Our network

Leaders Host Event to Educate Local Youth on Impacts of Climate Change | Environment

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Leaders Host Event to Educate Local Youth on Impacts of Climate Change
Leaders Host Event to Educate Local Youth on Impacts of Climate Change

Today, New York State Assemblyman and Environmental Conservation Committee Member Sean Ryan, Buffalo Outdoor Urban Education Foundation (BUOE) Executive Director Kate Hilliman, and Western New York Environmental Alliance Energy and Climate Change Working Group Chair Terry Yonker hosted over 25 students from Public School #30—Frank A. Sedita Academy for an interactive educational session regarding climate change and other important issues impacting the Great Lakes eco-system.  This event comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s historic action on climate change.

“The question is no longer whether climate change is real, but rather how we as a country can most effectively and expeditiously address this issue head-on,” said New York State Assemblyman and Environmental Conservation Committee Member Sean Ryan. “That is why I fully support the President’s call for immediate climate change action to mitigate excessive industrial carbon emissions and pollution.”

“A key part of our mission is to support interactive learning and shipboard education for local urban youth, especially when it comes to issues impacting the Great Lakes and our regional waterways,” said BUOE Executive Director Kate Hilliman. “We are pleased to join our partners in hosting this great educational event and applaud President Obama for taking action on important environmental issues.”

“In my view as a scientist, the time for action on climate change is now,” said Western New York Environmental Alliance Energy and Climate Change Working Group Chair Terry Yonker.

According to Ryan and other event participants, President Obama has presented a broad, common-sense plan for meeting our obligation to protect future generations from climate change. Industrial carbon pollution has recently been measured at the highest levels in human history.  In Western New York specifically, the effects of excessive industrial pollution on local populations and natural resources is well known.

Various studies have chronicled the effects of climate change on the health of the Great Lakes.  Some of the key findings include:

  • Warming waters and early-season rains associated with climate change have led to record-setting toxic algae blooms across much of Lake Erie. (NYT-March 2013)
  • Such algae blooms are creating “dead zones” within the lake, sometimes encompassing more than 1/3 of the entire lake bottom. (BuffNews-Sept 2013)
  • The Lake Erie western basin has seen a 40 percent reduction in charter angling operations, as a result of algae bloom activity, growth, and impact on oxygen levels, resulting in decreasing fish counts. (NYT-March 2013)
  • Reduced winter ice coverage on the Great Lakes due to warmer waters and climate is leading to increases in lake effect snow episodes and early-season precipitation. (Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, Universities of Michigan and Michigan State, Climate Change in the Great Lakes, 11/15/12)
  • Lake levels are at historic lows, 26 inches below long-term averages. (AP-March 2013)

“The harmful impacts of climate change are more noticeable than ever before,” concluded New York State Assemblyman and Environmental Conservation Committee Member Sean Ryan.  “We need to ensure the long term health of our waterways.  Here in Buffalo, our waterfront is seeing a resurgence of activity.  The great things happening at the inner and outer harbors are dependent on having thriving waterways, and a healthy Lake Erie.  Now more than ever, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents need to band together to advance policies that address this issue in a meaningful way.”

Current polls show that a majority of Americans want climate action now. Sixty-five percent of voters support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now” (Benenson Strategy Group for League of Conservation Voters, 2/12/13).

Downtown Businesses