June 3, 2017
Many of you know and have seen firsthand the effects globally of climate change. I certainly have over 40 years of travel: from Inuits in the Arctic, whose winter hunts are becoming fewer and more dangerous because of thinning sea ice; farmers in Ecuador’s highlands, where crops are wiped out with increasing heavy rainfall; Pacific islanders whose low atolls have become increasingly more flooded by stronger storms and rising sea levels; to witnessing massive destabilization of Antarctic ice shelves.
These, and countless other events around the world are not theory—they are fact. Science is not red or blue, it is rooted in fact. Many argue, and I am in agreement, that climate change is the greatest threat mankind faces.
And now we stand with Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations in the world who are not part of the Paris Climate Accord.
How can this possibly be? How could we, the United States of America, isolate ourselves from what clearly is a global call for essential change? And what should we do about this?
I firmly believe that travelers represent some of the most powerful voices—people who venture out into the world, see things firsthand—the wonder, the beauty, but also the changes. People who talk with others different from themselves and hear their stories.
I would like to ask you to consider a request. I would like to aggregate stories—your stories. A single event, something you saw or felt, a conversation you had that illustrates the importance of natural systems, or defines change.
I will compile these and find as many ways as I can to share them, to give voice to the voiceless, to flood the political community, not with statistics and science, but with stories from travelers who have seen and experienced things that they have not.
If you could keep them to no more than one page that would be great.
Please send your stories to: email@example.com with MY STORY in the subject line.
Our relationship as humans with our environment has been so radically altered in the past 50 years that we will not be able to live up to the most important single promise our children deserve and have a right to: a world without diminished opportunity.
It’s really far more than climate change in isolation. If we are really honest, we must conclude that the world’s natural systems have been and continue to be under major assault. Nature in reasonable balance now only exists in pockets, national parks, marine protected areas, and reserves of one kind or another.
And while many of these assaults on natural systems are to some degree, or at least feel to some degree, regional, climate change is truly global.
Our behavior in Beijing, London, Tokyo, New York, and everywhere profoundly affects islanders you will never know in Kiribati, Inuits on the remote shores of Greenland, and nomadic tribesmen in Kenya. They have so little power, so little voice, yet they know about change, and they deeply fear for their children’s future.
This cannot be considered fair. Just as the reckless abandonment of global leadership cannot be considered fair.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to get thousands of stories—your stories—very soon.
All the best,
P.S. I sincerely hope that this in no way sounds political. I, like you, am a traveler, and I feel a deep appreciation for what our environment has provided all of us. We need our natural systems to be healthy, alive and vibrant, no matter what our political beliefs may be.