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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Publisher’s Notebook

• Out of the Shadow •

BY ANNE SOBLE

Groundhog Day has less to do with meteorology than it does with mythology when we focus our attention on the message that Punxsutawney Phil has about the timetable for the change of seasons.
The nation’s weather woodchuck did not see his  shadow last weekend, forecasting an early spring. But Malibuites can be forgiven for a modicum of skepticism as we watch our stretch of warm spring-like weather begin to give way to cloud cover and possible rainfall by the end of the week.
Phil’s prognostications don’t have to be successful to matter. This annual rite of weather forecasting isn’t about accuracy and, as much of the recent debate about climate change demonstrates, neither is a lot of the local and national public discourse about the subject.
Weather is society’s great equalizer. That explains part of why the concept of Phil is reawakened every February for a photo op.
Weather’s universal importance is the reason that hundreds of participants from a coalition of 70-plus groups will take part in a march and rally on Sunday, Feb. 17, that will end at Los Angeles City Hall. 
Environmental, humanitarian, religious, political, labor, civil rights, and community organizations are planning to unite in a call for action on climate change.
The local event is the counterpart of what is expected to be thousands of marchers converging on Washington D.C. for the largest climate change rally in history.
Elected officials and community leaders are calling  on the President and Congress to take strong action on the climate crisis and reject damaging projects such as the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
Ongoing drought, uncontrollable wildfires, and the destruction by Super-Storm Sandy demonstrate the need for major public policy changes before the environment is irrevocably damaged.
As the President’s second term begins, Americans say they are looking for leadership on the climate crisis. Most politicians, economists, business leaders and agricultural interests agree that the global climate is in a state of flux and man-made influences are a major reason this is taking place.
Hundreds of respected experts in a cross-section of disciplines leave little doubt of what is occurring in the draft National Climate Assessment report.
It’s time for the citizenry to demand change in the form of policy and implementation that will result in a shift to cleaner forms of energy to protect public health and the planet.
The City of Malibu is now exploring the branding of its name. Why not put the Malibu brand on concern for climate change and a call for action? The Malibu City Council should issue a statement that the community wants a comprehensive public policy review on climate that looks to the future. 
With loud calls for action from everywhere in the nation, when Punxsutawney Phil ventures out into the cold to make his annual forecast next year, important change could be well on its way. Groundhog Day might even become a major celebration.

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