By Budd Titlow
Sun setting behind a giant salsify seed head.
As documenters of the world’s outdoor quality of life, all nature photographers need to be especially concerned about the rapidly advancing perils of climate change. In the overall history of human life here on Earth, we have never faced more broad-based and imminent environmental threats than those posed by climate change and global warming. On a geologic time scale, we are accelerating toward our own oblivion at laser-focused warp speed. Right now—every day—the world is adding another spike of atmospheric pollution to the shroud that may eventually doom our own species to extinction.
Climate change is not something that might become a problem in the future—maybe by 2030 or 2050 or 2100. It is a problem right now, getting worse every day that we sit by and pretend that it is not really happening.
But here is the good news. Climate change does not have to remain a problem. In fact, if we focus and work together, climate change can be well on its way toward full resolution within as little as fifteen years—maybe even sooner.
If we play our cards right, we can use the perpetual, inextinguishable energy of Earth—the sun’s glorious rays, the wind’s constant breezes, and the water’s endless waves—to work for us all. And, in the process, we’ll leave the polluting fossil fuels right where they belong—buried in the ground, never to see the light of day.
Think about it: Renewable energy here on Earth is abundant and omnipresent. Each time you go outside, you see and feel it everywhere. It’s like an endless symphony written by a master composer and played by a world-class orchestra. The golden rays of streaming sunlight are the strings—always there, maintaining the basic rhythm of the interwoven movements. The wind provides the percussion—rising from gentle whispering breezes of the snare drum to bold resounding gusts of the tympani. Then moving water blends in with the woodwinds and the brass—transitioning from gently lapping melodic notes of the flute to lazy ripples of an oboe’s dulcet tones and concluding with rolling waves of trumpet blasts.
We are right on the cusp of what we can call the “Renewable Revolution,” providing a mighty parallel to the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution resulted in the transformation of our nation from a rural agrarian society to an urban, manufacturing society. Now we are about to totally transform ourselves again, from a hard-edged, fossil-fuel driven economy to a softer-sided renewable energy world community.
The transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy is already possible. The Solutions Project (www.thesolutionsproject.org) lays out plans for converting each of our states—plus many countries—from fossil fuels to renewable resources. And we can accomplish this at the same time as we create numerous new industries in the wind, water, and solar power sector.
Along with this industrial boom will come millions of new jobs, leading to increased financial security for everyone. Now that’s a win-win scenario we can all live with. Our children, grandchildren, and all future generations will look back and be forever grateful to us for being proactive and resolving the climate-change dilemma.
Text is excerpted from a book by Budd Titlow and Mariah Tinger entitled PROTECTING THE PLANET: Environmental Champions from Conservation to Climate Change— ISBN 978-1633882256—published by Prometheus Books.
Photo caption & credit: Sun setting behind a giant salsify seed head. Copyright Budd Titlow, NATUREGRAPHS.
Author’s bio: For the past 50 years, professional ecologist and conservationist Budd Titlow has used his pen and camera to capture the awe and wonders of our natural world. His goal has always been to inspire others to both appreciate and enjoy what he sees. Now he has one main question: Can we save humankind’s place — within nature’s beauty — before it’s too late? Budd’s two latest books are dedicated to answering this perplexing dilemma. PROTECTING THE PLANET: Environmental Champions from Conservation to Climate Change, a non-fiction book, examines whether we still have the environmental heroes among us — harking back to such past heroes as Audubon, Hemenway, Muir, Douglas, Leopold, Brower, Carson, and Meadows — needed to accomplish this goal. Next, using fact-filled and entertaining story-telling, his latest book — COMING FULL CIRCLE: A Sweeping Saga of Conservation Stewardship Across America — provides the answers we all seek and need.Having published five books, more than 500 photo-essays, and 5,000 photographs, Budd Titlow lives with his music educator wife, Debby, in San Diego, California.