TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Climate change rallies were held Sunday in nearly 200 countries around the world including one in Tampa. Around 100 activists joined together from a number of area environmental groups. They took to the streets to share a common message.
Andrew Rock, from the Tampa Bay Climate Action Network said, “Climate change is happening, it will happen, but how it happens is up to us.”
The rally was held ahead of the historic U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. More than 140 world leaders are gathering in Paris for high-stakes talks seeking a long-term deal to slow man-made global warming. They are seeking an accord that reduces man-made emissions to limit rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather that is already threatening populations around the world.
And while world leaders are tackling the challenge, these folks say people like you and me can play a role too.
Rock said, “We can do things in our personal lives, in our own households, we can consume less, we can be more aware of the footprint that we leave.”
And it may impact us more than we think. Dr. Lynn Ringenberg is a physician who works at USF. She’s seen how climate change is impacting our overall health. Dr. Ringenberg said, “We’re seeing more flooding, and the consequences of that are water-borne diseases in the country.”
She says the increasingly warm temperatures leads to more mosquito-borne diseases and heat illnesses. Dr. Ringenberg said, “The ozone levels are very, very high in Tampa bay, we’re the highest in the state. Because of the heat effects, the power plants, all the cars, and so that affects people’s lungs.”
She added, “These things are just gonna continue as our climate warms.”
These folks say climate change is a global problem that will take a global effort to solve. Activist Nancy Natilson said, “Life as it exists now, won’t be around unless we act now together.”
Rock said, “If we continue pumping greenhouse gasses into the environment and into the oceans and poisoning the world that supports us it will take off. It will, beyond our control, and our grandchildren and their children will not have a livable world anymore.”
Climate change is a very controversial subject, with many who question it. Some don’t believe it, and others are fiercely against proposals to address it. Recently, around two dozen states filed lawsuits challenging President Obama’s clean power plan, which aimed to reduce greenhouse emissions.