John Kerry Earth Day Op-Ed ➠ Hey You Guys, Time Is Running Out To Act On Climate Change!
“People must once again stir up political will to protect our environment.”
Via USA Today (By John Kerry):
In the 1950s and 60s, America’s natural resources were in bad shape. Communities were so polluted that clouds of smog lingered over cities like Los Angeles. Rivers and lakes were filled with chemicals. In my hometown of Boston, the harbor was among the nation’s most polluted waterways.
We were on a dangerous path. But on April 22, 1970, after years of mounting concern and hard work, the first-ever Earth Day took place, and a new commitment to action took hold. Thanks in no small part to campaigns begun that day, our air, water and land are in far better shape now than 45 years ago — even as our population and economy have steadily grown.
There is a lesson in that experience, because America is once again on a dangerous path — along with the rest of the world. Climate change, if unchecked, is an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity and livelihoods across the globe.
The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It’s energy policy. If we pursue a global clean energy economy, we can cut dramatically the amount of carbon pollution we emit into the atmosphere and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
So we know how to address climate change. The question is whether national and local leaders will summon the political will to do it effectively and soon.
As we learned from the first Earth Day, the answer to that question may well depend on citizen action; when enough people make their voices heard, policymakers listen.
In 1970, as a 26 year-old, I joined in the effort in my home state of Massachusetts to organize for Earth Day. But what made the event so successful was that I was only one of about 20 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds who got involved. Congress even adjourned so that its members could attend rallies, “teach-ins” and marches in communities from coast to coast.
The result was a force that no American politician could ignore. Within months, President Nixon announced the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Congress followed quickly with landmark legislation to protect air quality and our threatened coasts.