Earth Day 2015: Hope for Our Future
Apr 01, 2015 12:51PM
By Julianne Hale
When we learn about the condition of our most valuable resource—this spinning planet we call home—we may feel a sense of urgency, desperation or even defeat. Global climate change is a powerful foe, and current efforts may seem like a losing race against time.
Yet, mounting evidence suggests that the global community is making progress, giving rise to the possibility that climate change may not be the insurmountable obstacle we once thought. The Environmental Defense Fund article, “We Can Do This: 10 Reasons there’s Hope for our Climate,” by Dan Upham, summarizes a speech given by EDF President Fred Krupp at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival (Tinyurl.com/HopeForTheClimate). Here are some encouraging highlights.
The price of solar energy panels has dropped by 75 percent in the U.S. since 2008, and affordable wind energy is increasingly available. According to a study published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon dioxide emissions from energy in this country dropped by 10 percent between 2005 and 2012. In addition, China, the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is actively seeking ways to reduce emissions.
Proof of progress is also found in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to cut billions of tons of pollution, a goal supported by two-thirds of Americans, according to a survey conducted by Harstad Strategic Research. Aligned with this, the government is requiring that manufacturers double car gas mileage by 2025.
Perhaps the best argument for hope reflects the priorities of America’s younger generations. A recent bipartisan poll of young voters conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group suggests that 80 percent of voters under the age of 35 support the President taking action to address climate change, making it an issue that both major political parties must take seriously.
It’s time to realize that mankind is making decided progress, that the majority of us do care, that what local communities accomplish has a positive effect and that the global community can take the steps needed to avert catastrophic climate change.