Tell the Obama Administration to Stand Strong on Clean Water
In the spring, the Obama administration released a national Clean Water Framework to demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams for clean water and public health. To solidify this commitment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers released draft guidance to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act. This draft guidance restores protections to the small streams and wetlands that form our mighty rivers that have been put into question by two Supreme Court decisions by providing a consistent approach to determine what waters are protected from pollution and destruction under the Clean Water Act.
Here’s What You Can Do Right Now
Today, as protections for our rivers, lakes and streams are under attack in Congress, it is more important than ever to let the Obama administration know that you support clean water protections to keep your local waters safe enough to get your drinking water from and clean enough to fish and swim in. Tell @WhiteHouse to stand strong for clean water and to move forward to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act.
Here are the people who need to hear from you:
- White House Administration or @WhiteHouse
- Environmental Protection Division or @EPAgov
- Lisa Jackson EPA Administrator or @LisaPJackson
- US Army Corps of Engineers or @USACE_HQ
Go to their Facebook page to post a message on their wall. Customize your message to them. Tell them why it’s important to you that they protect your clean water. Note—your comments may not be publicly displayed on their Facebook page, depending upon the privacy settings they put on it.
Here are some sample posts you can use:
- Restoring protections for our rivers, lakes and streams by clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act is critical to the health of our nation’s rivers and the protection of our safe, clean drinking water supplies.
- Since the Clean Water Act went into effect nearly 40 years ago, the number of waters that are safe for swimming and fishing has doubled. Thanks for your commitment to restoring clean water protections.
- Protections for our rivers, lakes and streams are under attack in Congress. Stand strong for clean water.
- Clean water is the foundation of healthy communities and a healthy environment. Stand strong on clean water protections.
- Protect drinking water sources for 117 million Americans and stand strong on efforts to restore protections for small streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
- Our waters should be safe enough for swimming and fishing and safe enough to get our drinking water supplies from. Stand strong on clean water and move forward with efforts to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act.
Click the links to tweet the White House and the EPA. Customize your message to them and tell them why it’s important to you that they protect your clean water.
- Clean water is a vital natural resource we need support #ProtectCleanWater http://nyti.ms/sNmzyW
- 117 million Americans whose drinking water is at risk are counting on @WhiteHouse & @EPAgov fight to #ProtectCleanWater
- Clean water is a vital natural resource we need @WhiteHouse @EPAgov to #ProtectCleanWater http://nyti.ms/rCotHy
- Clean water is the foundation of healthy communities & a healthy environment. @WhiteHouse & @EPAgov #ProtectCleanWater
- #CleanWaterAct is under assault from the biggest polluters around. @WhiteHouse, we’re with you to #ProtectCleanWater
- Big #Coal would rather not #ProtectCleanWater. Show the @WhiteHouse you care about clean drinking water for ALL. Pls RT!
- For nearly 40 years, @EPAgov has worked to restore and #ProtectCleanWater. Let’s keep it that way!
- Those who enjoy the Nation’s waters for recreation, fishing or hunting understand the value to #ProtectCleanWater
Help spread the word by sharing on Twitter and Facebook to protect your right to clean water today.
For more information, click here.
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The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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