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Iowa senator urges action on climate change at CCSU

By JOHNNY J. BURNHAM

STAFF WRITER
NEW BRITAIN — Touring New England in an attempt to call all Americans to take action and join the fight to help slow climate change, Iowa state Sen. Rob Hogg visited Central Connecticut State University Thursday.

He was blunt when talking about the issue and the importance of combating it.

“It is the defining moral challenge of this century,” he said. “And Americans need to lead the world in the global fight for sustainability and survival.”

The fight against climate change, he said, means slashing greenhouse gas emissions by moving beyond fossil fuels, and at the same time safeguarding people and property from more frequent and severe climate disasters — extreme storms, floods, drought, wildfires and general ecological disruptions.

He said that climate change has been on his mind since he was an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa 25 years ago. But, it was what happened in 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that truly opened his eyes to what he refers to as the “climate century.”

In 2008, the Cedar Rapids area saw historic flooding. Water filled 5,000 homes, 1,000 businesses, churches and non-profits and forced 20,000 people to evacuate. And while the flooding was bad enough, the economic impact, he said, was felt as well.

People had to spend money to rebuild, and businesses lost money as a result of being closed.

“These things result in economic devastation and emotional devastation,” he said. “It results in real consequences for real people.”

He added that he, as well as a large number of scientists, believe these disasters on a worldwide scale are directly related to climate change. That’s why he’s trying to bring as much attention to the issue as he can.

Hogg was brought to talk to the New Britain-based university Thursday by the CCSU Global Environmental Sustainability Action Coalition and the CCSU Geography Department.

“I’m really pleased with the large number who turned out,” Charles Button, founder and chair of the CCSU Global Environmental Sustainability Action Coalition, said.

The event was hosted, fittingly, inside the university’s new Social Sciences Hall, which is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design building, using “green” technology to operate.

Hogg is serving his second term in the Iowa Senate after two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives. He is recognized as a leader in the Iowa Legislature on climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, disaster preparedness, watershed management and natural resources. He is also the author of the book “America’s Climate Century.”

The good news, the Iowa Democrat said, is there’s growing momentum for climate action which can create a safe, healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future.

“None of us asked for this problem,” Hogg said. “…The good news on this issue is that it doesn’t require us to send thousands of young people around the world to fight and die in conflict.”

It’s about being environmentally savvy and environmental conscious and taking advantage of environmentally friendly technology and products.

“The solutions work,” he said.

Johnny Burnham can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 221, or jburnham@centralctcommunications.com

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