April 22nd is Earth Day. It is a time to celebrate the Earth and focus on our stewardship. The original Earth Day in 1970 was inspired by a Santa Barbara oil spill and spearheaded by both a Democrat and Republican. It led to the US Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Water Act.
Where are we on Earth Day 2014? It’s been known for decades that over-consumption of natural resources will harm us. Sixty-one years ago, Dr. Gilbert N. Plass of Johns Hopkins University, wrote: “Earth’s ground temperature is rising one and one-half degrees a century due to the burning of 2,000,000,000 tons of coal and oil yearly.” He said it worked the way glass heats a greenhouse. He predicted that “by 2080, the air’s carbon dioxide content will double, resulting in an average-temperature rise of at least four-percent.”(Popular Mechanics, pg 119, August 1953).
We’re getting closer to his prediction. And every president – Republican and Democrat – beginning with John F. Kennedy has warned us that the planet is warming due to our burning of fossil fuels, yet we continue to deny that global warming is occurring or that it is driving worldwide climate change. Besides, ExxonMobil touts the belief that energy exports strengthen our national security.
The Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its Assessment Report 5 - Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. The report concludes that “responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world.” It finds that the “risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm’s way) overlapping with hazards (triggering climate events or trends).”
We are witnesses to the increasing impact of climate change on our lives through heat waves, flooding, sea-level rise, drought, increasing severity of storms and rapidly increasing population. Furthermore, we are feeling its impact in the grocery stores as food prices escalate. Despite all of this, many of our elected officials in both Sacramento and Washington – predominately Republican – continue to deny that global warming and climate change are happening right before our eyes, and they are determined to block all efforts to reduce its effects or adapt. They have sold their souls and votes to the highest bidders in the fossil fuel industry, committing our grandchildren’s futures to starvation and disease.
Our Governor and legislature predominately support hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Sure, it’s a means to create jobs and reduce the state’s economic deficit, but what good is a job if you have inadequate food and water to live? And worse, what if there is NO water? Then it won’t only be starvation and disease, but war—not over oil or gas, but over water. (C.I.A. Global Trends – 2015).
Sierra Club and other environmental groups are supporting SB-1132 to place a moratorium on fracking. But what we need is a permanent ban. The gas and oil companies don’t care about our future, they only care about pumping the last drop of oil or liter of gas out of the ground and selling it to the highest bidders overseas. So much for the energy-independence they continue to promote in newspaper and television ads.
Tell your elected-representatives in Sacramento to support SB-1132, but consider this as well: we could spend Earth Day evaluating our stewardship of Earth by sending a message to Sacramento that we want a total ban. Celebrate Earth Day by petitioning your city council members to pass the resolution below. Let’s remember what Benjamin Franklin said in Poor Richard’s Almanac: "When the well's dry, we know the worth of water."
RESOLUTION TO BE INTRODUCED TO THE CITY COUNCIL
The people of (Name of City), California, have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. (Name of City)’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the City of (Name of City) conserves and maintains them for the benefit of all the people. Therefore, it is resolved that the technologies known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and acidizing, used to recover oil and gas from shale formations, including the use of injection wells for the storage of fracking waste water and fluids, are permanently banned within the city limits of (Name of City) and its adjacent ocean.