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Environment must still be considered going forward

Tired of hearing about climate change yet? Many people believe a lot more needs to be said.

Noted climate activist Dr. David Suzuki spoke at the Nov. 7 celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Superior Watershed Partnership, which has been at the forefront of many climate-related activities in the region.

Suzuki said the human race is at “an unprecedented moment” — in the 3.8 billion years life has existed on Earth, he said there never has been a single species with the power to alter the chemical, physical and biological properties of the planet as humans now are doing.

Over the centuries, he noted, cities formed and technology developed, among other changes, all with the “unending drive” toward growth, production and consumption.

Lost in all this was a long-term emphasis on the environment.

And as Suzuki pointed out, nothing in a finite world can grow forever.

The IPCC said its report has indicated that strongly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and carefully managing the use of natural resources would make it possible to preserve the ocean and cryosphere — the planet’s frozen parts — as a source of opportunities.

These opportunities would support adaptation to future changes, limit risks to livelihoods and offer other benefits to society.

Is Marquette County part of the cryosphere? It might seem that way at times, but either way, the region is a part of the planet.

However, local efforts have targeted climate change.

The SWP was integral in forming the Marquette County Climate Adaptation Task Force, a regional climate task force that includes the city of Marquette, Marquette County, local businesses and Northern Michigan University representatives.

The SWP works with coastal communities across the Upper Peninsula on Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron to plan and implement small- and large-scale climate adaptation and mitigation projects.

These, it is hoped, will protect critical infrastructure and increase the resiliency of the shoreline to withstand more frequent and intense storms.

Is climate change real? Some people might argue it’s a hoax, that it’s a natural process that has occurred over the eons.

Others would argue humans are accelerating the process by relying too much on the burning of fossil fuels and cutting down forests, among other destructive activities.

Regardless of whether climate change is real, people — individuals and communities — need to keep the environment in mind when making personal choices and public policy. Contamination, loss of habitat and other kinds of damage to the environment isn’t good for the planet and the people who live on it.

So, let’s keep the discussion going.