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Hurricane Irma and Jose approach U.S. shores

Time to Talk About Climate Change

Sep 27, 2017
by Tish Levee


ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 7, 2017) A GOES satellite image taken Sept. 7, 2017 at 8:45 a.m. EST shows Hurricane Irma, center, and Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean, and Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Irma is a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of more than 180 mph and is moving west-northwest at 17 mph. the storm is expected to impact the southeastern United States. U.S. Navy photo/Released


“No time to talk about climate change?” If not now, when? The last few months have been a time of “global weirding,” as more and more extreme weather events occur. However, Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, said it’s misplaced “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm[s]; versus helping people.…” Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado replied, “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.” While it is critically important to help those affected by what’s been happening, there’s no better time to talk about climate change than now. It’s actually morally irresponsible not to do so.

While climate change doesn’t cause forest fires or hurricanes, experts are certain it is responsible for the extended fire season – with more intense and devastating fires – and for the intensified hurricanes and flooding. Not to talk about the connections to climate change sets us up for more of the havoc-wrecking weather we’ve witnessed recently.

Four hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia, slamming into the Southeastern US and the Caribbean; flooding in Southeast Asia causing at least 1,300 deaths; record-breaking droughts and heatwaves; and fires raging throughout the West and on six continents, are definitely global weirding.

This IS the time to talk about climate change – its causes, its effects on all aspects of life on Earth, and the costs we incur by ignoring or, worse, denying it. The silver lining in all this is that it may be a wake-up call for some climate deniers.

How paint can make a difference. Record heat waves are one result of the climate crisis. Whoever thought it would be 106° in San Francisco? There’re many proposals for various high-tech solutions – mostly unproven, fairly expensive, and in the distant future – to the problems of climate change, but something as simple as a new paint job can make a big difference. Los Angeles is using CoolSeal, a new light gray sealer for streets; in an August test it reduced street temperatures by 12°. Could we do that here?

School’s started. Are you idling your car while taking children to school? Idling your car for just 10 minutes each school day for a year creates enough toxic fumes to fill two jumbo jets. Does your school have “no idling” signs? If not, why not?

Palo Alto’s City Council recently voted to join Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Ann Arbor, in banning engines idling when parked or waiting in line. Other South Bay cities are considering similar bans.

Idling for longer than ten seconds uses more fuel than restarting you engine. If all Americans idled their car engines just one minute less per day, we’d save over 92 million gallons of gasoline annually, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 225,200 tons. Think of the fuel and money we’d save, too, not to mention how much healthier we’d all be.

Go to and join others in the Bay Area in taking action!

Even better, encourage your students to walk and roll to school. On Oct 4th, the Center for Climate Protection’s Eco2School program is sponsoring “International Walk and Roll to School Day.” Register at

We’re using up the planet’s resources sooner each year. Earth Overshoot Day was August 2nd, six days earlier than last year and nearly five months earlier than in 1971. We’ve now used all the resources that nature can replenish for the year. Globally we’d need 1.7 planets to have enough resources for the rest of this year. But Earth Overshoot Day is an average based on per capita use. If everyone lived as we do in the US, Earth Overshoot Day would be March 14th, and we’d need more than four planets to have enough resources for the year. Learn more, pledge actions to move the date, and download a calculator for your personal Overshoot Day, at

Coming Attractions: OnOct.12th at 8:00 AM, get energized and renewed while networking with over 600 environmentally-minded movers and shakers at “Ripple the World.” Daily Acts’ 9th annual fundraising breakfast, in Santa Rosa, is free, but please RSVP to

For the Planet by Tish Levee

© Copyright Tish Levee, 2017


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