Thursday, December 8 , 2016, 10:12 pm | Overcast 58º


Katie Davis, Sierra Club Use ‘Climate Reality’ to Show Scope of Environmental Issue

The Sierra Club sponsored a “Climate Reality” presentation at the Faulkner Gallery on Feb. 28.

Presenter Katie Davis grew up in Summerland, born in 1970, the year of the first Earth Day. Earth Day started because of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

She has known about climate change since the late 1980s. She watched An Inconvenient Truth with a German family. The young people always wondered why the older Germans didn’t stop the Nazis. Now they wondered if climate change was the equivalent issue for them to stop.

Davis’ presentation was taken from a massive training session with former Vice President Al Gore, but very much personalized for our local and current issues.

Somewhere there may be an Earth that is not getting hotter.

Where rainstorms are not getting bigger.

Where droughts are not getting bigger.

Where fires are not spreading.

Where the winds and storms are not getting more destructive.

Each line in the presentation is paired with a powerful image that shows these very real impacts.

Somewhere there may be another Earth without those events. But we live on this Earth where these events are reality. We must face this Climate Reality.

Every National Academy of Science in every major country affirms the reality of climate change. The number that disagree? None.

Davis went through some of the myths used to hide the reality. For example, that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans. Actually, it is not even close. 35 gigatons for humans and just 0.15 for volcanoes.

Sunspots? Actually, the correlation is the opposite. We have been lucky.

We know from internal memos that the fossil-fuel industry is conducting a disinformation campaign, specifically to create the false impression that climate change is “just a theory.”

We also know that increased CO2 from burning fossil fuel is not just raising air temperature., it is also acidifying the ocean, destroying coral reefs and the rest of the foundation for life in the ocean.

We must make individual choices to reduce our impact on carbon emissions. But we also must recognize that “changing laws is more important than changing light bulbs.”

The group Citizens Climate Lobby was also represented at this event. Their goal is to enact a carbon tax. Such a tax will hold free-market capitalists to their claims that the market can solve problems. It will put an end to using our common air and water as a free dumping ground for the fossil-fuel industry.

And it just might save the only Earth we know.

Robert Bernstein is a local photographer and frequent Noozhawk contributor.

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