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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Two things deserve our attention: NBA MVP Kevin Durant and . . . climate change

In this day and age, with athletes gaining notoriety for their off-the-court-and-field activities, I found NBA player Kevin Durant’s MVP speech heartwarming and truly inspirational. Durant was visibly emotional as he took several minutes during his acceptance speech to thank his mother. He recounted her struggles as a single mother raising two boys on her own with a limited income.

She worked several jobs, and went to bed hungry so that her children could eat. In his speech, her son said, “When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”

As you all know, my mother, Mama D’Amato, passed away just a few weeks ago. Like Durant’s mother, she sacrificed everything for her family. Our mothers really are the real MVPs. Durant is a star off the court, and sets a great example for young people. Given that this is the season to thank our parents, his taking such a public stage to honor and recognize his mom was truly inspirational.

His mother, Wanda Pratt, may have raised a superb basketball player, but much more important is that she raised a good, honest boy to be a wonderful man. We should all be so lucky.

On another topic — a much more controversial one — Republicans have come under increasing fire for being anti-environment and deniers of climate change. In fact, David Leonhardt, in a recent article in The New York Times, noted that Americans are less concerned about climate change than the citizens of any other high-income country, but there’s a major gap along party lines. Leonhardt pointed out that only 25 percent of Republicans considered global climate change a major threat.

I would argue in defense of my Republican colleagues. Sure, there are Republicans who deny that climate change exists. They’re wrong. Climate change is real. The evidence gets stronger as we continue to see more flooding, wildfires, droughts and storms such as Hurricane Sandy that are impacting the entire country.

Right here on the South Shore, the sea level continues to rise. You can’t deny it, and there’s real science to back up what we see on our beaches.

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