"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today." I came across this African proverb recently and it struck a cord with me. It is becoming clearer every day that we should have heeded the warnings of climate scientists 20 years ago when evidence was less compelling and predictions less dire. However, it is not too late to plant that tree and make significant changes in the amount of carbon we release.
On Jan. 31, our valley will be participating in a nationwide teach-in called "Focus the Nation," an effort to stimulate dialogue and action on climate change. It is a chance for all of us to engage our children, friends, neighbors, colleagues and political leaders in this pressing issue. To quote Herb Brooks, "Great moments are born from great opportunities." This day is an opportunity for us to show leadership; whether it is a great moment depends on how we respond. It is time to go beyond changing light bulbs and figure out how our valley can take significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint.
Not a day goes by that I don't hope the scientists are wrong. However, as glaciers continue to melt, forest fires rage, and snow comes later and melts earlier, it becomes harder and harder to doubt and ignore the significance and severity of the threat. It seems irresponsible to our children, grandchildren and to the people all over the world to continue along as usual and hope for the best.
Visit focusthenation.org and stay tuned to find out more about how our valley is participating in this event. Get your shovels ready; it's time to get serious about tree planting.