Climate change is the most important challenge humanity has ever faced. The 2015 Paris Agreement is an unprecedented global pact among nearly 200 nations to prevent catastrophic climate change and ensure a safe planet for our children and grandchildren. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to focus equally on economic growth and protection of the environment.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson struggled for years to interest his political colleagues in environmental protections. He finally turned to the people by proposing April 22, 1970 as the first Earth Day for Americans to speak out. Nelson's leadership and the voices of millions of Americans resulted in President Richard Nixon establishing of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.

It is essential that our country not backslide. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real, serious and caused by human activity. The effects experienced around the world are violent storms, floods, droughts, fires, food and water shortages, health impacts and political unrest.

Solutions exist. There is hope if elected officials act responsibly. Voice your concerns by attending Madison's Climate March which will start at the State Capital at 2 p.m. on Earth Day, April 22.

Susan Shedivy, Fitchburg

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