Commentary

Diversity is Strength

Members of the ACES Leadership Team
Published on
July 5, 2024
Contributors
Allies and Partners
The Daily News of Newburyport

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of educational columns about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July weekend and mark the beginning of summer 2024, let’s include a celebration of Mother Nature and the blessings of our land, waters and fellow species. Healthy ecosystems are those with the most biodiversity where different plants and animals live together, sometimes competing, sometimes collaborating, but developing a balance for the good of the overall community.

As we begin our 248th year of our independence from the British king it might be well to reflect on the diversity of opinion and dynamic social interaction that culminated in our independence. There were firebrands like Sam Adams, and his intellectual cousin John Adams. Unlike today, there were aristocrats like Jefferson who helped keep things together with different motivations and backgrounds but with a sense that “something had to be done” together.

ACES believes it will take all of us working together to grapple with the climate crisis and to learn how to live sustainably. This will mean sometimes suspending our long-held opinions and really seeking information and insights from each other. We need to agree on the facts and put those facts in context with statistical realism. In a concrete way that means prioritizing the threats to our local environment and taking steps to protect ourselves.

We live in a shared space in New England and our lands, and our waters are facing threats from climate change. Recently, we had a tornado in Dublin NH, a March a high tide crested the walls at Hampton Beach, and Fitchburg, MA had dramatic flash flooding and loss of property. Whether one thinks it is ‘just weather’ or a systematically changing climate it still is a bad thing. We need to mitigate ‘bad things’ – together.  

Experts agree on the big picture of what must be done to not make it worse. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases whether from burning fossil fuels in cars or power plants, or raising livestock and other farming practices. Meanwhile we must protect ourselves with insurance on our properties even as insurance companies raise their rates because they are no doubt based on actuarial knowledge that climate has changed for the worse. We need to take steps as a society -- locally and individually -- to begin to turn down the heat.

In this hyper partisan political season, we can still make progress together on climate. Whether your business is affected by potential regulations and changes, or you have a family facing higher costs for your homeowner’s insurance, we need to work towards protecting ourselves from sea level rise, giant storms, and the global warming that drives it.

The Earth is like a boat, and we’re all on it. As Woody Guthrie sang in the 1940’s “This land is your land, this land is my land." [see YouTube for his recorded performance] So join ACES and all of our local Allies and communities on helping to bail out our planet, patch it, and sail it towards calmer waters by 2050. And have a happy July 4th, 2024 weekend.

ACES and its Youth Corps invite you to stay updated on environmental matters by subscribing to our monthly newsletter via the “Join Our List” link on this page. Please consider joining our community of stewards who are committed to Make Every Day Earth Day by contacting acesnewburyport@gmail.com. We can make a big difference together.

This educational column first appeared in The Daily News of Newburyport on July 5, 2024.

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