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Superstorm Sandy. Crippling drought. Devastating wildfires. Tap water that can be set ablaze. Wildfires in the West. Tops being blown off mountains in the East. There’s a dust bowl forming in the center of our country.

This is the battle we are waging — here at home in Southern Maryland and all over the United States — to save our air, our oceans, our drinking water and our health.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, tens of thousands will converge on Washington, D.C., to ask President Obama to take a stand for our climate. Join us at the Forward on Climate Rally, and help us move forward to slow climate change.

Here in Southern Maryland, the water levels are rising. It’s not obvious, but it’s real. A Dec. 17 report in The Enterprise, “Rising tides, rising concerns,” discussed the rising tides. The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Science and Technical Advisory Committee estimates that sea level will rise 2 to 5 feet during the next century. A Category 1 storm surge is at least 4 feet. Translation: the equivalent of a Category 1 storm surge will happen twice a day.

The first step to putting our country on the path to addressing the climate crisis is for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL “tar sands” pipeline.

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry the planet’s nastiest oil — it’s actually mixed with sand — from Canada to America’s Gulf Coast refineries and ports. Extracting low-grade crude oil from tar sands is energy intensive and damages the environment, even before being used. This is not in our national interest; it is a profit scheme for big oil and should be rejected.

In addition, the president can limit the amount of industrial carbon pollution emitted from power plants. Taking this action will set the right course for reducing carbon pollution domestically and send the right signals that the United States is ready to lead globally.

In his inaugural address, President Obama promised, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” I refuse to leave my children with a lesser planet than what my parents blessed me with.

Join us on Feb. 17 for the Forward on Climate Rally. For further information, visit or contact Frank Fox at 301-884-8027 or

David Kanter, Hughesville

The writer is vice chair of the Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group.