The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 27, 2013

My View: Act now on Earth Day: The future of our grandchildren is at stake

As we approach Earth Day we might be inclined to thing of all the things we need to do for the planet:

But I’m afraid to tell you that’s not going to be enough. Because if you’re in your late teens or early 20s, odds are the planet of your grandchildren will be vastly different. For example:

Will your grandchildren like visiting Kansas? That’s great news because they won’t have to go anywhere. Minnesota in 50 years will have a climate — and vegetation — like that of the Sunflower State today.

Will they like going to Florida? More good news as their Disney Cruise will be able to dock right at the gates of Disney World because much of coastal Florida will be under water.

Will they like studying American history? If so, they better visit Delaware within the next few decades, as the first state to join the union will also be the first to leave it as it disappears under the rising Atlantic Ocean.

Will they enjoy eating shellfish? They better get their fill in now as the oceans will be so acidic due to dissolved carbon dioxide that no shelled animal will be able to survive.

Will they relish going to Japanese restaurants and eating sushi? More good news: Sushi will still be around, but your grandchildren better like raw jellyfish, because most of the other fish we enjoy now will be gone from the oceans.

Will they like elephants, rhinos, orangutans, tigers, koalas and polar bears? The good news is that some of these animals may still be around, but they’ll be found only in zoos and wildlife parks.

Will they like birds? Nearly everybody does, but your grandchildren better get used to seeing fewer in the sky, because by 2100 as many as 30 percent of all avian species will be extinct.

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