Saturday, April 21, 2007

Editorial from a "Mother"

by: Lori Fickus Daily Newsminer 4/21/07

Earth Day is time to consider our future
On April 12 and 13, the legislatively appointed Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Hearings were held in Anchorage. I traveled south with a group of mothers -- Mothers for Alaska -- from around the state concerned about climate change to give testimony to the commission about the impacts we are experiencing.
Mothers can be a powerful collective force when advocating for their kids. Both of my children are born and raised in Alaska and are being directly affected by the adverse changes in climate. The last three summers I've had to take my kids out of state to escape the threatening air quality in Fairbanks, caused by wildfires decimating Interior forests.
We should not have to go to Seattle to hike and ride bikes. I'm sensing a threat to my children's future safety and quality of life. I am compelled to act.
Mothers for Alaska members are experiencing dramatic changes in our communities, such as forest fires, insects killing millions of acres of our trees, threatened animal populations, flooding, severe erosion, and loss of lifestyles.
These alterations to our ecosystem will have the most impact on our children and future generations. Like a mother polar bear, we moms have an inner mechanism to protect our young from harm. We sense a pending crisis that will negatively alter the quality of life for our children, and we cannot help but take action to defend them.
Mary Sage, a mother from Barrow, testified, "My husband hunts whales, seals and walrus to provide food for our family. How fast will the ice melt? What will we feed our families? Our concerns are real. Our cultural traditions, our livelihood, our way of life is at stake."
With Earth Day this Sunday, we need to pause and reflect on what is at risk. The planet will adapt, but it's the future generations we must consider.
Shelly Morgan of Anchorage told commission members, "Like a child who cares for an elder, we must care for our Mother Earth who is suffering the consequences of our actions. The ball has been set in motion and we cannot stop the chain of events that have already been set. It is up to us now to stop the ball from rolling any further, understand the current and predicted impacts and work to mitigate these damages and abate future impacts."
My hope is that the commission listened intently to what the Mothers for Alaska told them and then will report back to legislators the urgency of this crisis.
Alaska should not pose passively as the global warming poster child.
Instead, Alaska should move forward as an innovative leader on the issue. It should set an example of leadership for the nation, for the world, and protect this place with legislation, corporate and individual action, and utilize Alaska's vast resources of renewable energy opportunities. Our members of Congress must support bills that have the strongest emissions regulations and caps and continue to introduce renewable energy legislation like Sen. Lisa Murkowski's REFRESH Act of 2007.
Global warming is the result of an extreme excess of carbon emissions from human activities. We need to reduce these emissions to slow it down and reduce the harmful effects. Scientists tell us there is still time to act.
This Earth Day, start locally with your family. For you parents, here is a list of 10 things to do as a family to begin to save ourselves:
Drive less. Walk or bike with your kids to do your errands.
If you must drive, carpool.
Pack a waste-free lunch. Use reusable containers, utensils, cups and cloth napkins.
Buy fewer plastic toys.
Shop garage sales and thrift stores.
Make it a habit from an early age to turn off the lights and electronics when not in use.
Use the library, the ultimate in reuse.
Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs in bedrooms to save 150 pounds of CO2 emissions each year.
Support companies that are creating change and practicing carbon-reducing business methods.
Teach by example. Frequently write and call your government representatives, supporting climate change and renewable energy legislation.
Making changes to lessen your carbon emissions is not about losing your comfort level; it's about a smarter, healthier, and money-saving lifestyle. Start at home with your family, but it is urgent to also tell your community, state, and federal government to proceed promptly on this issue.
Take action.
Create solutions.
Generation to generation -- what will your legacy be?
Lori Fickus lives in Fairbanks.

1 comment:

Trailhead said...

Hi, Lori! I love this blog -- chock full of information. Being so much closer to one of the poles, it seems that Alaskans are feeling the effects of global climate change in their every day lives in a more immediate way than those of us in the Lower 48. Your words and stories are so important.