Diverse Coalition to Launch Effort to 'Save the Buckeye'

  • September 12, 2008

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At a press conference on the Ohio Statehouse lawn, a diverse coalition of environmentalists, public health advocates, outdoor enthusiasts and agricultural interests launched a campaign to save the Ohio Buckeye from migrating north to Michigan. Recent scientific studies project that many state plants, like the Ohio buckeye tree, could shift outside their historic ranges because of global warming.

"Global warming could send our beloved Ohio State University mascot and state symbol north to Michigan," said Tom Bullock, Pew Environment Group's Ohio representative. "Ohioans need to know that it's not just the buckeye that is threatened by global warming -- our health, economy and environment are also at risk."

"As a diehard Buckeyes fan, the only thing worse than losing to Michigan would be giving them our mascot," said Ohio State University student Kristen Arnold. "This is one thing Buckeye and Wolverine fans should team up on: work together on global warming so they keep their wolverines and we save our buckeyes."

As part of the effort to highlight local and state impacts, the coalition unveiled an outdoor billboard in Columbus on Olentangy River Road next to the Buckeye Hall of Fame and Cafe that reads, "Michigan Buckeye? Global Warming is Sending Ohio's Buckeye North. SavetheBuckeye.org." As part of the campaign, the coalition will continue organizing education and outreach initiatives throughout the fall.

Scientists predict that global warming could have significant impacts on Ohio beyond the buckeye tree, including:

  • Greater drought and increasingly severe storms and floods;
  • Altered growing ranges impacting crops and wildlife habitat;
  • Lower water levels for Lake Erie; and
  • More heat- and air quality-related illnesses.

"Much of the pollution that causes climate change makes many health problems, such as asthma, heart and lung disease, worse. Continuing global warming will only increase that threat," said Shelly Kiser, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association of Ohio. "We must not only reduce air pollution to curb global warming but also invest in our healthcare systems so we are prepared to deal with future health threats from global warming--and so we have the healthy lungs we need to cheer for our team!"

"Ohio sportsmen know Ohio's climate because we've spent decades in duck blinds, tree stands, and fishing boats. We see today that climate change is already disrupting Ohio's forests, fish, and wildlife," said Jim Wentz of the League of Ohio Sportsmen. "We're concerned about the buckeye and also about Lake Erie fish, birds, game animals, and commercial trees like the sugar maple. And we're concerned about the livelihoods of people who work in hunting, fishing, and forestry."

Source: Gardener's Guide to Global Warming (PDF)

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the main Pew Campaign on Global Warming page.

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