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HB 1226 - Declare October 1st "NH Climate Awareness Day"

February 18, 2020 – Concord, NH

HB 1228 - Proclaiming October 1st Climate Awareness Day

Thank you honorable Executive Departments and Administration Committee members for hearing my testimony. Thank you Representative Balch for bringing this bill forward and Representatives McGhee, Cannon and Oxenham for co-sponsoring this bill.

As an environmental science educator, dance instructor, writer, photographer and climate action advocate, I understand that science, arts, literature and technology are as necessary to building energy and engagement to raise climate awareness, as they are to mitigating and problem-solving the ecological emergency we find ourselves in the midst of.

As a climate activist, promoting increased renewable energy, clean air, water, safe food, healthy wildlife habitats and a livable planet for the future, I attend workshops, conferences and summits to remain relevant and well-informed. I am able to ask and answer questions, working with adults in threatened and impacted communities.

As a high school environmental science teacher of sophomores, juniors and seniors, I could offer primary research to students, allow them draw their own conclusions and answer their questions frankly.

As a middle school science teacher, I find myself always looking for ways to present bold information in a positive way that is honest and straightforward without being too overwhelming. As students have begun to follow Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, and other young activists, they are becoming empowered and engaged in their schools and communities. These youth are already helping to guide our communities, and as adults will have the opportunity to sit where you do now. Together, we can build the inspiration and engagement that their generation, and many to come, will need to face problems of enormous consequence.

Proclaiming a day of climate awareness formalizes our concern as united communities of New Hampshire, a state that is already experiencing very serious climate impacts.

Our shores are part of the Gulf of Maine, the waters of which are warming faster than in any other place on Earth. The fishing industry is being impacted by lobster moving north trying to survive in cooler waters, declining shrimp, cod and other marine species.

Tourism is essential to a strong economy in scenic NH. Snow, moose, bears, loons, whales, maple trees and maple syrup are all in decline and are a threat to our economic stability. We are watching our scenic state change before our very eyes.

Can declaring a “Climate Awareness Day” really be meaningful? Yes. The first to respond to a day that proclaims we must prioritize a health future is likely to be embraced by educators and young people. Making this concern official tells the youth of New Hampshire that we acknowledge their concerns and are willing to listen and learn from them. It is the youth that teach their elders, not the other way around, when it comes to embracing change. Let us be the ones to show our support and willingness to put their needs, their education first. It is up to us to make sure they are prepared with the information, skills and technology they will need in a changing job market.

Across the nation and planet, schools are going solar, have wind turbines, rain and rooftop gardens, teach sustainable farming and teach problem-solving through student-designed inventions.

October 1st was chosen as the date for a climate awareness day because it is towards the beginning of the school year and at a time when we are all visually aware of the beauty that surrounds us in a palette of autumn tones. The maple tree that we revere for its color and the sweetness it brings to our springs, is a symbol of our changing environment.

Today I ask you to remember that science is not political. Policy that supports health, safety and future generations is just good business for New Hampshire. At a time when we are concerned about youth leaving the state, we can show them that we know the challenges they will face and that in an ongoing conversation, we will work to prepare them for the economic, environmental and community challenges their state will face as they become Granite State leaders. Let us send a message now that they can stay, work, play in New Hampshire, because we are preparing for the world they will inherit.

I ask you to please support HB 1228 and a day of climate awareness in New Hampshire. I also hope that you will support HB 1625, requiring climate education for NH’s pre-K through 12th grade students.

With the healthy future of New Hampshire’s students in mind,

Stephanie A. Scherr

NH certified science educator

Climate action and clean energy community advocate

• Email your testimony in support of HB 1226, declaring October 1st "NH Climate Awareness Day": HouseExecutiveDepartmentsAndAdministration@leg.state.nh.us

• Email your testimony in support of HB 1625, requiring climate education for all NH pre-K through grade 12 students: HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

What climate change means for New England’s maple trees, MSN

Watery heatwave cooks the Gulf of Maine, NASA

On August 8, 2018, scientists using satellite data and sea-based sensors measured the second warmest sea surface temperatures ever observed in the Gulf of Maine. Average water temperatures reached 20.52 degrees Celsius (68.93 degrees Fahrenheit) that day, just 0.03°C (0.05°F) below the record set in 2012.”

Governor Sununu: 2019 Inaugural address, referring to Project Green Schools

Climate Change and Mental Health (Psychiatry.org)

Climate change enters its blood-sucking phase (The Atlantic)

“the time, in the early 2000s, climate change was being heavily studied as a potential disruptor of New England wildlife, but the focus in current-day wildlife management was still on how to handle the expansion of formerly depleted species, including moose. In a 2002 paper titled “Wildlife Dynamics in the Changing New England Landscape,” for instance, a particularly prominent team of regional ecologists at the Harvard Forest research area concluded that the main challenge for managing the moose and other large mammals in the region was their continued expansion. No one was worried yet about climate dinging moose populations. As Pete Pekins would later note, “Moose managers concluded that the winter tick epizootic in [2002] was an anomaly and that the moose population would make a strong comeback in subsequent years, compensating for the losses.”

“It soon became apparent that they had badly underestimated both the possibility of rapid climate change and the explosive effect that change could have on both moose ticks and young moose.”

”One of the tragedies of this dilemma—the essence of it—is that whether we shoot the moose or let the ticks suck the young dry, it is we humans, whether through gunshot or climate change, that are killing moose. “

Valerie Sununu video for Greenschools with her son on greening up NH even more “especially because we have the future to think about, like this guy right here!”

Governor Chris Sununu, wife Valerie Sununu and son supporting Project Greenschools, 4/11/17 (Facbook)

Valerie Sununu supporting Project Greenschools, 10/27/19 (Facebook)

StephanieScherr.net © 2019 
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