Health and safety are things that all humans and other life forms need for survival, that’s a fact. I am worried, for I see a steady decrease in both. Severe mosquito born illnesses are spreading to more northern areas. The World Food Program reports of the rising risks of food insecurity and hunger as related to extreme weather events. These dramatic changes in weather are destroying crops, roads and buildings, deteriorating communities and thereby increasing poverty. Right here in Missouri our agricultural communities have been dealing with the problems brought on by drought and floods. Missouri has an overall food insecurity rate of 16.8 percent, which is tied for seventh highest in the nation. Climate change is a “threat multiplier” which accelerates the existing pressures of competition for limited resources, large scale migration, and economic inequality; creating instability and violent conflicts. The European nations have been dealing with mass migrations from Africa and the Middle East. At home in the U.S., we’re having a huge increase in the number of refugees from Central America: scarcity and violence are the at the heart of these people’s movements away from their homes. What can we do? The Missouri Regional Library and Sierra Club are sponsoring speaker Carolyn Amparan, who will address these topics at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Time is short; the latest research shows that we have little more than 10 years of “doing nothing” before there is no secure recovery. Carbon emissions must be reduced. Many of us are frustrated by our political parties working against each other. We must work together to find solutions for the challenges at hand to protect our grandchildren and future generations. By reducing our carbon emissions we will receive the benefits of better air quality, leading to a decrease in the amount and severity of respiratory disease and in the number of cases of asthma — which have been rising. There will be better nutrition and decreased scarcity of food. We will receive increased stability for our agricultural systems and better water quality. We need our congressmen to work for bipartisan support to address this huge threat to our health and national security. We are not without hope for improving our state, our nation, and the world. Now is the time for decision and action.
I invite you to Amparan’s presentation “Climate Change Impacts on Health and Security” at the library this Thursday.