What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions

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Get It Done! (Another Climate Failure in Durban)


Despite this rousing speech by youth delegate Anjali Appadurai, the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, have once again ended without any agreement to lower carbon emissions, essentially damning the world to catastrophe.


Are you okay with this?



I’m not. The time for action is now. Well, really, the time for action was decades ago, but scientists say we now have a five-year window, AT MOST, in which to turn this doomsday machine around, after which climate change will be irreversible and the planet will become unrecognizable and unlivable. The primary obstacle to action is the inertia caused by the confusion, thanks to denialist propaganda funded by the fossil-fuel industry and promulgated by their corporate media outlets, regarding the reality of climate change. This has created the lack of political will we see evidenced every time the UN meets to confront carbon emissions. We need to get it done. This is not a political issue; this is an issue of survival. Conservative or liberal will mean nothing when the water rises at the coast and refuses to fall from the sky on former breadbaskets. Those who oppose action on carbon emissions stand on the wrong side of history. In the end I suppose that won’t matter. No one will be around to write it.

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Comment to the NY DEC Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (September 2009)

I’m writing as a concerned citizen of Tompkins County. Whether or not my voice carries any weight compared to the corporate profits of the “persons” who have pushed to be allowed to carry on this dangerous process (hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale) is doubtful, which is a shame and a commentary on the level of corruption evident in the approval process thus far.

This extractive process, using dangerous chemicals and water that would be better used for drinking and agriculture, puts at risk the health of everyone here by contaminating our drinking water with chemicals known to cause nerve damage and cancer. Even if none of the wells experienced a leak (hardly likely), the fluid would so tax our water treatment plants that contamination would be unavoidable. It also threatens to disrupt the relatively healthy existing local economy, which is based on organic dairy farms, vineyards, and the many small farms that feed us, as well as the tourism attracted to the bucolic surroundings and good, healthful cuisine in our many locavore restaurants. Our roads will also be over taxed by heavy trucks hauling hazardous chemicals. It is all around a very bad idea that will benefit only the few who will profit. Everyone else will suffer. It is a glaring example of the corruption of our society by corporations that put their profits above the welfare of human beings. New York State is collaborating with these corporations instead of protecting its human citizens. If our government refuses to protect its citizens, it should not be surprised if some of them use a diversity of tactics to frustrate the fossil-fuel industry’s ability to operate here. I would hate to see anyone harmed by such tactics, but I would also hate to see children suffer cancer because our government failed to protect them from gas drilling and its affects on human health.

We moved to New York from Shreveport, Louisiana, where we witnessed a disturbingly high cancer rate, with victims among our friends. We discovered afterward that the area we left had been contaminated by this same process decades before. We chose this area because we wanted our children to be able to grow their bodies in a relatively healthful environment. I implore the Department of Environmental Conservation to rethink its collaboration with the fossil fuel industry and stand instead with the citizens of Tompkins County.