“I Want The Oil”

 “I’m looking to take the oil. I want to take the oil. I want the oil.

We have to stop the source of money, and the source of money is oil”.

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

This morning, as I watched some of the national news Sunday morning political talk shows, one featured a phone interview with businessman and Republican candidate Donald Trump. When he was asked about the Middle East and the ISIS terrorism group he suggested that ending the flow of money that ISIS receivces from its loyalists from their lucrative oil businesses was his goal.

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“I’m looking to take the oil. I want to take the oil. I want the oil,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week” television show. He continued by saying “we have to stop the source of money, and the source of money is oil.”

While I understand the sentiment about stopping the money that finances terrorists, I would like to see Mr. Trump and all of the candidates from both parties take his thinking at least one step further by ending reliance on fossil fuels in America. How about we, as a nation, come together and create solututions that end our reliance on fossil fuel based oil once and for all? I beleive that the candidates that make that their goal would have support from many Americans in next year’s Presidential election. Let’s not focus on ‘taking’ anyone’s oil and, instead, on how we can forever end reliance on fossil fuel based energy sources.

As I’ve said it before, I’m only sixteen and, as of yet, have no political affiliation. I am not republican or democrat. Heck, I’m not even old enough to vote! However, this is ridiculous. Our country’s dependence on foreign oil and its usage is causing our coastal states to essentially sink as the waters rise. The fact that many politicians in leadership positions are denying this and pandering to oil industry related special interests is appalling. Before we know it, many Floridians will become Georgians once our region is under water.

The good news is that people are starting to pay real attention. People are starting to ask hard questions and demand real answers. The science, of course, is indisputable. Consider that, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, since 1854 12.5% of all industrial carbon pollution has been produced by just five businesses (you guessed it, all oil companies);

oil company warmingAnd if that’s not bad enough, consider that 48% of all carbon on our planet is produced by just 20 entities. 15 of those 20 are oil companies, and the top five are the same as in the infographic above: Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimate that 63% of all industrial carbon and methane in our atmosphere since 1854 comes, globally, from just 90 entities.Industrial Carbon Producers

In 1963 then President John F. Kennedy challanged our country to send men to the moon by the end of that decade and within seven years, against all odds, the United States did exactly that and, in the process, changed the world. While candidates are looking to gain our attention and become the next President, I’d like to hear them talk about ending reliance on fossil fuels and bringing our Country together to create a solution for the world that will, again, change it for the better.

We need to stop the political rehtoric, stop allowing politicians from protecting special interests linked to the oil industry and begin focusing on ways to dramatically lower man made carbon emissions before its too late. We need to hear about specific plans to end reliance on fossil fuels and in doing so will not need to ‘take’ it as Mr. Trump suggested. If there is no demand then, it seems to me, that would solve two important problems.

My idea is to demand solutuions, yet also mandate that jobs here in America are protected, that no one loses their job. In fact, let’s mandate that solutions must be found, that reliance on fossil fuels must soon end (how about a goal to end it within 10 years?) and that those whose jobs would otherwise be impacted must stay employed, all-be-it in new energy roles and ways.

While I can’t yet vote for what I ‘want’, and hope many people who can vote desire, we need someone who will call for an end to our reliance on fossil fuels and, instead, demand new solutions. Someone who might say something along the lines of what’s at the bottom of this page as much, or more, than at the top;

 I’m looking to take the United States in a new direction, away

from its reliance on oil.  I want to take a new appropach to the oil.

I want our Country to end its reliance on the oil.

We have to stop the source of money, and the source of

money is oil, by creating new solutions to our energy needs.

New solutuons. Aggressive goals. That’s what we all need to hear about, support and demand of our leaders. The sooner, the better.

 

 

The Seas Are Rising And So Are We!

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As I walked across the street from a parking garage to a lush park in downtown Miami I was overcome with joy at what I saw. An amazing sight of colors and sounds that leads me to know that South Florida cares. More people than I’ve ever seen together in one place, at one time, with the common goal of attacking the serious issues of climate change and sea level rise.

