Monday, Oct 24, 2016
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Iowa senator: Urgent action needed to save environment

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The question asked Thursday during a conversation with Iowa State Sen. Rob Hogg was, “Is America ready for climate action?”

If it’s not, it should be, was the answer. The need is urgent, Senator Hogg said. Act now. Speak up, get involved. Make a change, make a difference.

The University of Toledo hosted the climate-change session, attended by about 20 people. Senator Hogg also has speaking engagements in the coming days in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.

Senator Hogg of Cedar Rapids is the author of America's Climate Century: What Climate Change Means for America in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do About It. In his book, he states that “With climate change, the well being of civilization is in grave jeopardy.”

He refers to climate change as a threat multiplier, threatening national security, and ultimately, human civilization. “Science tells us it is going to get worse,” he said, adding that Toledo’s recent water crisis “is one of those problems made worse by climate change.” He suggests prairie buffers, cover crops, tillage reduction, wetland restoration, and other such steps to invest, and protect, natural resources such as lakes and rivers.

The crisis of climate change is huge, complex, complicated. But, Senator Hogg said, Americans have faced worse, and Americans have sacrificed more, and in the end, America has prevailed. He encouraged America to be the leader for climate action, a move that would benefit the economy as well as the climate.

As a home-front example of climate change, Senator Hogg described the horrific flood that hit Cedar Rapids after rainfall of 15 inches drenched the city in June, 2008, flooding thousands of homes, businesses, churches, and other buildings.

“We’ve got to get going. We need the government at all levels to say this is how we deal with it,” such as with solid plans for solar and wind power, for energy efficiency, for improvements of transportation.

His appearance on the UT campus was hosted by the University of Toledo SEED Initiative that focuses on Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design to ensure the university is operating in a manner that betters its neighbors, economy, and planet.

Melissa Greene, sustainability conservationist for the Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District, asked how to make the climate change tangible to area residents who are seeing the heavy rain, the runoff problems, and the algae bloom.

“You just did it,” Mr. Hogg told her.

Gerald Mohney of Maumee said much finger- pointing is going on to blame farmers for water-related issues. But, he admitted that he is part of the problem because he puts fertilizer on his lawn, and during downpours fertilizer runs down the street and eventually into Lake Erie. He suggested area residents plant native grasses that don’t need fertilizer applications. He would like to see laws that forbid massive lawns that contribute to water pollution.

Senator Hogg responded by saying nobody gets a free pass, but we must move beyond blame to real change.

And he has a message too for folks who whine about those curlicued light bulbs: get over it. It’s about protecting the planet, not about the shape of a light bulb.

Contact Janet Romaker at: jromaker@theblade or 419-724-6006.

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