What are you doing to lessen the effects of climate change?
BY PAUL SEVERANCE
Elders Climate Action was formed a year and a half ago to bring the voices of elders to bear on what scientists agree is the greatest threat to life on Earth in human history: climate change. We came together sharing two convictions:
- A conviction that elders have the perspective and wisdom to see that the political gridlock over climate change is absurd – and fueled by the money and influence of the fossil fuel industry. The science is clear: The well-being of the generations of our grandchildren and beyond is deeply threatened by our spewing greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere and warming the planet as a result.
- A conviction that elders could be a powerful force in breaking that political gridlock. When we unite around our concern for future generations, we can have immense clout: Our numbers are growing and growing. We vote in higher percentages than other age groups. We are deeply concerned about our legacy; we have the long-term perspective to make future generations a top priority; and we know that we have a responsibility to speak out on their behalf!
We held Grandparents Climate Action Day in Washington, DC this past September, during which 145 Elders Climate Action members from across the country held meetings in the offices of 114 Members of Congress to talk about our moral responsibility to act on climate change now – while there is still time.
Currently, we have teams of Elders Climate Action members asking candidates for Congress to respond to a survey about their positions on climate change, which we will publish on our website, eldersclimateaction.org.
And in this issue of GRAND, we are announcing a new campaign: ELDER CLIMATE VOTERS, in which elders are pledging to vote in every election, and to consider candidates’ positions on climate solutions when casting their ballots.
We invite you to join us: Become an Elder Climate Voter at www.eldersclimateaction/voter, and join Elders Climate Action. All of our grandchildren are counting on us!
How much do you know about climate change?
Environmental effects of climate change include an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, heavy rain, and floods, melting ice caps and rising sea levels. All of these changes affect major social and environmental determinants of health, such as availability and quality of drinking water, ecosystems, agriculture and food production, economic development and migration. Here are just a few problems that climate change will accelerate:
- Decreased food productivity.
- Worsening air and water pollution and extended pollen seasons.
- Increase in some vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, Zika virus, and West Nile virus
Here’s what you can do at home:
- Replace incandescent light bulb with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Lower your thermostat down 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer.
- Clean and replace furnace and air conditioner filters.
- Use less electricity overall.
- Drive less, buy a car that gets higher gas mileage, keep your car tuned up, maintain peak tire pressure and/or carpool to work.
- Invest in alternative energy power sources (solar, wind, geothermal) to power your home.
- Here’s a list of selected issues that Wired compiled:
- Here’s a summary of the causes of climate changes compiled by The Environmental Protection Agency:
Paul Severance is Co-Chair of Elders Climate Action.