While hundreds of Earth Day volunteers will be looking at the ground in search of trash this month, a Fayetteville retiree is hoping to get commuters to look up to the sky to see his message about the perils of a changing climate. Peter Wirth, an activist with Greening USA, has raised more than $4,500 from 90 people to buy billboard space across town to inform commuters of the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
According to Wirth, this PR blitz signifies the launch of the Greening USA’s Climate Change Information and Advocacy Campaign, which he hopes will educate Central New Yorkers about the scientific basis for climate change and mobilize them to “put climate change on the political agenda in CNY.”
If you are driving westbound on Interstate 690 on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, the Greening USA digital billboard will be visible near the Teall Avenue exit for 24 hours. The message is straightforward: Central New York needs to take action on climate change now.
Since it might be considered counterproductive to drive your carbon emitting motor vehicle past Teall just to see the sign, Wirth and company want you to know that you can also see the message on digital billboards on James Street near Thompson Road in Eastwood and on Butternut Street near the Interstate 81 entrance ramp. The billboards at those locations will rotate on and off for a full week beginning April 22.
No lonely polar bears or apocalyptic warnings here; the Greening USA message takes a rather stark, “just the facts” approach. In a press release announcing the campaign, Greening USA quotes from the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“Observed impacts of climate change,” says the March 31 report, “have already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies and some people’s livelihoods. The striking feature of observed impacts is that they are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest.”
To back up its campaign, Greening USA has compiled more than 100 articles about the challenge of climate change at www.GreeningUSA.org/climate-change-info
Ed Griffin-Nolan is a journalist who believes we have to ask the hard questions no matter whose interests are at stake.