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Rick Edmund
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Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund is a United Methodist church pastor in Maryland. He resides on Smith Island, which has been impacted by rising sea-level and in 2007 testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment about climate change and the Chesapeake Bay. ALL POSTS

Why Are We Going to Copenhagen?

The main challenge for America as we approach this new opportunity to work with other nations concerning climate change is to determine our purpose for being there. Are we going to Copenhagen to protect our financial stake in the global market? Are we going to try to persuade developing countries to join in before they can establish themselves with lifestyles we already enjoy? Or are we going because not interfering in the world's climate is the right course to chart?

My grandchildren's grandchildren will be born in the middle of this century, which is the time frame in which many of today's emission reduction goals are being set. What will that generation of children think as they grow up and read about what we did, or didn't do, at the beginning of the century knowing that almost certainly humans are affecting climate on a global basis?

On a kayak trip I took down the Susquehanna River, a Pennsylvania resident asked me if the folks in the Chesapeake Bay were mad at those upstream who had polluted the river, and therefore the bay, with chemicals, silt, nutrients, etc. The question made me wonder if those who live downstream from us in time will question our short term motives in responding to indications that humans are behind glaciers melting and other indications of climate change.

Some Native American tribes, like the Iroquois, had a tradition of asking themselves what would be the results of their actions seven generations in the future. We would do well in our modern society to model that foresight. The key challenge for the United States is to determine whether or not we want to establish the moral high ground in trying to stem the effects of human generated pollutants that will alter our climate.

By Rick Edmund  |  October 5, 2009; 8:41 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg     Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Its a cash grab, its all bunk. theres no truth to global warming, so now its climate change.Its a joke, want to stop it? Stop having babies, population explosion in developing countries is 10x more harmful, anybody bring up contraception? Cap and trade is a scam as is most of the science around this. Solve the things that are a real threat, global overfishing depleting stocks and interrupting the ocean food chains and giving clean water for all.

Posted by: marrapz1 | October 6, 2009 2:35 PM
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I agree with Pastor Edmunds. Climate change is an ethical issue. Other panelists who focus on what climate change bill will get Congressional approval are taking a narrow view. If the health care reform "debate" is any example, no meaningful climate change bill will pass. Shifting from cap-and-trade to a carbon tax approach won't help. The Green Tea Baggers are poised to enter the global warming "debate."

Posted by: KenBryson | October 6, 2009 11:23 AM
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Obviously Cummije5 missed every history lesson in school (if he or she even attended school - which from the comment, I doubt) about lessons we could learn from Native Americans. People living in poverty and dealing with issues like alcoholism in the US today come in ALL RACES, not just Native American. And calling a group of people "losers" based on your simple minded based on your limited knowledge of history is pathetic at best. You should be ashamed of yourself Cummije5. And by the way, only 2% of our nations population are enjoying that "kings" standard of living you mentioned, the other 98% are not - check your facts.
Excellent article Pastor Rick. We DO need to be thinking of the future generations and what they will and will not be inheriting based on the actions we take today to protect our environment today.

Posted by: DrK5 | October 6, 2009 8:55 AM
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The supposedly wise Iroquois, at least those that are left, are living in poverty and dealing with issues like alcholism. The supposedly short sighted capatilists are enjoying a standard of living that kings could only dream about 100 years ago. Why would you want to emulate the losers?

Posted by: cummije5 | October 5, 2009 8:48 PM
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