This started out as a comment, but it grew to be more. It’s incredibly hot outside. I was out there early this morning to hose down the deck both to clean it and water the flowerboxes. I also put out drinking water for the squirrels and birds.
It’s obviously not unusual to get hot spells in the summer, but these hot spells are hotter and last longer than the ever did in the past. We might get a couple of day in July where we almost hit 100 degree (39 C). Now, we get hot spells in the middle of the winter which is weird.
I’m looking for something positive, so I’m open to suggestions. But I know some climate scientists and a few meteorologists — and they believe we have warmed up even more than we’ve heard. Also, the heating up isn’t the same everywhere. It’s patchy.
For example, Switzerland’s temperature has gone up much more than the U.K.’s while around here, it has gone up a bit less. On our west coast — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Washington State, and more — the temperature has not only gone higher, but the rain has stopped. It’s unbelievably hot out there. Granted it was hot already in parts of the west, but now temperatures you only saw in desert states — like Arizona — are cooking San Francisco. Temperatures in the 100s were unusual. Now, when it DROPS BELOW 100, that’s news.
Such temperatures were non-existent in places like Oregon, Washington, and northern California. These areas were cooled by prevailing winds and ocean breezes — but those winds don’t prevail anymore. The oceans are warmer, especially the Atlantic. If you grew up along this coast, you know what the water was like when we were young — and how different it is now.
We can quibble about exactly how much higher the temperature has gone, but regardless, we are seeing broiling hot summers in places like Mongolia and the Yukon (Canada), not to mention the disintegration of the ice sheets.
How much is too much?
Half of this country is on fire. Another quarter is flooded. We have storms that are so big they start out in the Pacific and go all the way across the continent to the Atlantic. That’s a gigantic storm. We used to call them “once in a century” storms, but now we get dozens of them all year round.
Ironically, up here in the northeast, we have had less destructive weather than out west and down south. We’ve been lucky but I doubt our luck will last indefinitely. Boston is below sea level because the coast was originally water and marshes. These areas were drained in the 19th and early 20th centuries, so from water they came and back to water they will go.
We can see what is going on. The fires. The parched earth. The floods. The death of the ice sheets. The change in the prevailing winds. The warming of the oceans. The changes in bird and animal life because of the loss of their habitat. I think quibbling about this is why we aren’t doing anything about it. The earth has changed and keeps changing — not in a good way.
This mess didn’t start 20 years ago, either. We’ve been cutting down forests, trashing our oceans, and killing off our wildlife as long as we’ve had the weaponry and trash to do it. Hell, before we were Homo Sapiens we killed off the Woolly Mammoths — and that was using stone spears.
What we need to do is agree that whatever we did and however it happened, IT HAPPENED. We need to do something about it and we need to do it soon, not “someday we’ll get around to it.” If we don’t agree on this basic issue — that this damage was caused by humans and humans need to fix it — it won’t get fixed. Ever.
Whether it’s in smaller or larger temperature increments, we are still going to make this planet unlivable. Piece by piece, as the rains don’t fall and the temperatures are too high for the plants we used to grow, there will be hunger. Meanwhile, many edible fish can’t live in these warming oceans. We’ve already killed off a BILLION BIRDS in the past 50 years and are killing millions more each year.
Arguing about details is stealing precious time and making too many people think “Oh, it really isn’t such a big deal.”
It is IS a big deal and has been for a long time.
This is scary stuff. Many of us are sure we won’t live to see how this ends, but I know — reports or not — if we don’t stop destroying the forests and filling our oceans with garbage, those two things alone will do us in.
I know I sound preachy, but this preys on my mind.
We have to fix it. Because we broke it.