Annual Report 2014

California River Watch 2014 Annual Statement

I recently had a meeting with opposing counsel over a pollution case. The subject of climate change came up and, not surprisingly, this well educated, intelligent conservative informed me that although he did believe in “climate change”, he did not believe humans were having a causative effect.

In my line of work I hear this a lot. Sometimes it’s just shear ignorance and reliance on misinformation. Many times however, it is just too painful – a truth so inconvenient, to borrow from Mr. Gore, that people turn away, rather than give this imperative issue the understanding and attention it deserves. The fact that what we do, how we live, even what we believe in may be contributing to cataclysmic changes in the environment is just too much for some people to allow into their conscience, let alone their everyday consciousness. Yet climate change is something all of us can verify independently, from those in California experiencing the worst drought in recorded history to those on the East Coast experiencing some of the worst storms on record. A recent New York Times poll found that an amazing 71% of self-identified Republicans now believe climate change is real, and caused at least in part by human activities. What’s more, 51% of Republicans said that the federal government should act to control greenhouse gas emissions, and 48% are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change and less likely to vote for those who questioned or denied the science that has determined humans are significantly contributing to global warming.

Unfortunately, it may be the public that votes, but it’s Big Money that sets the agenda. So it is likely that we will only see lip service to climate change, while votes for projects like the Keystone Pipeline, support for fracking, and continued tax breaks for Big Oil continue. So what can you do? Actually, quite a lot. Regardless of the inequity of our current political system, the driving force is still economic. You “vote” every time you make a purchase and in your life style choices. Your voice matters too. So express your opinions to your representatives, on-line, and to your friends and family. Stand up for what you believe and act on those beliefs in your everyday life. Look out for opportunities to influence your city or town to choose renewable energy and infrastructure over polluting fossil fuel, and to conserve and protect water, a precious resource we all depend upon.

“So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
JFK, June 10, 1963