The realities about global warming are sinking in. That was demonstrated by the overflow crowd that packed UVM's Ira Allen Chapel last night to hear a speech by Laurie David, producer of the blockbuster flick An Inconvenient Truth. About 1000 people packed the main floor and more than 300 squeezed into the overflow space downstairs.
Laurie David called global warming "the most urgent challenge of our lifetime."
"This is not just my opinion, but the opinion of the world’s scientists. And although they’ve been largely ignored in the last two decades, and muzzled or rewritten for the last few years, they have now concluded we have less than 10 years to slow global warming down or we’ll be set on a course we will not be able to correct. This is the conclusion of the world’s most respected experts, the most cautious group of individuals on the planet saying we have less than 10 years.
"James Hansen, a scientist at NASA and one of my personal heroes, told me recently and I quote, 'Because of human activity we are already guaranteed two degrees of warming, but we dare not go above that.'
Hearing Hansen, who spent three decades studying the issue, say that, sent shivers up my spine."
As it damn well should.
"There is now more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than in the last - think about this number - 650,000 years. As CO2 levels go up, temperature goes up with them. This is a fact and it’s indisputable. And the world is putting an additional 70 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere everyday. July 2005 to June 2006 was the hottest 12 month period in the history of temperature measurements in the United States - 2300 heat records were broken in the month of July alone."
Global warming, ignored by President George W. Bush and considered theoretical by GOP congressional candidate Martha Rainville as recently as July, is projected, said David, "to completely alter your forests and lead to the eventual disappearance of the sugar maple.
"Can you imagine the core of who you are as a community changing forever - the sugar maples, the fall leaves, the ski season all at stake? "
Scary. We simply cannot ignore it any longer.
"This is not about politics, it’s about ethics. It’s against every value we all hold near and dear to know we are altering life, screwing up our climate system, wrecking havoc on weather patterns and continue to do nothing about it."
And David told the overflow crowd there is still time to save the planet but action must commence immediately. We must make dramatic adjustments in how we do things, she said, within the next 10 years - max!