Letter to the Editor: Climate change and the ballot box


In the midst of the political campaign season here in Virginia, one of the critical issues concerns protection of the environment. How much does one need to understand about climate change to be an informed citizen, parent, and maybe a grandparent?

Making recent headlines were reports that August was the hottest, globally, on record, the sixth month this year that has broken a record, and the hottest start to a year on record.

These were the most recent of many reports that the negative impacts of climate change are more serious and are occurring more rapidly than was understood just a few years ago. A visible result of this phenomenon is the contagion of wild fires currently burning out of control in Northern California, with more than 1,500 homes burned at this writing.

Polar and high altitude ice are melting faster than initially predicted; sea level rise is greater; and ocean warming, oxygen reduction, and species depletion are now considered dire.

Abundant information about climate change is available on the websites of the National Academy of Sciences, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’.

Not being a scientist is no excuse for denying the facts and reality of climate change. If your doctor told you that you had a life-threatening illness but that there were treatments which had a good chance of success, would you ignore the recommendation because you’re not a physician?

A sharp distinction exists between candidates for the state senate in District 26: an incumbent, Mark Obenshain, who denies the scientific facts of human-caused global warming and climate change and says there is nothing that the General Assembly can or should do to address it, and a challenger who has studied the problem for years and trusts the scientists. The challenger, April Moore, if elected on Nov 3, would introduce legislation to reduce Virginia’s carbon emissions, while creating career jobs in renewable energy and saving consumers’ money.

Especially for the sake of your children and grandchildren you need to know that you have a choice when you vote Nov. 3.

Tim Keck, Basye