Source: The Corydon Democrat

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Sound the alarm: The sky is failing
Community conversations

by Judy O'Bannon

June 23, 2009

A few years back, there were snickers when voices warned of global warming and the disastrous fallout. Not today. There now is enough hard-core scientific evidence that the climate is changing that we all are opening our ears to the alarms.

The recent unexpected floods and wind and ice storms offered an upclose, in-your-face experience. Who can forget scooping mud and mold out of homes and businesses? Or, how can we not remember the worry of frozen water pipes and the smell of spoiled food from shutdown refrigerators?

Every time I drive to the farm on S.R. 62, I see the cedars that used to stand tall in the limestone cliffs now bent down as if in actual defeat to the harsh elements. When the wind, rain and ice came with unprecedented power, we knew we would pay the price — and we have. But have we really seen the final bill yet?

Each community in Indiana has its own unique story of weather gone wild during the past few years. In fact, all over our globe, from the bottom of the seas to the highest clouds in the sky, scientists have tracked evidence of a horrendous turmoil.

Carbon dioxide is contributing to this rapid change in the atmosphere and scientists are warning that it must be reduced or summers here will be more like those in Oklahoma by the end of the century. Emissions from fossil fuels, power plants and vehicles are increasing the thermal blanket in our atmosphere and, consequently, trapping too much heat.

There is a bill in Congress that is aimed at reducing these dangerous emissions. It is scheduled for a vote before the end of this month. Recent changes in the legislation will protect Midwest electric consumers from rate shock, as in "How am I going to pay this bill?"

A lot is going on in Congress, with the economy so unstable, but none of what we do on that front will make any difference if we lose all of life in the process. Congressman Baron Hill is supporting this climate legislation. How about contacting Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh and encouraging them to get on board?

I recently spent time with people involved with The National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy and The National Trust for Historic Preservation. At first glance, it would appear that each of these groups have a different focus: The National Wildlife Federation, birds, animals, fish and the like; The Nature Conservancy, trees, land, rivers, etc.; and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, old buildings and the natural landscape. Instead, what I find is they are all talking about the same thing: the need to change how we live if we are to have sustainable and safe places to live. Sometimes this is spoken of as "the green movement." There are all kinds of ideas and programs aimed at keeping our planet alive.

A friend recently asked me if I thought nature was more dependent upon mankind, or if we are more dependent upon nature. Stop and think for a moment: Life would go on if man disappeared, wouldn't it? But would we humans be able to exist without acceptable water, soil, air and wildlife?

Uh-oh, our wild party is over. We better take notice, and we better take action.