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The Clock Is Ticking

Inspiration To Act Swiftly To Help A Globe In Crisis

As we come to the end of the year I can’t help but to reflect back and wonder if I have accomplished what I set out to do this year. I feel the rush of the clock ticking, tick tock, and hope that time will not run out. This sense of urgency rushes over me every year.

As my own clock keeps moving forward and my time here grows shorter, the ticking of the clock seems to speed up. My sense of urgency quickens and I struggle to beat the hands of time, in order to provide a future for the next generation.

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have signed a letter sounding the emergency alarm on climate change. No longer are they merely issuing warnings.  Meanwhile in Bonn, Germany, the Trump administration sent representatives to the 23rd Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on climate change, COP 23, to present a future in support of the fossil fuel industry.

The 10 hottest years on record have been the last 10 – and 2016 was the hottest year on record. The world came together in Paris in December, 2015 to broker an agreement to mitigate climate change. It helped restore hope that we could fix this, just as we did when the world came together in the mid 1980s to ban emission of ozone-depleting chemicals through the Montreal Protocol.

This year – his first year in public office – Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, the lone holdout, Syria, joined the Paris accord. Now the U.S. stands alone. And the clock is ticking.

The President of the United States has called climate change a “hoax.” Meanwhile, scientists predict that warming temperatures will create a food shortage, more violent storms, severe droughts and rise in sea levels – just to name a few.  Is this a risk we are really willing to take? Tick tock.

The future of the planet seems to be just a game for the man who is supposed to be the leader of the free world. I have heard many people say that climate change is a problem, but they won’t personally be affected by it, and so it goes. But what about future generations? Are Americans so egocentric that we don’t care that the generation right behind us will be affected by the negative choices we make today? Are we OK that they will have to deal with it? I’m not. Tick tock.

Scientists are predicting the sixth mass-extinction. Species have disappeared and are endangered. Dead zones in the ocean are being created by fertilizer runoff leading to the inability for ocean life to exist. Our fresh water is threatened. UNESCO predicts a 40 percent global water deficit by 2030. Fire seasons are more severe and longer in duration. Deforestation continues as we are losing millions of hectares of forest land and the human population is soaring.

It is predicted that by 2050 there will be 10 billion people on this planet. We need brave leaders to start speaking about the realities of unchecked human population growth.

We have to demand that our elected officials act, and act swiftly.  We can no longer tolerate our elected officials speaking out against initiatives, as they did over Denver’s Green Roofs initiative, because it may be too costly to the development community.  (Despite the “official” opposition, Denver voters embraced the program last month.)

We can no longer tolerate our president lifting a ban on wildlife trophies – which also happened last month. We can no longer tolerate oil spills such as the Keystone pipeline leak of more than 210,000 gallons in South Dakota last month. We have to stand up and make our voices heard.

I fear that the clock is sitting at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and I am not sure I achieved all I set out to do.

Yet I have hope. This year my nieces sought out ways to help the less fortunate and have volunteered time at GPHC’s Thanksgiving Basket giveaway. My young nephews served food to the less fortunate among us on Thanksgiving morning. My niece reached out to me for help with her college composting project. Yep, I am a proud Auntie.

This year in just a few months time, GPHC achieved the designation of an Outstanding Sustainable Neighborhood.  We continue to serve families from our own community who are in need. We will continue to look for ways to expand programs that serve our community.

From a national level I see people taking to the streets to march against what they will no longer tolerate. I have more people asking me how they can help. Brilliant minds are working on innovative solutions.  I have faith that hardworking, well-intended people will come together to fix a globe in crisis.

We have to do this together. The clock is ticking.

Tracey MacDermott is chair of the board of Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. Active in the Registered Neighborhood Organization for many years, MacDermott was the 2012 recipient of the Dr. J. Carlton Babbs Award for Community Service. She was trained as a Climate Reality Leader in 2017.


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