Anyone who has doubts about global warming has not spent the last month in Southwest Texas. We have just experienced the hottest September since record keeping began and two weeks into fall, it feels more like August than October.
A cool front, late by any measure, is due tonight, and we should transition into more benign weather. And being human, we will put the last two blistering, bone-dry months out of our minds and hope for better days.
But we should be mindful of what the scientific community – at least the vast majority of it – is telling us about how man is impacting the world’s climate. Unless we take significant action to reduce carbon pollution, our communities and the lives of our children and grandchildren will suffer irreparable harm.
The signs are hard to miss: the global temperature has risen by 1.62 Fahrenheit sine the late 19th century; our oceans are warming and turning more acidic; glaciers are retreating in the Alps, Himalayas, Rockies, Alaska and Africa; Arctic sea ice is shrinking; and we are experiencing more destructive weather patterns, especially with hurricanes like Harvey that flooded Houston and Dorian that just devastated the Abaco Islands.
We can make a difference, simply by choosing to adjust our lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint. We can begin by repairing our appliances instead of buying new ones, turning up our thermostats in summer and down in winter and choosing vehicles that get better gas mileage. And certainly we should let our elected representatives know that the climate is of grave concern.
This is a crowded and increasingly industrialized planet that will quickly reach a tipping point unless we take the science of climate change seriously. It is already impacting not only us but the animals that share our world. A recent report in the academic journal “Science” revealed that 3 billion wild birds have disappeared over the last 50 years in the United States and Canada and since the 1950s large fish like marlin, tuna, cod and grouper have declined to one-tenth of their former numbers.
The trend is beyond alarming and certainly not something we want to bequeath to those who will one day wonder why – why did they allow this to happen to our Earth?