Think of an area the size of two Delawares – 3,300,000 acres – about 5,000 square miles. That’s the area blighted by the pine-beetle since the 1990′s, allowing Colorado’s mountains to explode in wildfires and devastate this national treasure. Why has this happened? Because of climate change. There, I said it.
A few years ago when I was driving with my daughter back from DC to her college in California, we stopped for gas about an hour out of Denver. I could hardly get myself back in the car - in fact I made her sit on the curb of the Burger King parking lot with me so I could stare up at the magnificent scenery. When I was growing up in Southern California, all I needed to do to see mountains was look out our kitchen window. But after living in DC for many years, seeing mountains again was like taking a ‘happy pill’ for me. Magnificent, almost spiritual, definitely calming. That’s what makes what’s happening to our forests so tragic and personally painful.
I’m not going to argue “WHY” climate change is happening, that’s not the point. The point is that climate change is here. The world is warmer, resulting in changes in our environment that we simply can no longer ignore – yet continue to.
“If you believe [climate change] exists, you are somehow—you are at least a socialist.” —Howard Hallman, describing the prevailing attitude.
Even the most skeptical of skeptics now admit climate change is happening, and that human activity is partly responsible.
Extreme weather is here and it’s going to get worse, so it’s time to take our heads out of the sand and figure out how we’re going to deal with it.
on a regional level like how farmers are going to provide the food we expect at affordable prices when there’s no water for the crops or the livestock, and states pay for increasing fires and flooding.
on a global level, as entire populations are migrating due to coastal flooding, erosion, lack of water and agricultural disruption.
Even the U.S. military is developing scenarios to deal with potential national and global security issues around the devastation caused by extreme weather events around the world.
They say the first step in solving a problem is admitting it exists. When we start screaming along with the trees, when we admit what’s right in front of our faces, we’ll be on our way to making the changes required to mitigate the devastation.
Until then, hold on to your hats. It’s going to be a wild ride.
The views, opinions and judgments expressed are solely my own. Message contents have not been reviewed or approved by AARP.
Photo by USDAgov