Committing to Our Future – The West Virginia Climate Pledge
by Morgan King, climate campaign coordinator
At the start of the month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their most important report to date focused entirely on mitigating human-caused climate change. The world’s leading scientists found that to reduce and prevent climate change, “it’s now or never.”
Global warming must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius. To put that in perspective, Earth has already warmed most of that allotment – 1.1 degrees. Current promises by nations to reduce greenhouse gasses, thus global warming, far exceed that limit and put the world on a path toward irreversible, catastrophic impacts.
But, what can we do? The scale of the climate crisis can be overwhelming and hard to think about. To transform our pollutive energy economy into one that is renewable and regenerative requires change at a massive level.
The same IPCC report said our world needs to invest three to six times more than current spending on climate mitigation to achieve climate goals.
Yet, we are all equipped with something crucial in this challenge. Collectively, our voices have power.
In any movement, influencing change requires not only the evidence and science (which the IPCC has provided extensively) but also the voices of the population.
That’s why we created the West Virginia Climate Pledge. Only 50% of West Virginians are worried about climate change. But, West Virginians bear a lot of the burden of climate impacts.
With more extreme weather from our warming world, we can expect more severe floods and drought. One in four West Virginia properties are at high risk of flooding. These “billion-dollar weather and climate disasters” are occurring more frequently leaving an economic and human toll.
Even more, West Virginian communities have long felt the negative impacts of fossil fuel production from air and water pollution to the economic hardship of companies filing bankruptcy in their communities. As the rest of the world transitions from fossil fuels, our coal communities must not be left behind. Addressing climate change offers an opportunity to get support to those most affected.
Taking the West Virginia Climate Pledge can be viewed as a commitment toward learning more about climate change and supporting climate action. The Pledge starts with the existence, causes, and impacts of climate change and shifts into solutions that center science, nature, and justice. It represents the fundamental values critical in understanding and solving the climate crisis. We hope it will motivate you to use your voice and share these values with those around you.
Learn more about each pledge “pillar” and take the WV Climate Pledge here!
On the Pledge website, there is a dropdown menu featuring each pledge pillar along with background information for each statement. You can even dive deeper into the topics by exploring the linked resources.
After taking the pledge, you’ll be mailed a sticker featuring artwork by West Virginia artist Nichole Westfall and be kept in the loop on opportunities to advocate for climate action.
If you have any questions about the Pledge or just want to chat about anything climate, feel free to email me at email@example.com!