The four are members of Organizing For Action Tennessee, a chapter of Organizing for Action, a nonprofit organization established to support Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012.
According to the OFA website, the organization advocates for policies throughout the country and mobilizes citizens of all parties to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of legislation on gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform.
OFA operates as a “social welfare” organization under section 501.c.4 of the Internal Revenue Code.
“The President’s Climate Action Plan,” released in June by the Executive Office of the President, states America stands at a critical juncture. Combined with the administration’s other actions to increase the efficiency of cars and household appliances, the president’s plan would reduce the amount of energy consumed by American families, cut down on gas and utility bills.
The plan, which consists of a wide variety of executive actions, has three key pillars: Cut carbon pollution; prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to combat global climate change and prepare for its impacts.
Deborah Carter of Spencer works at a Bridgestone manufacturing plant as an operating technician and is a member of the United Steelworkers Union. She wants her children and three grandchildren to live in an unpolluted and undamaged Tennessee.
“I want my grandkids to be able to swim and play in the Tennessee River and for that river to be there for their grandkids,” she said. “I do agree with 97 percent of scientists who say that climate change is real. I’m here to ask Rep. DesJarlais to support climate change plans recently proposed by the president.”
In 2009, President Obama made a pledge that by 2020, America would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels if all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well.
She said the president is at a critical juncture in his presidency before he enters the third year of his final term in office.
Charlie Hilton of Franklin was raised in Bradley County and has a partnership with his brother in Bradley County. The brothers raise cattle in Bradley and Hamilton counties and have farms in Bradley, Hamilton and Polk counties.
“For the past five or six years, we have had droughts in Bradley County,” he said. “We typically, with the first turning of hay would get 60 percent of crop. During the second cutting, we got enough hay to get us through the winter.
“This year, it’s been a disaster with all the rain. We have lost 40 acres of cut hay. Here we are ready to do the second cutting of hay, but it’s raining every day and if we don’t get it cut. We won’t have enough hay for feeding for the winter. If we don’t get enough hay, we will have to eliminate the herd.”
He said climate change is not going to happen in one day, but over a series of years.
“We are going to wake up one day and we won’t be able to produce the crops and raise the cattle and beef we need for food,” he said. “Congress cannot continue to put off the fact that we have a problem with climate change. We are changing natural weather patterns that have been a norm. It will get worse unless Congress does something about it. The president has outlined a plan and now it’s time for Congress to act.”
Anna Medvecky of Pikeville is a beekeeper. She and her family have lived in Tennessee seven years.
“I want to tell you about the climate change I’m seeing every day right here in Tennessee. It is real and it is serious.”
She said there are more severe storms, more invasive species, more intense forest fires threatening communities each year.
Medvecky said 2012 was the second most intense year in history for extreme weather events — droughts, flooding, hurricanes, severe storms and devastating wildfire.
“Last year was the warmest on record in the United States,” Medvecky said. “For Tennessee farmers like me, it impacts my business, my livelihood — the bees I keep, the pollination services I provide and the bee products I sell.
“Today, the latest science tells us the threat of a changing climate is new, real and different from anything we’ve ever tackled. The growing droughts, the growing changes in our climate are threatening this community. I feel a great responsibility to protect it for my children and future generations. Rep. DesJarlais should share that responsibility with folks like me, help us take this seriously.”
Carter, Hilton, Medvecky and Sharon Wise of Apison are members of Organizing for Action Tennessee.
For more information, visit http://ofatn.com or http://www. barackobama.com/?source=action-bar.