Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n23)
Step It Up rally focuses on Global Warming issues - By Ashley Plummer
posted: Nov. 16, 2007
Broad Ripple Park turned a shade greener on November 3, 2007, when residents from all over the Indianapolis area gathered for the National Step It Up rally, a day focused on understanding the effects of Global Warming.
Organizers and featured speakers alike were on hand with numerous brochures and words explaining to event-goers how hoosiers could help save energy and the Earth by taking small measures in their daily lives and acting upon larger measures through their local and national political representatives.
"Our overall goal is to reduce Carbon by 80 percent by the year 2050," Allen McClenden, Broad Ripple Park manager and emcee for the day said. "The carbon in our air that we breathe on a daily basis is one of the key components of global warming."
The short answer to the question of global warming was given on one of the brochures handed out at the rally:
Under natural circumstances the atmosphere lets in rays of sunshine that warm the Earth's surface. The planet keeps cool by emitting heat back into space in the form of infrared radiation. The atmosphere then acts like a greenhouse, trapping some of the infrared radiation and keeping Earth within a range of livable temperatures.
However, human activity has led to an unnatural situation-global warming-where, as the result of heat trapping gasses (such as carbon dioxide), the atmosphere's "greenhouse" effect is trapping even more infrared radiation. This is what is causing the planet's temperature to rise.
These heat trapping gasses are the result of burning fossil fuels, which happens whenever we run our cars, factories, power plants, etc.
"We do know that the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are higher than they have ever been in the past million years or more," Dr. Kevin Gurney, assistant professor in earth & atmospheric science/agronomy at Purdue University said.
Dr. Gurney is also the associate director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He continued by explaining why it is now impossible to be skeptical of the theory of global warming.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Kevin Gurney gave listeners good news and bad news about the future of global warming.
"The sea level has risen, and a component of this rise is a warmer ocean," he said. "Eleven of the past 12 years rank as the 11 highest on record, records that have been kept since the 13th century. Satellites show that the Arctic ice during the summers melts by 20 percent more than it did before.
"The truth is that some amount of adaptation to these changes will be inevitable," he said. "The good news is that the future in many ways is still ours to create. . . We actually have the power and we have the choice to make these changes."
Changes, he explained, include replacing old light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, replacing older appliances with Energy Star appliances, reusing and recycling, buying local produce and products and adjusting your thermostat-up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter.
After Dr. Gurney spoke, Rev. Dr. Keith Adkins spoke on the subject matter as well by presenting the "Ten Commandments of Global Warming" to the audience.
"The first commandment is 'you shall not be in denial,'" he said. "Many people to this day still believe that global warming is not cause by humans, but 80 percent of global warming is by us burning fossil fuel."
The Rev. Adkins is the senior pastor of the Church of the Savior United Methodist Church. To hear more from him, or to have all 10 of the Global Warming Commandments explained in full, check out www.interfaithindy.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be well worth your while.
Numerous other speakers took the podium that day and continued to stress the need to make life changes that will benefit our environment.
Debbie Spratt, a business owner, mother and one of the main organizers of the event in Indianapolis noted that she was so happy that so many people came out.
"My husband was trained on the climate project, so we have become very involved in taking care of our environment and the world around us," she said. "We have had so much support this year from a variety of environmental organizations and we are basically just concerned citizens ourselves."
Rally-goers were asked to contact their Federal Senators and Representatives to ask them to support a Federal Renewable Energy Standard of 20 percent by 2020 (see inset box).
Step It Up Day was an event that had national focus. Rallies such as the one in Broad Ripple Park were taking place all over the US on the same day. Lucky for Broad Ripple, the rally was close to the home that people are working extremely hard to save.