What Will We Do, Now That We Know?



Remarks to Sierra Club Clean Power Plan Rally, August 8, 2015

By Paul Severance, Chair, Elders Climate Action

I am here today representing elders here in Indiana and across the nation who are working together in a campaign called Elders Climate Action.  We believe that the voice of elders who have a long-term perspective is especially needed today.

It is hard to imagine a more short-sighted policy than fighting the Clean Power Plan. 

There is no doubt that the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is heating our planet.

There is no doubt that existing power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution.

There is no doubt that pollution from power plants is already damaging the health of older and younger Hoosiers especially.

There is no doubt that climate change is already causing weather disasters, drought and crop loss, with billions in economic losses.

And these effects are nothing compared to the price that our great grandchildren and future generations will pay if we continue to spew carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere.

If we fail to act soon, sea levels will rise and coastal cities around the world will be flooded, creating millions of climate refugees. 

If we fail to act soon, the result will be spreading drought, increased severe weather disasters, food shortages, and who knows how many wars.

We know these things.

In his poem Hieroglyphic Stairway, Drew Dellinger writes:

it’s 3:23 in the morning

and I’m awake

because my great great grandchildren

won’t let me sleep

my great great grandchildren

ask me in dreams

what did you do while the planet was plundered?

what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

what did you do




Governor Pence, we beg of you: Don’t let Indiana’s answer be “We did nothing, in fact we did everything we could to block anything that could have made a difference.”  Don’t let that be our answer to our great great grandchildren: They deserve much, much better of us.  They deserve the best state power plan we can come up with.