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Home » Above the Waterline: It’s Time to Go Really Big on Climate Change

Above the Waterline: It’s Time to Go Really Big on Climate Change

Above the Waterline: It’s Time to Go Really Big on Climate Change

Will 2021 be remembered as the tipping point in the public’s consciousness regarding climate change? It certainly better be.

This past summer, the devastating results of a warming planet were revealed (yet again) in unprecedented events: extreme heat waves (a “worst-case scenario” in the Pacific Northwest); increasingly destructive wildfires; catastrophic flooding from intense storms in the South and Northeast; exceptional droughts depleting water supply reservoirs; and tens of thousands of deaths and injuries in this country alone. In 2020, nearly $100 billion in damages resulted from natural disasters in the U.S., thanks, at least in part, to climate change.

It’s been 150 years since a physicist named John Tyndall first discovered the molecular basis of the greenhouse effect—and more than fifty years since scientists warned a U.S. president (Lyndon Johnson) about the risks associated with carbon pollution. The growing sense of personal threat from climate change, especially among young adults, may finally help us reach the tipping point: a sense of urgency that significant actions must be taken now.

Many of us who want to do “something” to ensure a safer, healthier future for our children and grandchildren understandably feel hopeless and overwhelmed – uncertain if anything we do will make a difference. Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, who warned of the impacts of climate change more than thirty years ago, says: “There are no silver bullets, only silver buckshot.” Whether they’re called buckshot, or “stabilization wedges” as some prefer, the solutions are many and specific – from new and enhanced energy technologies and changes in government policies and funding to shifts in attitude and individual behavior.

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