st-george-2If you love the beach, there’s something you could do to help save it. Of course if you don’t believe in sea-level rise and climate change, don’t bother. Maybe you think getting to drive to the beach in Albany instead of Panama City would be a good thing. I don’t.

The skeptics scoff at sea-level rise projections, but it seems in recent years they’re having more trouble denying very detailed scientific reports that have documented things like 10,000-year-old ice sheets retreating at an alarming rate and the Northwest Passage between Canada and the Arctic suddenly opening up for the first time since record-keeping began in 1972. As for our beloved Southern beaches and the Gulf of Mexico, an eye-opening map that shows what sea-level rise might do can be found at: http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/new-orleans.shtml. If you like Jazz-Fest, Café DuMonde and Galatoire’s, this map may convince you to visit New Orleans soon and often.

apalach-bay-near-ip-4As for the controversy over whether global warming is real, my scientific background is limited enough that I try to stick to the basics. When I take an ice cube out of the freezer, it always melts. If gigantic ice sheets are melting, the water’s going into the ocean, just like my ice cubes melt in my glass. More water in the ocean means the sea rises, and low-lying cities like Miami, Savannah, New Orleans and Mobile will eventually be at risk. Makes sense to me.

It apparently didn’t make sense to the previous administration in Washington. From what I’ve read, there were pretty heavy-handed orders from high up to deny, obscure, delay and question any claims that climate might be changing for the worse, with potentially devastating impacts, due to human activity.

Fortunately the new administration is taking the science seriously, and proposing we take action rather than drag our feet.

But since I’m pretty limited when it comes to science, I rely on the better-educated. One of my college buddies has done well enough to earn a spot on the board of directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists and to found his own environmental restoration firm. He’s also been trained by Al Gore img_1053and The Climate Project and is active making presentations that basically tell people, “Hey, wake up. There’s hard science, real, measurable facts behind all the hoopla and the headlines, and you might want to think about it, seriously.”

He recently emailed friends to urge them to email the EPA, which is considering listing greenhouse gases as a threat to public health and welfare. This would be important because it would give EPA the authority to begin doing something about the problem, specifically, regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. It might also put a bit of heat on Congress to take action, too.

If you’d like to make your opinion known, the address is: [email protected].

You can simply cut-and-paste the following email if you choose. Be sure to mention the docket number in the subject line:

RE: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171

Please accept this message as a comment on EPA’s proposed finding regarding greenhouse gases in the United States (Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act).

I support EPA’s proposed finding and urge you to aggressively pursue all actions available to you to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. There is no doubt that greenhouse gases pose a threat to the public health and welfare, now and in the future.

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Mike Williams

Mike Williams

With roots in Mississippi and Alabama, Mike Williams worked for newspapers across the South for 27 years. After earning a degree in American Studies at Amherst College, he worked for Alabama newspapers in Baldwin County, Montgomery and Birmingham, followed by stints at the Miami Herald and The Atlanta Constitution. His last job was as a foreign correspondent for the Cox Newspaper chain. He now splits his time between Florida and the North Carolina mountains. His interests include race relations, history, Southern folk culture and the environment.