Tackling the issue of climate change

John Kerry, Gina McCarthy, and Dylan Fernandes hold forum as Kerry announces World War Zero.

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Updated August 13

“This is the most important election of our lifetimes and our kids’ lifetimes, because the next president is going to decide our response to climate change.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said those words to a packed West Tisbury school auditorium at “The Climate Is Changing, Are We?” event on Monday night. 

Kerry was joined by former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy and state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, to offer their battle cries for unity in dealing with climate change. Fernandes moderated the conversation, and the trio talked about reframing the issue as one concerning national security, public health, and the economy. All three were vocal about their dismay at the Trump administration’s political inaction.

Kerry lost no time in announcing the launch of World War Zero, a new organization formed by himself, McCarthy, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and others dedicated to combating climate change. When pushed on specifics, Kerry said that the formal announcement of the organization’s mission will come in September. However, he emphasized several times the importance of mobilizing against climate change with “wartime footing,” because “it’s going to take nothing less than that to orchestrate the size of the transformation with respect to the vehicles, industry, power, agriculture, building — residential and commercial,” Kerry said. U.S. military personnel are preparing bases across the country for protection against environmental degradation as a result of climate change, and therefore are now “coming to the table” to discuss proper environmental policy strategies.

Recalling his recent trip to Normandy on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Kerry said, “We’re in an equal moment of critical choosing.” 

McCarthy, professor of public health at Harvard, practically jumped out of her chair in her emotional plea for people to reframe the narrative around climate change as one about people, and not to “speak like scientists.” She touched on air pollution and water supply fluctuation as the two largest consequences to public health: “Especially at a time when the federal government has checked out, it is time for local communities to step up and fight.” She used wind power as an example, which “is cheaper, and creates jobs.” She said the Vineyard Wind project doesn’t deserve the pushback it is getting with recent regulatory obstacles. “It’s exciting, it’s great, and it has to happen now,” she said.

Kerry commended the kids of Plastic Free MV on their campaign to ban plastic bottles with a volume of less than 34 ounces. The students convinced voters in three up-Island towns to approve the ban, and have plans to bring the issue to town meetings in the up-Island towns.

The audience responded to McCarthy and Kerry’s statements with assertive and at times enthusiastic “mmhmms.”

A Dorchester native herself, McCarthy endeared herself to the crowd: “That’s carbon, spelled C-A-H-B-O-N.”

The most thunderous applause came after McCarthy’s fiery call and response chant. “Repeat after me: Climate change is real. Climate change is manmade. And therefore women should rule the world.”

As the representative of “more coastline than any other district in the state,” Fernandes has prioritized environmental policy reform as one of the cornerstones of his term. 

Before taking questions from the audience, Fernandes led the audience in an interactive exercise. He asked those in the audience who are signed on to the Cape Light Compact to raise their hands, and about 30 percent of the crowd was represented. He then asked of those hands raised, how many people had installed a pump to convert their electricity to heat. Many people lowered their hands. The next question was concerning how many people own electric cars; about 10 percent of the crowd raised their hands. The final question was “Who hasn’t flown in an airplane for the last three years?” Only two people raised their hands out of an audience of about 600. 

Fernandes also mentioned the Cape Light Compact over the phone before the event as one of the best things Cape and Islands residents can do to decrease their carbon footprint. Cape Light is an organization that offers renewable energy services for homes and businesses.

In the end, the call to action was to vote for candidates with climate change at the forefront of their agendas at the municipal, state, and federal levels, including the 2020 presidential election.

Updated with more details from Monday’s event.

26 COMMENTS

  1. How embarrassing to witness folks of apparently reasonable intelligence swallowing this con… this outright fraud… about humans somehow being responsible for the planet’s temperature. While gigantic nuclear explosions are exploding over the planet every second of every day. And, good grief, the audacity of some bureaucrat braying about how (“repeat after me”) women should rule the world – never mind the millions of courageous MEN of this country who’ve died in wars, over centuries, only to preserve the very freedom to spew such sexist nonsense. But, what’s really sinister about the whole climate hoax is the brainwashing of our schoolchildren, and driving it into their innocent skulls that nobody should question the notion of “accepted science”… lest they bear the humiliation that befalls any who dare to differ. Distributing unadulterated, unbiased knowledge in our schools has in large part devolved into the dictating of partisan agendas. Earth has experienced cooling and warming cycles for thousands of years, lots of carbon dioxide is good for the planet, and humans can not control solar activity. Food, water, medicine, shelter, fuel, decent education – those are the priorities to focus on, not alarmists who try to instill fear with claptrap about the planet dying. Heck, it’s pretty obvious what’s motivating these peddlers of doom. Accepted science, my arse. And stop frightening the children! For cripesake!

