To the editor:
It’s time to get on board to reverse climate change.
With 194 countries out of 196 in the world signing onto the Paris climate accord, any debate about whether climate change is ‘real’ and strongly impacted by human activity is over. Only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign the accord and Nicaragua’s reason was that they didn’t think it went far enough to curb the climate crisis. Now the current U.S. administration is attempting to hide and deny the facts of climate change. One has to wonder what motive drives this decision. It can only be financial, because it certainly is not putting the people’s welfare first. A pile of gold for a few people is not justification for allowing our planet to become uninhabitable for all. Our leadership is attempting to return to the good old days of spewing toxic chemicals into our atmosphere. Older Americans remember a time of choking smog in LA and other major cities. Let’s not go backward to those (literally) dark days.
Climate change is not only real, but the crisis is upon us. We are already feeling the effects. Here are a few of the ways that the climate crisis is impacting the United States:
-Seasonal allergies are getting worse because carbon dioxide, increased by gas human activity, traps heat on the planet, accelerating the rate of plant growth. The result is an increase in the quantity and potency of pollen. Rising temperatures also make the growing season longer, extending the allergy season. Are we having fun yet?
- Yellow jacket supernests up to 7 feet in width are reported in Alabama. Yellow jackets (except for the queen, who has antifreeze) normally don’t survive the cold months, so the queen has to start a new colony in the spring. Warmer winters allow the entire colony to survive and the colony grows in size the next season. Yellow jackets are responsible for almost all of the stinging deaths in the United States.
- Huge stands of dead trees are fuel for ever larger forest fires, which threaten recreation, wildlife and water supplies. One in 14 trees in the mountains of Colorado is dead due to the pine beetle infestation. Temperatures must reach -30 to -40 to kill the beetles. The warmer winters we are experiencing allow the beetles to thrive and spread.
- Daily flooding occurs on the National Mall as tidal waters spill onto the sidewalk and block highways, threatening Washington, D.C.’s iconic cherry trees.
-Environmental refugees are a problem worldwide. Examples of people displaced by climate change in the U.S. include:
Residents of 200 Alaskan villages are unable to live in their historic settings due to crumbling shores, sinking land and loss of food sources.
The Isle de Jean Charles, La., has lost 98 percent of its land since 1955 due to rising sea water.
Major hurricanes have displaced many people who will not rebuild due to the dangers of living in the area or because they can’t get insurance.
Massive flooding in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins have driven many from their homes.
Wildfires in Alaska, Colorado, Texas and California have destroyed rural homes and cities, and resulting mudslides have taken many more homes and lives.
I don’t need to remind everyone of the record rains in Iowa, which have caused planting delays and massive flooding. Climate change, which we are dealing with NOW, is like a heavy freight train that’s gotten up to speed. It will take a lot of work to slow it, stop it and reverse course. Let’s all get on board and do what we can to preserve our way of life.