Our only home

The time to use the most aggressive technology and legislative power to treat this is now - it has always been “now,” and we're past due. It requires political courage and individual responsibility.

GUILFORD — There are many troubling forces at play in our current zeitgeist and politics that are demanding the attention of our president and legislators.

Keeping tabs on current events and the status of our sociopolitical machine is dizzying. But the problem of climate change - the future of our planet - is the backdrop and integral piece to much of the inequities and catastrophes we are facing and witnessing.

Though politically it can seem as though climate change is a partisan issue, it is a problem that does not discriminate.

Each person on this planet is vulnerable to the effects of climate change - individuals, families, and cultures. It is illusory to see ourselves as being separate or unaffected by these disasters.

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We are losing precious time, and the integrity of Mother Earth is rapidly being exhausted. We know this, and I think it's worth being a broken record about it.

Speaking for myself, I feel tremendous anticipatory grief looking ahead to a time where we may not have the gift of nature as our refuge.

We are not just part of this Earth - we are entirely made of it. If ever I've felt despairing or like I didn't belong, I have turned to nature to see the imperfections and kindness of life reflected at me, reminding me that we always have a home here.

Earth is a source of deep meaning for many, and that meaning transcends geography and culture. It is how we can see ourselves as siblings, no matter our differences. This globe is an anomaly and a profound teacher.

The Greenland ice cap is deteriorating at an alarming rate, as well as glaciers in Antarctica.

The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing unprecedented, large swaths of coral bleaching that is irreversible.

Wildfires are now frequent, and the resultant air quality fallout can be experienced from hundreds, even thousands, of miles away.

We have produced and emitted particulates and pollutants that are so ubiquitous that scientists cannot yet quantify them.

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If we do not immediately intervene, the loss of biodiversity will be irreparable. All these systems work together so that we as humans can live on this planet. It is how we remain sheltered, fed, protected from weather fluctuations, and natural disasters.

As explained by scientist Johan Rockström in Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet, we have surpassed what is called the Holocene geologic age, and we are now situated in the Anthropocene age, in which our climate is no longer naturally evolving and changing; instead, human activity has exaggerated and thwarted the natural processes of the planet, creating a new era of geologic vulnerability.

We are the species to have caused this degree of planetary instability, and consequently it is our responsibility to reverse its course.

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The time to use the most aggressive technology and legislative power to treat this is now - it has always been “now,” and we're past due. It requires political courage and individual responsibility.

We can pass legislation to respond appropriately to the multiply declared, resounding scientific alarm that we are, in fact, in danger, to a proportion that we may not even be able to cognize.

It can be hard to know how any one person can intervene, and a collective helplessness can sometimes stew in the background. While we can make conscious effort to be mindful of our consumption, we also need to be able to count on leaders with legislative power to make brave decisions.

This issue can no longer be a side project or appendage to other, seemingly more-pressing policy concerns. All sociopolitical concerns must be considered within the context of a deteriorating planet if we are to be attuned and accurately responsive.

The dystopia of losing our planet is not a remote, far-off possibility: it is already here, and human lives, flora and fauna, are dying because of it.

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We need President Biden to swiftly declare climate change a national emergency and to encourage his constituents and other nations to follow suit.

Biden could use the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), which both he and, previously, President Trump relied upon to compel manufacturers to prioritize COVID-19-related materials (masks, ventilators, and the like).

The DPA grants the president greater authority to finance and bolster green industrial policy projects, which could be used in tandem with the climate investments ushered in by the Inflation Reduction Act. This would help reduce obstacles to the transition toward clean energy.

Doing so would, in part, move the country out of what can feel like a legislative inertia toward the issue of climate change, expediting the process as is clearly necessary.

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This is our one and only home. Three million years of human evolution, ingenuity, tradition, culture, creativity, and cooperation have taken place on this singular, life-bearing planet.

We can be humbled by the complexity, wisdom, and perseverance of the many other sentient creatures and organisms that accompany us.

The happenstance of having life in this universe is an improbable miracle, and it's our precarious task to steward it for our children and generations to come.

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