On Sunday, July 20, 2014, FLVCS had the honor to present at a Forum sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sarasota. The topic was Climate Change as a National Security Threat.
Since 2007, FLVCS has recognized along with DoD that climate change is a national security threat.
FLVCS accepts the scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by man due to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that traps heat in the atmosphere.
We accept the scientific consensus based on observations from the disciplines of geology and biology.
From geology, the evidence is clear that polar ice caps are melting. In addition, glaciation is decreasing almost everywhere around the world. For example, compare the size and location of the glaciers in Glacier National Park now compared to the 19th century. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/06/montana.glaciers.climate/
In some places around the globe, sea levels are measurably increasing. http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-level-rise/
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing. Data from the best monitoring station on Mt. Mauna Loa in Hawaii shows continuously increasing levels since monitoring started in the 1950/s. Since then, the levels in the atmosphere have increased from less than 300 parts per million to 400 parts per million. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/#mlo_full
The measurable temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is increasing. We recognize that the earth’s temperature is very difficult to measure due to the fact that there are not enough data points available for total accuracy, yet the upward trend is clearly observable. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/decadaltemp.php
From biology, coral reefs are shrinking, or completely disappearing, apparently due to increasing sea water temperatures or seawater acidification due to carbon dioxide combining with seawater as carbonic acid.
Also from biology, plants and animals are extending their range into areas that colder weather precluded, or on the other hand, are being extinguished by hotter weather in their former habitates. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/early-warning-signs-of-global-7.html
As for the risks from climate change, we pointed out the specific language of the DoD 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review: http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2014_Quadrennial_Defense_Review.pdf (Chapter 1, p. 8).
“Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”
We talked how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced using the technological advances for renewable energy sources like wind, biomass, and solar power (particularly solar thermal power).
We questioned why Florida, The Sunshine State, doesn’t have more solar thermal plants.
Also, we mentioned social policies that can help such as avoiding deforestation, cap and trade, and a carbon tax.
We wrapped up with suggestions for people to take action.
Consistent with the FLVCS Resolution to amend the U.S. Constitution to do away with corporate personhood and to regulate campaign finance we asked the audience to support Rhana Bazzini’s walk to Tallahassee this fall to generate support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Rhana is a FLVCS friend and we support her fine effort. http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140513/ARTICLE/140519872
Find out where candidates stand on climate change. If they don’t believe it, or don’t plan to do anything about it, don’t support them.
Use opportunities provided by the media to spread the word. Your efforts will pay dividends. For example, in response to a recent FLVCS call to action for letters to the editor, we identified several letters from FLVCS members and friends that were published in Florida newspapers.
Use social media to spread the word.
Agitate for better media and reporting. Complain about poor news and programming. An audience member gave a personal example of what can be done. While riding Amtrac, she noticed that the TV was tuned to FOX news. She complained to management and next time she rode the train, FOX wasn’t on the TV. Of course, we don’t know if her letter was the proximate cause of the change, but we know businesses pay attention when many of us speak up.
We asked the audience to support FLVCS and the audience responded. Several veterans signed on and we were offered the opportunity to speak at an University Forum in the fall. FLVCS asks for your support too. If you are veteran, join our ranks as a voting, dues paying member. If you are not veteran, support FLVCS by becoming a ‘Friend’ or donating to the cause.
Thank you Sarasota UU Church for the opportunity to participate in your Forum.
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