As I looked at the computer screen which displayed the faces of my mother and grandmother, I wished them both a Happy Mother’s Day. As we talked I thought of all the sacrifices they had made to ensure I was raised in an environment that fostered my growth and success. What some deem, another Hallmark Holiday, I love Mother’s Day because it’s one more opportunity for me to say thank you to them for all they have done to make my world a better place.
It’s hard to believe that juxtaposed to this Mother’s Day was another new date which will go down in the history books. Just preceding our mom’s special day, the planet went over 400ppm concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the New York Times:
“The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.”
So, as mothers all over the world were celebrating, the planet was surpassing another climate change milestone, which is ultimately making the environment less safe for moms and their children everywhere.
Yet, after a weekend of articles on what is yet to come due to this new level, some still don’t understand the sense of urgency many of us feel. Ultimately, polls show that more and more Americans believe climate change is real and that we should do something to combat it, however they don’t want government to foot the bill. And when I bring it up among my friends, (what I like to call my personal focus groups) climate change still pales in comparison to their concerns about the economy, job creation and debt reduction.
Recently, I attended a presentation by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Following her foreign and domestic policy laden speech, she opened up for questions from the audience. As I stood to ask her thoughts on climate change, the President’s second term and the role current Secretary of State John Kerry should play in these discussions, I wondered what her response would entail.
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“I think that all one has to do is look at various things and extremes going on. I think there is positive proof that there is something going on. The other, I think is the affect that climate change has on a number of aspects that have to do with stability. I have just been involved in many discussions now about problems to do with water. If people think we have been arguing over fossil fuels, wait until we really start arguing over water. About food security and problems there. A lot of it has to do with climate change. If people only think it’s about polar bears or something, that’s not what it’s about. What it is about is human security in all its various aspects.” -Madeleine Albright, May 3, 2013
“Human security.” While some still debate whether we should refer to this issue as global warming or climate change, former Secretary Albright skipped right to the heart of the matter. This is a human security issue and we should begin acting like it is.
We need to start asking the tough questions about what we can do as individuals, while demanding our elected officials take a stand and lead. It has been 89 days since President Obama said we’d “respond to the threat of climate change” during his State of the Union address. We’ve heard the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk. If you agree, send President Obama an email and tell him you are ready to hear his plan.
Like our mothers, who strive to protect us, now is the time for us to find ways to protect them and our other mom, Mother Earth.