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Environment

Trip to the State Capitol

State Capitol
State Capitol

DES MOINES— Making my first trip to Des Moines this year, it occurred to me there is not a lot to distinguish Iowa’s largest city. The legislature meets here, some businesses headquarter here, and the downtown area continues to have light foot traffic despite the sprawl to West Des Moines, Ankeny, Clive, Altoona and Johnston. The capitol city attracts people and money and that is about it. Yesterday’s trip was mostly to meet with Ed Fallon, founder and director of the Great March for Climate Action and his director of operations.

The Great March for Climate Action is ambitious. It proposes “to change the heart and mind of other Americans and our elected leaders through mobilizing 1,000 people to march coast-to-coast to demand action on climate change.” The march will set-out from Los Angeles, Calif. on March 1, 2014, scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 1. Logistics will be a key consideration, and since I can’t afford a sizable donation, nor spare eight months away from Big Grove, I offered some help on the logistics of the march. The meeting went well.

While we were meeting in Des Moines, President Obama was giving a speech on climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. He said, referring to rising CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere,

“That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.”

A warming and increasingly polluted planet is one of the key threats to the survival of humanity, and reasonable people can agree on that. There is an urgency to do something now about continuing CO2 emissions. As the president said,

“Today, about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from our power plants.  But here’s the thing:  Right now, there are no federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution that those plants can pump into our air.  None. Zero. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.

So today, for the sake of our children, and the health and safety of all Americans, I’m directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.”

This is one part of a broader plan outlined yesterday by the president. If readers are interested in climate change,  click on the link to read the entire speech.

Whether 1,000 people marching across the country, to win the hearts and minds of Americans about climate change, will culminate in a course of action seems uncertain at best. But we have to try everything we know to reduce global warming pollution and mitigate the impact of a changing climate. Our survival as a species depends upon it. One hopes Ed Fallon will be successful in raising the funds, organizing the march and recruiting marchers for the Great March for Climate Action. If you would like to learn more, check out the group’s website http://climatemarch.org/.