Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Talk on the Climate Side

By Harry Hutchins.

I am sitting here eating Habanera hot salsa. Some say the climate isn’t changing--just like my tongue isn’t reacting much to this mild salsa.  I’ll try the hot stuff.  It was on sale.  Shouldn’t bother me, eh?  Heck I lived Arizona for 3 years and once spent a month in the land of Hot food – Sichuan, China.  Holy cow that was a quick change!!!!  I felt that hot habanera this time!

We humans don’t like quick change.  And we deny it until that truck is just a few feet away from hitting us.  Reminds me of many of us in the United States. This is the way we are reacting to climate change.  The trouble is, we better not wait till it gets to close because like the truck or the hot sauce, it is going to seem to happen quickly when it does.

So if 2007 ornithologists told you they saw Cedar waxwings in a fruit tree in Grand Rapids yesterday, I bet you’d believe them, right?  So why not believe 2007 climate scientist who are the top experts in their field?  Why is some science OK and other science observations are incorrect from our point of view.  Science takes no stance.  Policy does.  What more evidence do you need?

I believe Jeff Masters who has a 30 plus years climatology background and a PhD in that field when he tells us there are no written records of these kinds of extreme events that have happened in the past few years.  13” of rain in Tennessee? Or Dr. Heidi Cullen another climatologist who not only researches the science behind climate change, but interprets and communicates it very well. And you should believe it too.  The weather may very well change as quickly as different salsas and create a widely oscillating climate.  That is called climate change.  Europe in a deep cold and snow.  Hey, that was a prediction by climate scientist too.

What kind of world do we want?
What do you want?  That’s what David Suzuki asked in his latest book The Legacy: An Elder's Vision for Our Sustainable Future to the people of Canada, his home country.  Do you want clean water to drink and to catch non toxic fish?  Do you want carcinogenic chemicals in your food or in the air you breath?  Do you want to be able to walk a Lake Michigan Beach without cutting your toes upon non native zebra muscles? What he was saying is let us get together with our politicians and find all those things we agree upon.  We have a good idea now from the science what makes a healthy planet.  Set some targets and make policy to get to those targets. Let’s not wait any longer.

Harry Hutchins Dec. 22, 2010

Harry Hutchins is a Forestry Ecologist at Itasca Community College and teaches in the Forestry Program and co-hosts A Talk on the Wild Side on 91.7 KAXE Tuesday mornings at 8:45. Click here to listen to "The Wild Weather of 2010," a piece by Living on Earth that talks with Jeff Masters, Dr. Heidi Cullen and other scientists about the weather extremes in the last year.

1 comment:

Loyal Hoag said...

Henry, you make some important points. You mentioned the threat of getting creamed by an oncoming truck. I will liken this to another analogy of sticking one's head in the sand ... can't see, can't hear ... human beings are great at denial, altho this time it will kill you, everyone and everything else!

There is a great book I am reading that addresses this very issue of human inaction ... 'Bottleneck: Humanity's Impending Impasse' by William R. Catton, Jr. ... I recommend this one highly!

You mention the political issue. It is time for us to realize that the system in place is virtually and totally non-responsive to the many critical issues at hand. The 'rather not deal with it .. lets push it down the road a bit further ... I (the politician)need to pay attention to the corporations that pay my way syndrome'. However, what do you do when a flood that has never happened before suddenly wipes out the road right in front of you and there is no way to push it any further!

Also as a side note there are many learned voices out there that say the evidence is clear that it is to late to stop the force of climate change: that we are going to have to prepare and learn how to live in a different world.

I hope all the dollar bills that we have been focusing on chasing after our entire lives has been worth the cost.

Somehow, I don't think it will be!