Working as a naturalist ranger in Everglades National Park, Florida from 1998 to 2008, my biggest hero was Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998). She was known as the "Mother of the Everglades" with her landmark 1947 book, River of Grass, describing the Everglades. From 1970 until her death in 1998, she was its biggest champion and defender with the group she founded, Friends of the Everglades.
One of her best quotes: "When it comes to saving the Everglades, it's not a matter of being optimistic or pessimistic. It's something that just has to be done."
Marjory saw the Everglades as a place of global significance. The first line in River of Grass, "There are no other Everglades in the world." No, she did not talk about climate change since it was a much smaller issue when she was alive.
However, climate change is a top threat to the Everlades today. If she was still alive, I have no doubt it would be a big concern for her, with sea level rise, ocean acidification on nearby coral reefs, the threat to wildlife and plants, etc.
Just like Douglas believed saving the Everglades from destruction required effective action -- not optimism or pessimism -- reducing the impact of climate change just requires action, not optimism or pessimism.
What can you do to take action on climate change?
- Get an energy efficiency audit on your home.
- Organize your community to get your electric utility to use renewable energy.
- Contact your elected local, state, and national leaders.
- Write letters to the editor and opinion editorials to your local newspaper.
- Contact your college or university to divest their endowment from fossil fuel investments.
- Engage your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers on the problem and solutions to to climate change.
- Join groups leading successful organizing campaigns, such as Citizens Climate Lobby, 350.org, Sierra Club's Beyond Coal, etc.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Everybody can be great. Because anbody can serve."
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