For Immediate Release          June 26, 2006

             By now we have all heard the solid proof of climate change, and the horrific danger that it presents not just to future generations, but to our own generation.  Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens said sea levels could rise 5-10 feet in the next 20 years.  I heard him say it myself at a meeting with the Inupiat people in the village of Kaktovik on Barter Island in the Arctic Ocean last August, where sea ice has retreated 300 miles in the last 20 years, and the once frozen island shoreline is crumbling into the rising sea.

            Reported tornadoes have increased seven fold in the last 55 years.  Six out of every seven tornadoes today can be considered caused by climate change, but where is this in the media?

            Al Gore said that hundreds of thousands of people have died already from climate change impacts, such as more severe hurricanes, floods and droughts, and a consensus of scientists agree.  New findings show that more than a hundred million people could die this century in Africa alone because of the impacts of human-caused global warming (also called climate change to better describe the wide-ranging impacts of the rising temperatures).

They also agree that it is primarily the burning of fossil fuels that is responsible, coal being by far the worst.  Globally, Ohio is in the very top of the per-capita contribution to global warming primarily because of our massive use of coal, and the gas-guzzling cars on our highways.  With four percent of the world’s population, we in the United States produce 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.  China , with one fifth of the world’s population produces 13 percent (not to belittle the need for action there with the rampant growth in the consumption of coal and oil).

The so-called “clean” coal technology is a globally destructive lie from the dying gasps of the soon-to-be-extinct coal industry.  There is no proven way to sequester greenhouse gas emissions.   Nature already did that in the form of coal, oil and natural gas: we just need to leave that stored carbon in place as it has been for hundreds of millions of years, and stop burning it.

We must switch to already proven renewable energy sources, and do it fast. We are running out of oil anyway, and we must reduce and ultimately stop burning coal as soon as possible.  It will not happen overnight, but it must happen, and we need an army of pioneers to campaign for action on all levels: from the personal to the local, regional, statewide, national and global.  Whatever your calling is, please join the campaign for our survival. 

            It is time for action.  We in Athens need to join the growing Cool Cities Campaign that is sweeping the nation with already more than 200 cities including Seattle , Chicago and Minneapolis joining in.  With our federal Republican leadership failing us, we need to take action on a local level, while continuing to demand action from the fossil-fuel industry bought-off Republican Congress and President.

            Please help in this critical struggle.  Join the Appalachian Sierra Club Thursday night at 7 p.m. with a viewing of Al Gore’s film an Inconvenient Truth at the Athena on Court Street in Athens .  Afterward we will go to have coffee and desert to discuss the movie, and how we can take action locally.

            Let Athens become a model city.  We already have three solar and wind companies and a plethora of individual renewable energy experts in the Athens area.  We need government assistance to massively implement the known solutions of solar and wind energy in our area, so we can do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This will position us to help lead the rest of the country to change, and change fast.

            The wonderful thing about solving global warming is it solves so many other problems.  As we switch to all solar, wind, efficiency and ecological bio-fuels, we end all coal mining and oil development and all the destruction, pollution and global instability that they cause.  Exponentially more people will be employed here at home in clean, permanent jobs to produce the clean energy.  We save hundreds of thousands of lives annually in America by stopping all the toxic pollution being caused by the burning, mining and drilling of these fossil fuels.

            And we create a stronger, sustainable economy.  Let’s do it Athens .


Chad Kister

P.O. Box 31 ; Athens, Ohio; 45701;  United States

740-707-4110  or 740-753-3888

Kister is the author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness Area and Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Areas, both published by Common Courage Press.  Kister is also the Producer of the 2006 film Caribou People.