I stood watching glaciers crack and calve with a horrendous crash into bright blue swirling seas. It was summer in Alaska, around 80℉ (approximately 26℃), and I was on the deck of a monstrous cruise ship in Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay was named for its monolith of ice that once extended to the mouth of the sea. They estimate that by this summer no ice will touch the water in Glacier Bay.
Over the loudspeaker, a National Park Ranger droned on about how “man-made global warming is a force outside our control”. I literally shouted “WHAT?!” to the heavens, and earned a couple of sideways glances from passengers trying to enjoy what remains of the great outdoors.
We must be the change we intend to see in the world. In the face of climate change, we must pursue effective, equitable and bold action if we wish to live up to the United States’ mantle of a global leader. Continuing to advance the comfortable status quo at the expense of future generations is unconscionable. We are saddling our children with a debt repayable in war, droughts and famines.
the worst effects of climate change can still be avoided if governments quickly enact aggressive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reductions.
So when the world must set binding targets for GHG emissions, we should make every effort and sacrifice to be bold, to think forward and systemically, rather than backwards about the extractive industries that have driven economic growth for so long.
"The greater danger for us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark." - MichelangeloInterested in learning more about climate action, climate justice or fossil fuel divestment at UCSC? Like Fossil Free UCSC on Facebook, check out the homepage of the Fossil Free campaign, or feel free to send me an email at aphinney [at] ucsc [dot] edu.
Alden Phinney is the Sustainability Office Climate Action Analyst through the Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program; a member of the Campus Sustainability Council; and a coordinator for Fossil Free UC Santa Cruz.