Must Katrina have stacked the bodies higher in New Orleans? Must they have ascended in a tight pile towards the heavens so that all in Washington and the rest of this country would finally take notice? Must the winds of Florida’s tornados howled louder, throwing the dead to the far reaches of this country for anyone to care?
Global warming is real. It is no longer a liberal complaint, not merely an environmentalist fascination, nor an activist’s exaggerated cry. It is a reality whose certainty can never again be judged based on party lines or personal agendas. Now, the once disregarded assumption has been indisputably proven true by the most diverse and respected group of scientists in the field. Global warming is a human problem, whose scientific name is merely a peaceful euphemism for its previous and potential destruction.
As we opened our newspapers and turned on “The Daily Show”, we saw the facts and we heard the jokes. The bolded headlines carried results of the fourth report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who for the first time since 1990 admitted it was “very likely” that humans were the cause of climate change.
So what does this mean? This is a phenomenon that, for over two decades, has only spawned questions. In a scientific sense, the coastline will be dramatically altered every century. A coastline that will slowly, but surely, eat away the streets of Manhattan and the entire state of Florida. In a human sense, it will be our homes, our institutions, and our lives on this planet that will be washed away with the currents, leaving our legacy to the waves.
We are now certain, and it is time for answers. This country, under the Bush administration, the largest carbon emitter in the world, still refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement, signed by nearly ever other industrialized nation in the world, seeks to stabilize carbon emissions before long-term consequences become irreversible.
Yet, our marionette of a president holds stern in the face of progress, strings stretched firmly in the hands of big oil, where they dance Bush to the tune of unprecedented greed. If our government refuses to confront this reality, then we must take the initiative on our own. The graves have been marked in New Orleans and Sri Lanka, and to continue on this course would be to carve the headstones of our children.
Al Gore will be visiting our campus to take part in the university’s lecture series to speak of the dangers climate change carries. The message is clear, for the importance of history hinges on the fate of our world’s future. Here, right now, we hold the power in our hands to bring forward progress.
Bush can not tell us what cars to buy, what appliances to use, or when to turn off our lights. Yes, individually, it may seem inconsequential, but together our small efforts can change the world. Join us, help be the answer, and take a small first step towards hope.
Corey Ciorciari is a sophomore majoring in creative writing and international studies. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.