There’s no denying that the fate of the our species and the planet we inhabit is unsure at best. While scientists and politicians continue the debate about whether or not we are in serious trouble or VERY serious trouble, the clock keeps ticking, and we have less and less time to come up with a solution.
Although at some points the outlook looks dire, 2009 has been a year of many changes, and there are several things that we can, and should, be thankful for.
1. Farmers’ Markets Are On The Rise
Many organizations have been working hard to raise awareness about the way food is produced. And slowly but surely, more people are realizing the negative environmental impact brought about by industrial farms, pesticides, and the carbon emissions associated with the distance that most food travels before it reaches our plates. Government reports show that “farming sector trends have favored the development of local farmers markets in every state to meet a growing demand for local farm produce.” Small family farms have resisted the pressure to consolidate into large factory farms, and now people can go online to find farmers’ markets and CSAs that supply local, organic, foods in their area.
2. Mountain Top Removal Mining Is Now A National Issue
The nation’s slow relization that coal is a inefficient, costly, dangerous form of fuel has created national awareness about a horrible form of environmental destruction, mountain top removal mining. At least in word, and in small forms of action, the Obama administration has admitted that this practice is devastating parts of the Appalachain Mountain Range, and the people that live in its communities. Although King Coal is still struggling against the change, protests have sprung up all around the country, and the EPA has pledged to slow the process of granting new mining licenses in order to take a closer look at the complications caused by this dying industry.
3. The U.S. Will Attend Copenhagen Climate Change Conference
Despite the hard work of big industry lobbyists and persistence of climate change deniers, leaders of many of the world’s largest and most powerful countries will meet in Copenhagen next month to discuss what needs to be done to curb the effects of our population boom on this planet. After months of speculation, President Obama announced on Wednesday that he would indeed be present to represent the United States at the conference.
Bloomberg.com reported that Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to tackle climate change aggressively, has been under pressure to attend the meeting amid criticism that the U.S., the biggest greenhouse-gas producer on a per-capita basis, is thwarting progress because of a lack of new national laws to limit heat-trapping pollution and create an emissions-trading market.
It would be unwise to assume that Copenhagen will solve all of the world’s environmental problems, or even begin to address them. But this conference legitimizes the issue for millions of people all over the world, and, hopefully, is the first major step toward joining together in international cooperation to correct the mistakes we’ve made in the past.
And that is something that we can all truly be thankful for.
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