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Support climate change legislation

For starters, I am most appreciative to our Congressman, Collin Peterson, for having supported HR 2454, the bill "to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy." Thank you!

That bill, in a few different forms, is now in the U. S. Senate, and may I express my wish that those in our community and across our country watch its progress, and contact our senators to urge helping it along to the passage of a strong climate change bill.

In August 2008, I was present to hear T. Boone Pickens, the oil tycoon, in Fargo. If we took no other information from his talk, he asked us to remember this: the U.S. is spending over $700 billion a year on oil. He said we could not afford that ongoing expense.

In USA Today on October 22, 2009, an article by Desmond Tutu predicted next must be a united global effort to turn the tide of climate change. Many scientists, he wrote, agree that 350 parts per million of heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the most we can have without causing climate havoc. That number is already 390 parts per million, which implies we need swifter political action than we have had up to this time.

The UN Climate Conference will be December in Copenhagen. As usual, the world looks to the United States as leader. Congress needs to act extremely expeditiously. Urge your senators to work speedily toward finalizing a bill.

Making the case to individuals to reclaim the health of our planet is difficult indeed. We have busy lives. By the time the day is over, so are we! We need moments to just renew ourselves! In the process, we don't see the big picture: the logging, the building, the bulldozing, the turfgrass, the sea of plastic trash, the manure, the plowing, the fertilizing, the sea of car impact land. If, by chance, we do catch a glimpse, we rarely relate it to our little postage stamp of property. It's the group effect that impacts our planet's health and from an individual's standpoint, we don't see it.

Look at the Red River Valley. One gentleman I heard speak told of growing up in Ohio, but determining to become a soil scientist in this area because the Red River Valley had some of the richest soil in the world. Look at how much can now be classified as a car impact zone with the usual entrapments, not to mention overworked soil and poor stewardship of the land.

I have a dear cousin who lives near Chesapeake Bay. The family has a lovely home in a cul de sac area. All of the homes, of course, are surrounded by turfgrass. My cousin and his wife both work in downtown Washington, D.C. They are busy people, with long commutes, and plenty of pressure on their jobs.

A speaker from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed spoke of its serious nutrient overload. (He was a presenter this September at the Land Conservation and Clean Water Summit at Minnesota's Landscape Arboretum.) My cousin's comment was, "They are not doing enough to clean up Chesapeake Bay." Yet, as one listened to this speaker, a major problem was the non-point pollution over wide areas of land -- land with primarily turfgrass and car impact zones. Fertilizers and runoff from nonpoint areas are difficult to measure. Our collective carbon footprint is harsh and destructive; we don't associate what we are doing on our property with water or land miles away. Our lifestyles keep us in denial.

Let's leave our progeny the very healthiest earth we can. Support climate change legislation by contacting your senators right now! -- Sally Hausken, Vice President, Izaak Walton League, Detroit Lakes