We must leave livable planet to descendents

In this season of gift-giving, the gift I most want to give my children, grandchildren and all future children is the gift of a livable planet.

On Dec. 20, Beijing was on "red alert" due to excessive smog. They are shutting schools, ordering thousands of vehicles off roads, ordering 1,200 factories to close or cut output, and warning residents to stay indoors. New Delhi is experiencing air quality almost twice as toxic as Beijing's.

Who among us doesn't want clean air, abundant clean water, productive soils, rich biodiversity and the slowing of current rampant species extinction? When will surgical masks become our standard gear?

Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard professor emeritus and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, in Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life, suggests a solution of committing half the planet's surface to nature. Under 15 percent globally is now in land preserves; less is preserved in oceans.

Last September, I witnessed the benefits of such an approach on a very small scale at a nature center west of Inverness, Scotland. Nature is impressive; we simply need to back out.

There is a small group, the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, now up to 20 congresspersons, working on solutions. A member of one party cannot join unless they bring at the same time a member from across the aisle, thus keeping the caucus balanced and truly bipartisan. The New York Times calls this a "promising step towards sanity ... one of the first efforts to break the partisan impasse."

The Citizens Climate Lobby supports this caucus, along with a fee and dividend approach to diminishing the effects of carbon dioxide. CCL is an international organization; Durango has one of 10 Colorado chapters: contact durangoccl@gmail.com. Check us out.

The Merely Players and 20 Moons dance theater's amazing production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol was a great gift to our community. "Humankind IS my business; the common welfare IS my business."

We should remind ourselves daily, not just annually, that we are earth's stewards, not its owners.

To enable a healthier planet will require significant changes. Change is never easy; however, the alternative is unthinkable.

The gift awaits our will.

Marilyn McCord