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Reflections on Climate Change & Positive Ways Forward

April 28, 2017

 

With the March for Science behind us (last Saturday) and the People’s Climate March ahead of us (tomorrow), we’d like to take a brief moment to reflect on the state of climate science and climate action.

Photo by Sathish J, A Camera Story

 

It’s been a big year for the climate on all counts: 2016 was the hottest year on record, and 2017 is tracking to seize that unsavory title from 2016. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has punched through 400 parts per million and now hovers around 405 ppm.

And yet, for the first time, the nations of the world have committed to a common cause: to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its ever-evolving effects, and nation by nation to report regularly on greenhouse gas emissions and implementation efforts. Of the 197 countries, 144 and counting have ratified the Paris Agreement. Last week, at Navigating the American Carbon World Conference in San Francisco, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, reflected on this historic moment.  “We got a deal! For the first time ever, 197 countries came together and said climate change is real and we’re all going to take our own actions to tackle climate change.”

As with many environmental issues, it’s our charge to think global and act local. Here in the Bay Area, we can be proud of the pro-active climate science and climate action. Turning NIMBY on its head, we say instead to climate science and climate action, ‘Yes, in my backyard!’

Since Earth Day is in fact every day, may you find in each day before you the occasion to resist, persist, and celebrate in the proper proportions. Our open spaces are vital to our personal well-being, our public health, our ecosystem services, and to the larger biotic community that calls this special place home. May we all protect, plan, steward, and enjoy our open spaces in climate-smart ways from this day forth into the far-distant future.