1/24/06 ---"We are doing a terrible thing to this globe and a terrible thing to future generations of Americans", Senator John McCain said on CBS's "Face the Nation" last Sunday, in reply to host Bob Schiefer's request for his thoughts about global warming, returning from visiting Antarctica last month and the Arctic earlier in 2005.
"I'm confident, unfortunately, that climate change is real," added McCain. "It's taking place every day we don't do anything about it in implementing national policy to try to stop the emission of greenhouse gases, which are generated by human activity".
Today is Sunday, shower day at Lake Hoare, Antarctica. But today was no ordinary shower day. In addition to a bucket of water and a bar of soap- the sky rained Senators and Representatives today. 9 Representatives from the House Science Committee and Senators McCain, Sununu and Collins visited this remote camp in two one-hour shifts--- with most of the Representatives arriving around 10 in the morning, and the Senators arriving at 1 in the afternoon.
Rep. Darlene Hooley from Oregon took a picture of Hassan and I because of our Oregon connection--- there may be a small press blurb. (I am comparing the Canada Glacier with the Eliot Glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon). She was friendly and excited and all parties were interested in the workings of the camp, sleeping in tents, and the daily routine of sampling and conducting science in the Dry Valleys....) We took pictures of various Representatives posing against the bold backdrop of the Canada Glacier.
The most exciting part of the visit was definitely the second Helo visit carrying the Senators. When I shook Senator John McCain's hand I said "Thank you for speaking up about global warming-please continue to fight for legislation". Senator McCain said "Sununu, come over here, Sarah has something she'd like to talk to you about"- then he looked at me and said "Sununu needs some convincing" McCain's speeches in the Senate on climate change have included pictures of the receding ice in the Arctic and the pictures of glacier recession in Kilimanjaro (he became intrigued with this site as a boy)....he said he would not stop fighting and that Global Warming would be recognized and action would be taken, but he wasn't sure how much damage would be done. (Neither am I).
On his way out, I gave Senator McCain a postcard I had painted of the Canada Glacier, thanking him for his efforts- then he thanked me. As he and Sununu were standing outside, Sununu said something like---"the climate is one of those issues that is really hard to resolve, there is so much information." A few people from the camp mentioned that we are working to gather such information. I said "Five of the last 10 years are the warmest in historical record"- and McCain interjected "Go Sarah! Sununu all you need to understand global warming is your own two eyes."
Tomorrow its back to science, back to chipping out a piece of the influence of humans on climate, on ecosystems. We must take efforts to preserve our planet and understand the reprocussions of environmental policy.