The discussion begins and even a bit of action is starting to take place as more people accept the fact that there is something going on with the climate and that perhaps we need to start taking some action.
Many still deny the changing climate, especially some of our politicians, but as the scientific evidence continues to mount and more and more studies are done, including those from our weather and space scientists, as well as from reliable sources such as National Geographic, we may be reaching a point where there is genuine concern that the planet has a problem.We can debate forever over natural or man-made causes. At this point, it doesn’t matter the cause. It does matter what we are going to do moving forward.
Seas are rising, the ice sheets are melting, our earth is warming, storms, droughts and fires are more numerous and severe. Heat waves have boiled parts of our planet, floods were persistent this spring and the fires are beginning out West. Houston, Texas had three 500-year floods in just a few years. A new normal may be developing, and I am afraid it may spell disaster for many parts of the world. Some will say it is just a few inches of sea rise or a few degrees of heating, but the scientists are beginning to get a picture of what is coming. A few degrees of warmth will probably have profound effects on the entire planet. To deny these changes any longer is to put mankind at risk.
The discussion on climate change is beginning to lead to some action. An article in the Herald-Standard this week discussed the fact that some states are boosting flood protection budgets to protect against high disaster costs with funds going to help prevent future flooding. Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and sea level rises and are beginning to look at building codes to deflect some of the risk. Storm damage and flooding are very expensive and sometimes unplanned expenses for many areas are just not in the budget. The future may require a different thought process and approach to where and how we build our home and commercial structures.
Two interesting articles in the Wall Street Journal this week discussed at length research that is ongoing concerning our production of food and the very diets we eat that may be contributing to the climate problem. Once again, some folks dismiss this outright; however, climate experts recommend changes to the foods we eat and farm in an effort to help with the disruptive effects of rising global temperature.
According to the article, farming and other land uses account for nearly 25% of greenhouse gases and 50% of methane emissions are released from cattle and rice fields. Smithfield Foods Inc. has set a goal to lower emissions by working with farmers to improve the efficiency of fertilizer use and crop yields. Big seed producers are at work developing varieties of corn that can grow in dry conditions and rice that can withstand saltier water.
The other article focused less on getting people to change their eating habits and instead focus on another Green Revolution. The author Bjorn Lomborg who has written a lot on climate change over the years says that instead of getting people to eat more vegetables or shaming them for eating hamburger, let’s ramp up agricultural research and development.
Jack Hughes is a resident of Chalk Hill.