Saturday, November 11, 2006

Perhaps Environment will be a New Focus After the Election

I am more hopeful, after this last election where a Democratic tidal wave overtook the nation, that environmental and global climate change will get more attention, and most importantly, some actual action. The past six years of complete Republican control of the government has set back environmental agendas and action, even as mountains of evidence and environmental change have been rapidly taking place world wide. Yet another report is out as of last Thursday, where the famous glaciers on some of Africa's mountains are melting and receding at unprecedented rates. For instance, the glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro have been reduced by a staggering 80% over the past century and those on the Rwenzori mountains (between Congo and Uganda) have been reduced by 60%, as temperatures rise in Africa. Runoff from these glaciers provide the region with some of the rare fresh water that the people get, and if these glaciers disappear entirely, as will happen within only a couple more decades, the only source of water during the dry season will also vanish. We will see mass migrations of people if and when this occurs, which is not what one wants in an already troubled region of the world. Water supplies will be threatened in similar ways around the world if climate change continues to progress at the accelerating rates we have been seeing over the past few decades.

It is imperative that something, anything, gets done soon in the U.S. so we begin to contribute to working on the environment. It is in both our interests as well as the world interests that the current leader in the production of greenhouse gases take a leading role in doing something to clean up this mess, and the new Democratic leadership in Congress can have an impact as they will get to set the agenda come January.