Imagine you’re at the beach enjoying the surf with your kids when you suddenly find yourselves caught in a powerful rip current. You’re all being carried away from shore and you know you won’t survive staying on your present course. You urgently need to change direction. It’s difficult and challenging, but you pull yourself and your children from the current, change your direction and bring them back to safety. It’s what any parent would do.
Climate change has us in its own rip current right now. It’s clear that we can’t stay on our present course and still give our children the kind of world they deserve. At present, their health is disproportionately threatened. The outlook for their future should motivate us to work toward a safer, sustainable world in which to raise their children.
How can we change course to give our children a healthier world? In his recent column (”Give up the lawn, plant trees, spare your kids a living hell,” Aug. 17), Dan Rodricks suggests several actions we can take in our homes and our communities. Planting trees in our yards provides shade and cooling as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Supporting organizations that plant trees on a larger scale including forests damaged by wildfires and severe weather is another way to restore the benefits that trees provide to our environment.
According to 2020 figures, Baltimore Gas and Electric sourced almost 60% of its electricity from burning coal and natural gas, but less than 4% from wind and solar power. Until those proportions are reversed, it is critically important to look for ways to reduce electricity usage. Switching to LED bulbs, moving the thermostat up a few degrees in summer, unplugging electronic devices and turning off lights and appliances that are not in use are just a few ways to be more energy-efficient at home. Installing home solar panels will reduce your family’s carbon dioxide production, but larger scale changes in energy production will be needed to have the necessary global impact in slowing climate change.
Mr. Rodricks writes that “the parental instinct is still strong…let it power you into action.” Let your local, state, and congressional representatives know how strongly you support policies and measures that address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Let them know the urgency and importance of changing our present course for the sake of our children. It’s what any parent would do.
Michael Ichniowski, M.D., Lutherville
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