As I wrote last month, it is my belief that the recent budget hearings for Miami-Dade County marked a turning point in our community because of the diversity of citizens who appeared before the Commission demanding that our local governement take action to combat sea level rise. But that turnout was nothing compared to the People’s Climate Movement March that took place last week here in downtown Miami. Over 1,000 people from all over South Florida, young and old and of every color and culture our incredible community enjoys marched together on the night of October 14th on the streets demanding change. And I was proud to be with them.

The night was inspiring and also a whole lot of fun. People chanted for ‘Climate Justice‘, a phrase I’d not heard of before but one that most certainly illustrates that people of all sorts of social backgrounds are being impacted by climate change and that if we do not act, many will be displaced.

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We also chanted that ‘the seas are rising and so are we‘ and the governement could not have helped hearing us because the rally that proceeded the March took place in the park adjacent to the Miami-Dade Government Center building. County leaders including Commissioner Daniella Cava, Chief of MiamiDade County’s Office of Sustainability Nicole Hefty, and the Mayor’s very recently appointed James Murley, Miami Dade’s first ever Chief Resilience Officer, amongst others saw the park overflowing with people demanding change and could clearly hear speaker after speaker asking for solutions. Signs and banners and even costumes helped drive home the point that people want change and we want it to start NOW.

I’ve never walked in a March before, but I must say that it was inspiring. Inspiring to see policitcal leaders from all over our community (Pinecrest’s Mayor Lerner was there, so too, was my friend and South Miami Mayor, Dr. Stoddard), renewoned scientists, business owners, educators, doctors, artists, activists, lawyers, musicians, farmers and farm workers, as well as children of all ages from all over the region came together for a common cause and concern.

It was also inspiring because of the energy that we, together, produced. Energy that I am now certain will result in change. Energy that represents votes and voices that will demand being heard and helped. The issue of climate change, and especially sea level rise in our community, can no longer be overlooked. The future of our community and our environment are at risk, but so too are political leaders who do not take the concerns of people, concerns based on extensive science, to heart.

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To read an article from the Miami Herald on the March, please click here! To read a recent editorial about the March by my friend and mentor, the ever so encouraging and inspiring Caroline Lewis, founder of The CLEO Institute, please click here! On a personal note I want to share that from the look on her face, the happy tears in her eyes, that Caroline, a woman long on the often lonely front lines of our region’s sea level discussion, could also sense that things are changing for the better. She’d be the first to say that we have a long way to go, but that the March was a vivid sign of progress. On behalf of all of us here in South Florida, most certainly the youth that she so eagerly leads as an educator, thank you Caroline for your constant inspiration.

To all of those who marched with me last week, thank you. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for your energy. Thank you for giving so many so much hope that, together, we can address sea level rise and, in doing so, protect our environment, economy, lifestyle and each other. There is much work ahead and most of the decisions will be costly ones, but I am confident that we can mitigate this problem while our world seeks solutions to end our dependency on fossil fuels. March on South Florida and, remember, The Seas Are Rising And So Are We’.

St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School & The Sink or Swim Project

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Way to Go St. Thomas TIGERS!

I recently had the great pleasure of presenting The Sink or Swim Project to the third grade students at St. Thomas  Episcopal Parish School here in South-Miami Dade County and was so very impressed with the students and their questions. Thanks ever so much to Ms. O’Connor, Associate Head of School, as well as the school’s fabulous teachers including Ms. Timpone, Ms. Ramey, Ms. Olivella, Ms. Lobo, Mr. Southard, and Mr. Mederos.

During our time together the students enjoyed learning about global warming and especially sea level rise. The children were highly engaged and had dozens of questions about what is happening and why, as well as what we can do to solve this growing crisis. Although the 60 or so students in attendance was one of the youngest groups I’ve spoken to it was clear that they understand a great deal about global warming and are concerned about how they will help solve the problem once they inherit it as adults.

Here are some pictures of my time at St. Thomas:

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Great job Tigers! Keep learning about science including the science of global warming and sea level rise!

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