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Carl Whiting's Letter to the EPA on Climate Change

                                                                                                                                     November 8th, 2013
Members of the EPA panel,

During a recent summer vacation I took a trip with my youngest son William, intending to see some of this beautiful country as we made our way toward Madison, Wisconsin. We loaded our car with binoculars, backpacks and peanut-butter and jelly, and left the Oregon coast intending to camp our way back. But the forest fires in Oregon and Northern Idaho blackened the sky overhead. After watching the fire-fighting helicopters swoop down to lower their hoses and suck water from the Clearwater River we’d planned to camp along, we had no choice but to push on, crossing into Montana where I told my son his asthma would get better in “big sky” country. But the smoke and flying ash followed us across the border, and the sun hung alien and red, barely penetrating the haze.

Tuning in to local talk-radio produced one story after another about how many of Montana and Wyoming’s cows had perished in the longstanding drought, and that shipping cattle out of state was the only hope left for ranchers who’d run out of options. It got so depressing my son switched the radio off and we drove on in silence.  It was late August and by North Dakota we were feeling trapped in our car. The temperatures outside were over 100 degrees, and soon our thoughts were focused on simply making it back home to Madison. I’ve made that trip twenty times or more since I was a child, and I’d never seen anything like that. It felt like a nightmare; a post-apocalyptic journey. I couldn’t help but wonder; is this my son’s future?

I want to say to President Obama that hope and change don’t come from fossil fuels, dangerous greenhouse gasses do. Fires, droughts, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes are all made worse by those warming gasses.  Real hope and change, Mr. President, come from communities working together to create a renewable and sustainable energy future for all of our children.

I have two sons. They are my hope for the future; America’s future. Someday I’d like them to be able to tell their children about the time our nation finally took a serious stand for the future of humanity, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline and reigning in the CO2 belching from antiquated power-plants , and that from those first steps, our nation began a journey toward real sustainability.

Man-made climate-change isn’t simply the greatest challenge of our generation, it is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. Humankind will either respond to this challenge or perish.
 I want my great-great-grandchildren to be able to see slender leaves unfurl from the tips of their branches in early Spring, because Spring has come at the proper time and stayed its season. I want them to stand under the dripping elms after a rain and smell the richness of the earth. I want them to watch in awe as patches of sunlight and shadow chase one another over the brow of a hill on a windy day. Fundamentally, I want them to have the opportunity to love this earth as we have loved it, not to feel the inconsolable sorrow of having been left something lesser, something dangerous; a shining world we broke before they could inherit it.

Every dream we cherish, every cause we believe in rests on the foundation of a livable planet. As you take in these public comments and craft a plan going forward, please remember what your agency is named, and stand firm against those who would sell our children’s future to the fossil-fuel industry. The lives of those who come after us hang helplessly in the balance of your deliberations.

Thank you.
Dr. Carl Whiting 

I know Carl though the Madison community branch of 350, a community group focused on working towards solutions on climate change.  


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