More green gestures than green pastures in America

Not sure if an editor at The Washington Post screwed this up, or if it was the web team–I’m thinking web, because I just checked and there’s no mistake in the print version–anyhow, this guy from Lancaster saw the pull quote and spoke up:

Lancaster Co., Pa.: I object to the statement, ‘Green pastures we have in abundance in America.’ I write for a farm newspaper. We don’t have green pastures in abundance. That’s nuts. We lose 2 acres of farm land EVERY MINUTE in the U.S. according to the American Farmland Trust. In six years, we lost an amount of farm land the size of Maryland. If that doesn’t freak you out, consider that only 12 percent of the world’s surface is farmable. We need all the farm land we can get.

So yes, environmental activism, of course. But I would not frame the debate that you should call your Congress person instead of buying “green” because every thing is fine with our land and pastures.

Mike Tidwell: Sorry. Did I write “pastures”? I meant green “gestures” are what we have in abundance in America. Instead we need green “statutes.”

Anyway, I agree. There are very few green pastures left in America, unfortunately.

The day after this Outlook column came out, I had to write a letter to my senators and congressman urging them to take action with regards to Copenhagen. I am registered to vote in Florida, so I wrote to Rep. Vern Buchanan, and Senators Bill Nelson and George Lemieux. As you may have heard, Florida is in the greatest danger with regards to rising sea levels, probably more than any other state. I had never written a letter to Congress or a senator, so at first I was like, “Huh? I don’t know how to do that.” So, I lucked out when I stumbled on Mike Tidwell’s column in the Sunday Post.

I came up with this letter, I’d encourage you to steal it in full (if you are from Florida) or in parts, and replace the names with your senator or representative. Send it in, give them a call, have a voice.

Dear _____,

Tomorrow, President Obama will take a trip to Copenhagen for what will hopefully prove to be a monumental summit on climate change. It is my hope that he will take a strong stance on the issue. But, Americans and citizens of the world need our Senate and Congress to step forward and back up his promises to enact policies that will cut our greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is my question, _____: what are you doing to support changes that will prevent Florida from being engulfed by the ocean?

If sea levels rise just one meter, the entire coast of Florida, from Jacksonville to Horseshoe Beach, will be covered in water. This includes nearly every major city in Florida from Tampa to Miami. Millions of people will be displaced from their homes. Once great cities will literally become cities for the ocean’s creatures. And of course, this effect would not be limited to Florida. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would engulf Boston, San Francisco, New York, and hundreds of other cities. And that is just here in the United States.

The good news is of course that we can stop this from happening. If we can stabilize the atmosphere at 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide, we can prevent the glacial melting that would inevitably bring about the end of life as we know it. How do we do this? We use the power of the government, which must take a strong, unwavering, and permanent stance on ending the burning of fossil fuels. Whatever it is that President Obama does or says at Copenhagen, none of it will matter if the Senate/House does not support a carbon-cap bill that mandates a limit of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Pockets of individuals scattered across the country can do their part to use energy-saving light bulbs or put solar panels on their roof—but no significant change is going to come out of this green movement unless the government is supporting the changes: offering rebates to those that use energy-efficient products like hybrid vehicles, enacting more strict carbon-cap legislation, mandating more energy-efficient measures be taken in buildings and homes, and funding renewable energy research and development.

_____, I am still young, but one day I hope to have a family of my own. Yet the thought of bringing more people into a world that is literally falling apart and into a society that is bringing about its own demise, is terrifying. We know what is happening, we can see the erratic weather patterns, intensifying hurricanes and flooding, and rising sea levels, and we know what needs to be done to prevent further damage.

I urge you, _____, to do your part in ensuring future generations have a stable planet to live in.

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