Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Changing Climate we're Seeing

Obviously the winter weather here in New England has been insane. It's been the most we've ever had in such a short period. It's three times as much as the Blizzard of 78'. For many of us, it's made our commutes much harder, it's required more shoveling, exertion and planning to get from point A to point B. It's been really tough. 

It's important to be mindful though of how much more it's costing us. The lost business that leads to lost jobs, the added costs to our cities and towns that will lead to less resource available for our schools, roads, and infrastructure later on; the people who are already vulnerable - the elderly, individuals with disabilities or the homeless who are more acutely affected by several feet of snow. It's a heavy toll.

What scares me is that this is the reality we're going to have to deal with for years to come. We're going to see more extremity and instability in our weather as a result of our changing climate. You can't say one snow storm is caused by global warming, but absolutely is it the case that some of the variation in our weather can be attributed to our warming climate.

cold weather global warming explanation
Union of Concerned Scientists
This in part is due to more instability in our polar vortex allowing cold arctic air to flow further south, interacting with warmer air which can cause severe snow. There are fluctuations in our jet stream that have to be studied further that impacted by our warming planet and will affect the changes in our weather. 

To be honest - I have a hard time grasping what I just wrote. I think one of the fundamental problems is that climate change is complex and doesn't make sense to the majority of Americans. This allows folks who are opposed to further regulations of fossil fuels to have a lot of wiggle room to shape policy.

The problem is that this isn't a theoretical argument anymore. I write this because I'm scared. The greater Boston area hasn't had the infrastructure to whether this storm. It's been and will continue to be extremely costly for us. Many areas are dealing with coastal flooding from rising sea levels and drought due to a warming temperature. The effects of climate change are happening right now and we're on track to have them get worse. This very well will be the most destructive force our civilization will have to face and we're not doing much about it. Ted Cruz is now head of the Senate subcommittee on space and science - we're not poised to stop burning massive amounts of fossil fuels. 

So again, it's not hopeless. Especially with the realities that we're now seeing on the ground we can get mobilized to make change. However, we need to ensure that we're making the connection between the extreme weather patterns and our changing climate. We need to make that link even if it's complex grasp and we need to ensure the media is as well.

From there we can continue to take some steps to address the reality of what's happening. Our voice needs to mobilize into collective pressure that is salient to our elected officials. Raise your voice and let's make the changes that need to happen so we can stem the rising temperature of our planet and it's shifting climate.