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This May Be Our Last Chance

There is no doubt that the climate is in absolute peril and that we citizens are responsible for doing what we can to change this. But we cannot work alone. We must have thoughtful, enlightened leadership to pass supportive legislation requiring industry to do the same.

It can be daunting to try to find a way to participate in the solution. Of course there are so many ways we can each reduce our carbon footprint, but first we must make a commitment to do it, and then stick to our commitment. And then we must demand that our government does the same.

A new San Diego group is working to "create the political will for a sustainable climate." Citizens Climate Lobby is a local grass roots organization founded by Marshall Saunders. & After attending a meeting at the Coronado Public Library on Monday night, I realized, that for people like me, the best service they provide is researching the various legislation working its way though the House of Representatives and Senate. They then write powerful letters to the editor and schedule meetings with elected officials to encourage them to work aggressively for ratification of the bills. Currently, they are championing the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007-S. 2191.

At the very least, we must expect our elected officials to show up to vote. According to the League of Conservation Voters , Senator McCain missed every single conservation vote (13 in all) that the League felt were crucial to the environment. Senators Obama and Clinton had better voting records, (each have missed 4 of the key environmental votes), but they still have much room for improvement.

Thankfully, we still have Al. Former Vice President Al Gore , recently launched a three-year, $300 million campaign aimed at mobilizing Americans to push for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, a move that ranks as one of the most ambitious and costly public advocacy campaigns in U.S. history.

The next President-elect must use the office to provide immediate and continuing leadership to the nation and the world by making climate change a top priority of their administration. & They must go beyond the empty platitudes we have become accustomed to, by outlining a comprehensive early action program, which will be developed and launched within 150 days of assuming office.

And we must hold their feet to the fire to see that they do what they have promised.

-Citizen Voices blogger Candace Suerstedt is a filmmaker and a mother of three who lives in Coronado.

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