Climate Change affects our county! It’s scary, but each of us can help stop Global Warming

The President’s Hoot
by Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
May 2019

The exact beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch within the Geological Time Scale, the standard scientific timeline of Earth’s 4.5-billon-year history, is very controversial. Some suggest it began 12,000 years ago when humans killed off huge numbers of large mammals and birds (e.g., Elephant Bird), or with the start of agricultural and urban development 5,000 to 11,000 years ago, or from 1880 when fossil-fuel burning started. Others suggest it began after 1950 when human populations nearly tripled and the U.S. population doubled by 2010, when radioactive elements dispersed across the planet from nuclear testing, with burgeoning plastic pollution (only 9% of 8.3 billion tons produced is recycled), and as carbon emissions have quadrupled. Recent concerns:

  • The human population has increased by 18 % over the past 20 years.
  • 9,000,000 pounds of plastic will pollute the ocean this year alone – we are ingesting it via our foods with unknown health consequences.
  • Bird populations are in steep decline in North America.
  • 314 bird species may go extinct within the next 50 years.
  • Bees, butterflies, and other insects are dying at alarming rates.
  • Less fish to catch in the Lagoon.

Is Climate Change real? NASA, NOAA and the Defense Department have confirmed that the  “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal” (see https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/). The evidence of rapid climate change includes:  global temperature rise, warming oceans with sea-level rise, shrinking ice sheets and glacial retreat, decreased snow cover resulting in more wildfires and increasing drought, declining arctic sea ice, extreme weather events with intense rainfall events, and ocean acidification.  Scientists differ in how much longer we have to mitigate these effects, but estimates range from 10 to 25 years before the changes are irreversible. Sadly it is our children and their children who will have to suffer the worst from climate change.

We can no longer deny that Climate Change is responsible for the increasing frequency of forest fires, horrific hurricanes, and drought. Florida has felt some of the most devastating impacts in the form of communities devastated by red tide, cyanobacterial toxin, super storms, and rising sea levels that threaten to flood our cities. Humans can reverse this process if we act aggressively.

Plant a tree to capture CO2.  Yes, if each of us plants one tree, we could reduce global warming by 1-2 degrees.  Pelican Island Audubon wants everyone to plant a tree that will help stop Climate Change. We are offering free trees for planting.  Green America suggest 10 other solutions to reverse climate change (https://www.greenamerica.org/climate-change-100-reasons-hope/top-10-solutions-reverse-climate-change):

  1. Manage Refrigerants
  2. Build Wind Turbines
  3. Reduce Food Waste
  4. Adopt a Plant-Rich Diet
  5. Restore Tropical Forests
  6. Educate Girls
  7. Plan Families
  8. Build Solar Farms
  9. Silvo-pasture to integrate trees, forage plants and livestock
  10. Install Rooftop Solar Panels and Over Parking Lots

We need stronger local and state ordinances and regulations.  If we are to survive and plan for to tomorrow, we need to change our activities fast. What can we do here in Indian River County and the Treasure Coast to save our Lagoon, Blue Cypress Lake, St. Sebastian River, and water bodies from dying?

  • Fund Florida Forever at $400,000,000 per year as we voted.
  • Limit grass lawns to 10-20% of public and private lands.
  • Plant native plants on 80% of government and public properties.
  • Reduce glyphosate.
  • Ban all fertilizers on river and lakeshores, the barrier island and along the Lagoon.
  • Use marine pump-out facilities and stop flushing boat toilets in the Lagoon and along our Ocean shores.
  • Build a plant to generate electricity from our human waste. 
  • Purchase and allow only electric buses and cars, (and Hybrids until 2030) to be sold in the County.
  • Install motion-detection lights in streetlights, and indoor buildings to save electricity.
  • Save electricity in government buildings by encouraging temperature set (winter-68°F; summer-78°F) no warmer or cooler unless using solar panels on your roofs.
  • Install solar panels to generate own electricity on all government buildings.
  • Set 1% county tax on all nonrenewable fuels to generate funds to handle climate-change impacts, hurricane damage, rising waters, and beach erosion.  
  • Ban lead (very damaging to child IQs) in all fishing gear, weights, and bullets, gas. 
  • Tax $.10 cents on all leaded gas sold to fund education of our children.
  • Stop selling motors that use leaded gas only.
  • Ban straws and single use containers and packaging in stores and restaurants. Bring your own.
  • No free plastic bags, sell for $.25.
  • Scoop up pet, dog, and cat poop everywhere.
  • Enforce the regulations we have.

Let’s get serious. Save our wonderful planet!  We have only one place in the universe on which to live; let’s not turn it into Venus or Mars through our actions! Start by planting a tree.  Call our office 772-567-3520.

Graph: Dr. Kenneth Kunkel, North Carolina Institute of Climate Studies

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