On Saturday, April 22, the Lancaster chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby will sponsor Earth Day Live!, an event intended to celebrate art and science and communicate about climate change. From noon to 4 p.m. at Tellus 360, 24 E. King St., there will be music, performance art, poetry, science talks and workshops, and kids’ activities. Participants are asked to donate $5 individually or $10 per family.
CCL member Susan Finn Miller said it was her idea to bring together the arts and science. “The arts are really important in communicating about change,” she said. “We need artists in our movement.”
She wants the event to inform and inspire people. “We want to make creative climate connections, to try to create a space where people are open to innovative ways of thinking about things.” Miller said, “I know that over the years, over the decades, movements have brought about change. When you bring the arts into it, it creates a tipping point.”
Earth Day Live! Will come after a March for Science Rally, which will take place on Penn Square from 10 a.m. to noon.
Spotlight on science
Dr. Alan Peterson, emeritus director of environmental and community medicine at Lancaster General Health, will speak at Earth Day Live! on the topic of climate change. He said he is involved in climate action partly because of his two granddaughters.
“I want them to have the type of life that I have had in my lifetime,” he said.
Peterson said that climate change is already having huge impacts on human health, and that in the future these impacts will increase.
“For example,” he said, “In the U.S., one in every ten children has a diagnosis of asthma. This is not just because of climate change, but climate change has a lot to do with it.” Factors that contribute to the increasing rates of asthma, he said, are pollution and increasing pollen counts in the air. When the air warms up, there is more moisture in it, he said. This leads to a lengthened growing season for many of the plants that irritate our respiratory systems—we are also seeing increases in the rates of allergies, Peterson said.
Aside from increases in the rates of chronic conditions like asthma and allergies, Peterson said, medical professionals are already anticipating the possibility that because of climate change, in the next few decades they will have increasingly larger-scale and more severe emergencies on their hands.
“The intensity of storms will increase by 1 percent per year,” he stated. “So imagine what storms will be like in 40 years…”
Peterson said that he gets much of his information on climate change and its effects on health through medical organizations like the American College of Physicians (search “climate change” on their website, he said), and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Enjoying the Arts
Former Lancaster poet laureate Chris Longenecker said she will be reading several poems by various other poets.
Some, like Wordsworth, who lived hundreds of years ago, seem to have anticipated our current crisis, she said.
Longenecker said that since she really found out about climate change, about ten years ago, it’s become “the issue.”
“It’s become the most important thing to me,” she said. “The latest poem I’ve been working on—climate change kind of ruined it for me because I was using the weather as a metaphor. I can’t work on it without thinking about climate change. The rain and the snow aren’t just the rain and the snow anymore.”
The CCL movement
CCL, a nonpartisan organization, is working to help solve climate change by creating the political will to implement the carbon fee and dividend.