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National Wildlife Federation’s climate change campaign

Annie:  My guest today is Ed Perry.  He is the outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation’s climate change campaign.  He is here in Bethlehem to arrange for a roundtable discussion about how climate change is affecting wildlife, natural systems and public health.  Ed, could you tell us about the upcoming event and what it is about?

Ed: On August 29, at 3:00pm, we are holding a roundtable discussion about the affects of climate change on wildlife, birds, and public health, and the science behind climate change.  The roundtable will be held at Northampton Community College at the Fowler Southside Bethlehem Center in Room 605.  Our speakers include a climate scientist and experts on wildlife, birds, and insect pests.

Annie:  So who exactly is the National Wildlife Federation and what do they do.

Ed: The National Wildlife Federation is a nationwide conservation organization whose mission is to be a voice for wildlife, and is dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat for future generations.   The National Wildlife Federation is fairly old, founded in 1936 by Ding Darling, who was the first head of the US Biological Survey.  He founded NWF because of his concern for the loss of wildlife throughout the country.

Annie:  So tell me about the speakers you have lined up.

Ed:  Our first speaker is renowned climate scientist Dr. Dork Sahagian, who will give us the basic facts about climate change.  Our second speaker is Paul Zeph, Director of Conservation for Audubon Pennsylvania.  Paul is a serious birder and will discuss how climate change is disrupting bird’s migration and breeding.  Next will be Tom Smith, director of Pennsylvania’s West Nile Virus Program.   Tom will show how climate change is making the world a better place for some of our most noxious insect pests.  I will bat cleanup.  I am an aquatic biologist, as well as a life-long fisherman and hunter.  I’ll discuss how climate change is already affecting wildlife around our country and in Pennsylvania.

Annie:  But isn’t climate change something we have to worry about a long time from now?

Ed:  When I first began working on this issue in 2007, I told people I would not live to see the effects of climate change.  I was wrong about that.  Already, we are seeing fish and wildlife all across our country being affected by the 1-½ degree temperature change we’ve had in the past 100 years.

With just this small change, just look at how extreme the weather has become.  Last year, we had Hurricane Sandy destroy homes and lives in New Jersey and New York, while Colorado, Arizona and other western states were on fire, and the Midwest experienced one of the worst droughts in our history.  Clearly, things are happening and you have to be in denial of basic science facts and your senses to continue believing our climate isn’t changing.

The National Wildlife Federation has documented these changes and has produced a number of reports on how wildlife is already being affected by climate change.  You can download these reports by Googling nwf.org/globalwarming and you’ll see some of the reports available for download.

Annie: So whom can people call or email to get more information about the event, or for more information about actions they can take to become involved in this issue.

Ed:  I can be reached at paglobalwarmingoutreach@gmail.com, or by phone at 814-880-9593.

Alison DelRe is the Director of Community Relations and Account Associate at WDIY.