Climate Change: First They Came For…

First they came for the Arctic sea ice, and I did not speak out—even though its volume is two thirds what it was thirty years ago.

Then they came for our mountain glaciersKilimanjaro, Glacier National Park, the Andes, and Himalayas—and still I didn’t speak out. My water supplies were not threatened.

They thawed the permafrost and continental shelves even though these areas could release planet altering greenhouse gases. Still I remained silent.

Then they came after the coral reefs, crustaceans and other ocean life with rates of warming and acidification we have not seen for millions of years. Even though our oceans are being devastated, I did not speak out.

Then they came after our winters, but I enjoyed the earlier springs, so I did not speak out.

Then they came for the boreal forests of North America with bark beetles and wildfires. They ravaged our tropical forests, the lungs of our planet and home to most of its species. I love and need trees, still I did not speak out.

Then they came for our coastlines, slowly, inch by inch. It adds up over the years, but like the fool on the hill I kept perfectly still.

Then they came after our wheat, corn and livestock in the record 2012 US drought and 2011 floods. Even when heat waves decimated grain harvests in Russia and China, my supermarket shelves remained full. I had no reason to speak out.

I did not speak out when thousands of species I’d never heard of began moving and vanishing each year, even though the rate of extinction could surpass anything we’d experienced in fifty million years.

Then they despoiled our gulf, farmlands and communities with drilling rigs and pipeline spills, fracking and mountain top removals, and dangerous storage ponds of toxic wastewater. It wasn’t happening in my neighborhood so I kept quiet.

They hijacked our water supplies to operate their nuclear and coal plants—for fracking and tarsand production. Even though a warmer planet will mean severe water shortages for hundreds of millions of people, I did not speak out.

When they came after the tribal lands of our Native Americans with their uranium and coalmining, I was speechless.

They’ve been coming after our governments for decades, manipulating politicians across the US and in other countries with money, lobbying firms and “grassroots” movements so our leaders won’t speak out.

Now they’re coming after our minds, distorting and reducing the amount of science in the news, even in our children’s schools and continue to attack climate scientists and their credibility to keep them from speaking out.

They’ve rebranded and treated those who did speak out as “terrorists” and I had good reason to be afraid of speaking out.

They continue to stall and undermine international negotiations and agreements, hoping that even if we speak out it won’t make a difference.

Now what they’ve done is threatening the habitability of the planet for our children and grandchildren. We must speak out for their sake while there is still time.