My kids have stopped using plastic straws. And, at their request, we have stopped buying bottled water for their lunches, switching to re-usable water bottles.

They talk about the great plastic mass in the ocean. They’re worried about water quality. They have anxiety about the world to come — whether we will have breathable air, habitable environments, enough food to go around.

I don’t have much to offer them in the way of encouragement. I can’t even tell them that serious adults are making real efforts to curb climate change.

I feel as powerless as they do.

This week we’re giving over our news hole (yes, that’s what it’s called) to a worldwide effort to increase climate-change awareness as the United Nations prepares for its Climate Summit on Sept. 23.

Covering Climate Now encompasses more than 250 media outlets and other institutional and independent parties, with a reach of more than 1 billion people.

The wealth of stories and studies collected for CCN are enough to scare the hell out of anybody. They’re designed to draw our attention to the unfolding crisis, report on some of the things that people are doing to combat it and, more importantly, show the strong governmental and institutional resistance to what has become a very obvious problem.

We are not in the habit of running syndicated content, or venturing too far from our wheelhouse of local news. But our cover piece this week — a list of the environmental scientists that have been drummed out of their government positions during the Trump Administration, is one of the most powerful stories we’ve ever printed on these pages. And this project is one of the most important things of which we’ve ever been a part.

And climate change is a local story too.

Here in North Carolina, we’ve got hog-waste lagoons infiltrating our water supply. We’ve got beachfront erosion and increased hurricane activity that are changing our coastline. And we’ve got a General Assembly that repeatedly turns deaf ears to the warnings that the land is screaming out to us.

I encourage everyone to read more of the CCN stories — they will be all over newspapers, magazines and television this week. And please remember climate change when the 2020 election comes around. It is the most important issue of our time.

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