Sally Hausken: Climate change is a slow onset disaster. Act now


Fifty-two billion tons of greenhouse gases produced each year, says Bill Gates in How to avoid a climate catastrophe. He further explains that our effort must be to bring it down to zero. The effort must come from many places: governments, corporations, businesses, bankers, farmers, individuals and families. Carbon and its impact on Earth are extremely complicated. It is also ubiquitous – everywhere – in the ground and in the air.

A landmark deal announced at COP 26 of the Glasgow Accord to End International Public Funding for Fossil Fuels aims to challenge the narrative that oil, coal and gas are necessary for the development of low-income countries. income, according to one of the officials who worked to secure the deal.

The deal has the backing of 26 countries and financial institutions and, if properly implemented, will see at least $ 18 billion in international public funding shift from fossil fuels to support for clean energy, the company estimates. civil.

Plants with deep roots retain carbon in the soil. The tall grass prairies of the Great Plains sequester carbon in their roots. Peatlands, desert, and permafrost tundra do as well. Forests are full of carbon sequestered in their roots.

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Now, with forest fires killing trees, their capture turns into greenhouse gases. Glaciers are melting, Arctic sea ice is melting, sea levels are rising – all of this is flooding coastal areas and releasing more carbon. It is the poor and the colored people of the world who suffer most from these dangers.

“Greenhouse gases” cause drought, turning the heat up a notch. In the oceans, coral is bleached and damaged by acidity. All of this causes winter to end earlier and snow levels in the mountains to drop by 25-40%.

Fossil fuels and methane are the main offenders. Think about man’s need for energy! Cars and heavy trucks on the planet – all spitting fuel. Man cares little about miles per gallon. GM and Ford spend billions to build electric vehicles.

Even Norway, although rich in oil and natural gas from the North Sea, offers “E” licensed vehicles free travel, while license plates without the “E” are charged for daily trips!

Solar, wind and hydroelectric power is clean energy that helps modernize the electricity grid. Iceland is totally hydroelectric!

One of the smarter options has been to put a price on carbon and then refund the product to customers. Taxing carbon at the source would double the price of refineries, mines and wells.

But then a family of four, for example, would get a rebate of $ 2,000 to offset those increased costs. Royalty credits would be offered for new ways to store or reuse carbon.

The Nature Conservancy creates clever ways to help poor countries with carbon credits, cap-and-trade, and carbon offsets, often involving thousands of acres of land. This can include planting millions of trees.

Agriculture is constantly researching processes and technologies to capture carbon directly from the air for greenhouse gases. Even cement! As well as manure, fertilizers, methane and tiles.

OK, so what can the individual and individual families do to make the planet a little less hot? Make time every day to help the planet. How? ‘Or’ What? Here is a host of ideas:

  • Plastic bags. My God, have you watched the flow of plastic bags in every customer’s basket coming out of a supermarket ?! Get some cloth bags, leave them in the trunk of the car, and take them out on your way to the market! Easy, not expensive; decreases waste in water and on land.
  • Consider landscaping: native trees, bushes and wildflowers to attract pollinators.
  • A green “Bright Energy” program is a choice of the City of Detroit Lakes. Contact Bridget Penton at 218 846-7133.
  • Switch as many tools as possible to electric use: lawn mowers, string trimmers, saws, boat engines. Do your research. For your home: electric thermostat, window insulation, high-performance appliances. Are you leaving your room? Turn off the lights.
  • Think carefully about buying an electric vehicle. My Prius gets over 60 miles per gallon in the summer and 45 mpg in the winter. Compare it with SUVs and vans.
  • For companies that pollute, they have a choice: reduce their carbon (fossil fuel emissions) or pay to pollute. It might as well come to us as individuals. Among companies, a carbon tax is already in place.
  • Are you a shareholder? Speak up and vote for your actions in the interest of helping the planet.
  • Keep up to date with politics and record your insistence on tackling climate change. Make calls, write letters, attend town hall meetings. Urge more funding for research and development to save your demand for greenhouse gas reductions.
  • Carrying a plastic bag with you, oddly enough, is a good idea. Be a cordial citizen beloved of the planet and collect the garbage: bags of fast food, bottles of energy drinks, cigarette butts. They all fit in this bag, and the bag fits in the trash!
  • What can I do today that will live tomorrow? Plant a flower or a tree? Teach a child or a friend to be kind to the planet?

“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, nature is a stakeholder in all of our agreements and decisions. She has more votes, a longer memory, and a tougher sense of justice than we do. “ – Wendell’s Bay

(Sally Hausken is a Becker County Master Gardener who lives in Detroit Lakes. This is the last in his five column series on climate change)

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