Because There is No Planet B

IMG_1051Because There is No Planet B

By Siegrid Raible

This September 21st, will be the first anniversary of The People’s Climate March when 300,000 to 400,000 climate change activists and ordinary citizens gathered in New York City to express their deep concern for our planet’s health.  Of the many banners at the march, the one that caught my eye read “There is no Planet B” (see the photo accompanying this essay).  September 21st also happens to be International Peace Day.

We are living at a momentous time; a time when scientists, religious leaders, and politicians are simultaneously pressing world leaders to address the issue of climate change and its impact on our planet and its inhabitants.

Scientists agree that the earth and the seas are warming.  In an article which appeared in the July 17th edition of the New York Times, Steven Lee Myers reports that according to records kept by NOAA and the American Meteorological Society “temperatures on the ocean surface reached the highest levels in 135 years of record keeping.”  Most scientists agree that global warming is the result of human activity and the burning of fossil fuels.

We are and will be for some time heavily reliant on fossil fuels to fill our ever-growing appetite for the electricity needed to power our twenty-first century lifestyles.  And, although scientists have for years called upon our leaders to address climate change and its adverse impact on the planet, it was Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, who in an Encyclical delivered in June, addressed the adverse impact climate change and global warming is having on the poorest members of the human family.  He wrote “climate change is a global problem with grave implication” requiring swift and unified global action.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a champion for the middle class, would like to be the 2016 Democratic Party’s nominee for president of the United States.  He states in his campaign literature that “if we do not act boldly on climate change, the planet we leave to our grandchildren may be uninhabitable.”  And, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is also vying to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidency, recently unveiled an ambitious clean energy initiative which would be funded over the next ten years by ending tax breaks for oil and gas producers.  In addition, on August 3rd President Obama unveiled a Clean Power Plan which would cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.  This new plan shows the world that the U.S. is serious about addressing the issue of climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Even Michael Bloomberg, a leading capitalist and former Mayor of the City of New York, has endorsed the president’s plan.

In December 2015 the United Nations will host a climate conference in Paris where the nations will cobble together a new international agreement which will address the need to reduce carbon emissions.  Let each of us contact our local, state and federal representatives to let them know that the time to act is now.

On September 21st let us celebrate International Peace Day by calling on the world’s leaders to address the issue of climate change.  We must reduce carbon emissions and implement those policies which will enhance clean sustainable energy sources because there really is no Planet B.  (For a thought-provoking article on alternate sources of green energy production see Bill McKibben’s article “Power to the People” in the June 29th issue of The New Yorker Magazine at

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