It was bad enough when we recently discovered our state DNR had stripped the words “climate change” from its website and added wording that led readers to believe there is controversy in the climate research world about its cause – the only real controversy is political, not scientific. A little later we learned that our Public Service Commission had done the same. Now, we find the new Trump administration erased climate change from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website and has silenced EPA staff. Perhaps Orwell should have titled his book “2016” instead of “1984”.

We depend on the stability of our world’s climate. Actual global data says that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, exceeding the record set in 2015 which in turn exceeded the one set in 2014. If, like me, you’ve gardened for over forty years here in central Wisconsin then we’ve both seen our growing season expand by a month. Nice for now, but Texas weather is in our forecast. Scientists tell us the Arctic sea ice really is shrinking. They project it will be entirely gone during the summer in a couple of decades. Imagine the impact on our climate when that happens. Glacier National Park will be Glacier-less National Park in just a few years. Our planet’s weather is becoming more extreme inflicting serious flood damage here in Wisconsin, Louisiana and around the world as atmospheric greenhouse gas levels rise faster and faster – now at a clip of around 3 parts per million annually. The evidence of climate change is all around us, is real and is profoundly disturbing. Censorship and doubt mongering only leads to procrastination and to inaction this world cannot afford.

If we were rightly angry when we found out the tobacco industry was dishonestly paying marketing firms to create doubt about the health risks to smokers, then we should be even more upset by our own State and Federal government’s attempts to censor and create doubt about climate change, and we should tell them so. We can no longer sit around and talk about what’s happening over a friendly cup of coffee. Isn’t it time to put our cup down, get up, break through the “silence” barrier, and stand up for scientific instead of “alternative” facts? Our Democracy as well as the sustainability of our one and only planet depends on us right now.

We are the Rib Mountain – Marshfield Chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. We meet February 11th at 11am, The Pines apartment complex, 3700 Mount View Ave in Schofield. Someone will meet you at the door and take you to our meeting room. We build political will for a livable world – and we stand up for the truth! We’d love to meet you there.

(Dan Barth, Rib-Mountain-Mosinee branch of Citizen’s Climate Lobby)