases from new power plants have been diluted.

6. Rules to reduce leaking of hydrofluorocarbons – greenhouse gases – from refrigeration and air conditioning systems have been repealed.

7. A rule to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters has been reduced.

8. The ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was revoked.

9. Water pollution rules for fracking on Indian and federal lands have been repealed.

10. Rules that required mines to have the ability to pay for pollution cleanup and Gulf oil rig owners to have the capability to remove non-producing rigs were cancelled.


To combat this, we need to take action and here are 5 things to do that include our kids:

  1. Be an example of: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost! It never gets old!
  2. Explain to your kids that paper comes from trees and the more paper we consume, the more it hurts the trees, and therefore hurting the animals and insects that use the trees for homes and food. Then go to your local nursery and pick out a new tree to plant.
  3. Consider taking a trip to the local utility. Many utility companies offer tours and demonstrations. They’re often geared toward a young audience and aim to help kids understand the importance of their conservation actions. 
  4. Research which companies support conservation, and which ones don’t. Support and do business with those who are leaders in sustainability and who support like-minded political candidates. Check out this list of companies who help the environment.
  5. Watch/Attend town halls (with your kids) to see which local and national candidates have climate change and environmental issues as priorities. Vote for them and tell your kids why.


Remember, the NYT list above is only a sampling of the damage that has been done over the past four years, and the second list includes just a few ways we and our kids can make a difference, but there is room for so much more - they key is to engage your kids/teens so they will engage on their own as adults. 


The current administration is clearly conducting a war on our environment, our health and our climate - and it affects our kids in a real big way. It has weakened or reversed limits on carbon dioxide emissions, which cause global warming. Do you like clean air, clean water, our natural world, and a degree of safety from extreme weather catastrophes? The May/June 2020 Sierra  magazine cover says, “Vote Like the Planet Depends On It Because It Does.” If you don’t vote, then climate change will be a lost cause.


Leslie Landis lives in Los Angeles and is the author of the new YA eco-fantasy series CHENDELL: A Natural Warrior, which presents a message of love, hope, and commitment to fighting the real world evil forces destroying our planet. The audiobook, narrated by Alicia Silverstone and Adrian Grenier, was released on Earth Day 2020.

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