Two thousand twelve was the warmest year on record. Heat waves, wildfires, droughts, typhoons, storms, floods and hurricanes battered vulnerable countries across the globe. One-third of the world’s population lives in countries with moderate to high water stress; land degradation affects 1.5 billion people. Ice caps with unprecedented melting, thawing permafrost, rising sea levels — this is the new “normal.”
Hurricane Sandy rampaged the coast of New York and New Jersey, with billions of dollars in damage while a western water war is being fought over a river irrigating agriculture in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas; Lakes Michigan and Huron water levels are at the lowest ever recorded. Two-thirds of the U.S. is in drought condition, impacting food, health and wildlife. Climate change is here, with a vengeance, while Big Oil, coal and gas are demanding more water, for drilling, fracking and mining.
I am sickened by it all: the corporate bullying and lies, brazen fear tactics, and control of democracy through money, their toxic contamination and exploitation of our food, air, water, humanity and planet.
And if not now, when? If not us, who? What is the legacy we want to leave: a dying, toxic planet, filled with cancer, obesity, war and despair, owned and run by corrupt corporations? Or a thriving, healthy, green, sustainable planet?
We must act now and protect our endangered future, threatened by the greed-driven oil, gas, lumber and coal companies, who care nothing for our health, air, water, environment or future, only their short-sighted profits. If we do not make changes now, stop the XL pipeline, leave oil, gas and coal in the ground, there will be no recognizable future for our children, grandchildren and future generations.
Join us in the largest climate rally in U.S. history in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Feb. 17, noon to 4 p.m. Come by bus, train, or carpool, but come. Check out www.350.org for more information.
BETHANY BARRY MENKART
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