One man’s crusade to educate us on climate change

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

Climate change has been a hot topic for so long now, that the majority of Americans recognize the need to lower our carbon footprint. While we still argue exactly how and what needs to be done, most agree climate change creates weather anomalies, which cause enormous damage to the earth … and the people who live on it. Remember the 112-degree summer day in Claremont and all those wildfires the past few years?

With such a huge task in front of us, sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what to do, especially for people who want to help. Luckily for us, we have a person who’s willing to make climate change his life’s mission, and is ready to act to make a difference.

Shahir Masri is an air pollution scientist at the University of California at Irvine. He also teaches at the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University. When it comes to climate change, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that this gent knows what he’s talking about. And he’s willing to travel the country to share what he knows and how people can help.

In 2018, Marsi launched a national grassroots advocacy project called “On the Road for Climate Action,” which focused on education and outreach. He spent months traveling the country, discovering the impact of rising temperatures, while promoting real solutions to solve the climate crisis, which he shared through public presentations. Now, four years later, Masri is still speaking out to groups near and far, while creating a website, shahirmasri.com, to answer the public’s questions.

Currently, he also is involved in studies investigating exposure to harmful combustion-pollutants in the U.S. and China, as well as a project to quantify the health effects associated with mercury and fish consumption.

Last week, Masri was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Claremont, spreading the word that there’s still time to impact the future of our kids and grandkids. He has also written a book, “Beyond Debate,” which answers 50 of the most common misconceptions about climate change. Masri simplifies the science to resolve confusion, so everyone better understands the issues — both true and false.

In his book, Masri literally goes through a detailed laundry list of misconceptions that have been promoted by conservative groups throughout the country — fake news such as:

  • Earth’s natural cycles explain recent warming.
  • Scientists are “in” on a climate hoax!
  • Extreme weather is old news and is not due to climate change.
  • Who care about 1-2 degrees of warming?
  • Plants and animals will adapt.
  • Some areas are getting colder, so where’s the global warming?
  • Electric cars are not all that green.
  • Green energy is killing jobs!

Here’s a Q & A with Shahir Masri:

1) What were the key factor(s) that convinced you to take this personal approach to speaking up about climate change? Why are you doing this?

We’re at a crossroads in which climate action is now absolutely essential. If we wait another 10 years, efforts to mitigate climate change will be much more difficult and less effective. On that note, climate communication is critical if we’re going to effectively pressure our elected officials to pass the types of policies needed to avert the climate crisis. Hence, our climate action tour, in order to communicate this important message and help mobilize the public.

2) Why did you take to the road for climate change, and what did you learn while talking with others around the country?

We took this journey for the reasons just described. That is, because there is no time to wait, and because the media isn’t sufficiently publicizing the topic on television. Climate change should be a nightly news topic. Thus, grassroots communication is needed. In conducting our journey, we learned that the torch of climate action is being marched forward, not only by the Greta Thunbergs and Al Gores of the world, but by thousands of passionate individuals most people will never hear about, who are dedicating their lives to community organizing, outreach, and political activism. Second, climate impacts are not a distant and next-generation threat, but are happening here and now. Through my website, I am continuing to publish videos from our journey, which share the stories of climate change as its impacting communities across the U.S.

3) You mentioned that anyone can get involved to make a difference. If someone wanted to help with personal actions, what would you recommend?

I look at climate action through my “3 Pillars of Climate Action,” which is a three-tier hierarchy describing the individual-level actions I believe are essential to addressing the climate crisis. Ranked in order, this includes:

  • Civic duty (e.g., voting, letters to Congress, etc.).
  • Outreach (e.g., public presentations, social media, talking with friends).
  • Personal Carbon Footprint (e.g., flying less, adjusting the thermostat, adopting a more plant-based diet, etc.).

Go to https://shahirmasri.com/book-1 to purchase his book.

Want to support Shahir’s work?

Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/tz3uwz-on-the-road-for-climate-action OR https://shahirmasri.com/

0 Comments

Submit a Comment