“And then one day you find, 10 years have got behind you; no one told you when to run; you missed the starting gun.” Pink Floyd sang in “Time” about the frivolous boredom of youth, only to wake up to realize time has run out.

Driving up Scenic Highway 61 recently, listening to this old favorite in the backdrop of COP26 (the 2021 United Nations climate change conference), I considered the ticking clock of potential demise for the human race if we don’t own up to the devastation that runaway carbon emissions are wreaking on our planet.

More than 70% of Americans believe the earth’s climate is changing in a bad way. Many aren’t sure what we can do about it or have a hard time agreeing on how best to proceed. Well, we can all agree that we want a safe, prosperous future for coming generations, and that global warming differentiates amongst populations — hitting the most vulnerable first and hardest, who, ironically, contribute least to the problem.

What if we placed this existential threat smack at the center of our daily lives by starting to count down the years, months, weeks, days, and minutes that define our current window of action to reach 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2050? What if we did this in Times Square, as we did when approaching the new millennium? And what if we were reminded of the countdown every time we searched on Google, clicked on Amazon to make a purchase, or streamed a movie?

We may have missed the starting gun, but there’s still time. Go to Citizens’ Climate Lobby at cclusa.org to find out how we can all make a difference by insisting that our lawmakers legislate, without further delay, a price on carbon.

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Judith A. Thimke

Duluth Township

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