  2. I read that the original explanation of the effects of mankind on the climate was symbolized by the “Hockey Stick” illustration – which was proven to be false in that the data was invented to prove the theorem, not backed by any facts. Also, research the East Anglia University in England on their “research” into the issue, which they formally admitted was ripe with “data” rigged to get the proper outcome.

  3. What’s wrong with you! It’s established science. Established science proved the world was flat, it predicted the new ice age that happened back in the year 2000 and Al Gore’s prediction that the world would be an uninhabitable “frying pan” by 2016.

  4. Kerry emphasized the importance of handling climate change in the same way as handling a war several times over the course of the event.
    I wonder when his plan comes out in September if it will be similar to the way he handled his speeches of the Vietnam War especially when myself (USMC) and several other island combat veterans were actually in Vietnam during April 1971 when he publicly trashed all of us over there and made our Welcome Home a absolute disgraceful event for literally thousands of us which lasted a few dozen years.
    Wondering how he will label opponents of his off the wall plans!
    Actually there are a few Iraq / Afghanistan combats veterans around who are not happy with what he publicly had to say about them as well.
    Will end here as George keeps a very close eye that I dont cross any lines.

  5. PS…John FYI the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, as well as the entire Cape Cod peninsula, were formed by the slow movements of massive sheets of ice during the last great Ice Age.
    Starting about 2.5 million years ago, great blocks of ice, some as much as 2 miles thick, descended from the frigid northern climes onto continental Europe and North America. As the ice slowly but inexorably gouged and plowed its way south, it pushed before it mounds of earth and rock.
    Please Advise who was to blame for that global warming / climate change!!

    • FYI, Tisbury Native has plagiarized, word for word, part of “The Making of Martha’s Vineyard” from The NY Times. Isn’t plagiarizing crossing a line? Plagiarizing is for those who don’t want to/can’t think or write for themselves, and then they fail to give credit where credit is due. Like with all plagiarists, nothing further that they say has any validity, since it may or may not be someone else’s words that the plagiarist wants you to think are his. It’s dishonest. Use quotation marks when you want to quote from someone else’s work.

      • You must have too much time on your hands. Perhaps Tisbury Native was unable to attend the classes that focused on quotation marks, periods, and commas when he was busy dodging enemy fire in combat serving his country in Vietnam. Serving in the military combat is a lot more important than the punctuation police will EVER be. You owe him an apology.

        • notnewhere– Plagiarism has it’s definitions– tis native is guilty of it– The rules set forth by the times do not specifically prohibit it, but it’s generally considered to be dishonest to not site the source, and imply it is your own thought. But, I understand the temptation to plagiarizer a good line. Even prominent people (like Malania Trump) do it, and conservatives don’t seem to care.
          Your assertion that Tis native was “dodging enemy fire” 50 years ago has nothing to do with it. Getting drafted into an unjust war and surviving it does not give one carte blanch to do whatever they want for the rest of their life– I am sure you do not give John Kerry much slack for his service dodging most of the enemy fire during his time in Viet-Nam.
          Jackie owes no one an apology for pointing out a generally frowned upon practice. Tisnative should acknowledge his mistake , and apologize to the on line community here.

          • @dondondon12… I get your ‘point’ about prominent people since you chose to remind us about Melania (and I won’t correct your spelling as others here would) (info from a google search on Breitbart) and you’ll see Barack Obama, Joe Biden,Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren are # 1,2,3,4,5,6 on the ‘top ten’ list ‘guilty’ of this ‘sin’.

    • Tisnative—I found some light reading for you regarding your question. “Please Advise who was to blame for that global warming / climate change!!”
      The short answer is an increase in carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.
      https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth103/node/639
      I think even the most radical climate deniers will acknowledge that the burning fossil fuels releases carbon. Regardless of what one may think about the size of Al Gore’s house, it actually is settled science that carbon slows the transfer of heat into space.

    • Hi Paul, long time no see Chief! The island sure has changed since you moved!
      Kerry moved here as Nantucket is becoming more conservative as I have been told so he sailed here.
      BTW, Were you following the battle recently about Our OB Civil War Statue? WOW!!

  6. Ugh, I’m quite fond of John Kerry but we’ve all heard tales of his extremely lavish new home on the island, and his travels by plane all over the world. I’m not sure I like being lectured about my carbon footprint by this particular fellow.

      • Huh? Trump and Gore aren’t part of this. Kerry is the guy who held a climate discussion here.
        By the way I voted for Kerry, and for Gore, and they are both light-years beyond Trump on this topic. That’s indisputable. Trump’s moronic views on climate change are of no interest to me.