Choices for a Happy, Healthy Planet

  • Sun and Water

After a bitterly cold winter, a pretty chilly spring and what seems to many of us here in Wisconsin a darn mild summer, global climate change may not be our most pressing concern.  I, for one, find it easy to mistake my home for the whole world, so it came as a surprise to discover that globally 2014 ranks as the fourth hottest year on record, at least through the end of June, and that many scientists are betting we’ll end up breaking the all time record before the year is out. Globally, May and June were the hottest months since 1880 when we started keeping records.

For several months running our atmosphere has been above 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide – the first time in at least 800,000 years according to Antarctic ice cores.  Many coastal cities in the United States now experience regular tidal flooding in low lying neighborhoods, while Florida real estate agents struggle with the ethical quandary of just what to tell prospective coastal property buyers about the wisdom of making such a purchase.

Methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide, is being belched out of the thawing tundra, and as the oceans warm there is growing concern about frozen methane on the sea beds that, if melted, could threaten something like the extinction that ended the Permian era.  Studies indicate that a lot of the warming is indeed taking place in the oceans, and the western Antarctic ice sheet is irreversibly melting.

Those of us who’ve been gardening in Middle Wisconsin since the 70’s know we’ve added three weeks to the growing season, and UW scientists verify it.  The deer ticks love our warmer climate, and we struggle with Lyme’s disease.

As a lover of trout fishing I hate to think about what the future will mean to our sleek and beautiful Wisconsin brookies.

One could go on and on.  Perhaps you know all this better than I.  If global climate change concerns you; if you have children, maybe even grandchildren who will live in Wisconsin late this century when our climate is projected to be like that of Dallas, Texas; if you can’t imagine what the 9 billion human beings of 2050 will do as more and more of today’s dry land submerges and we squeeze into larger, hotter, more congested cities; then, perhaps you will join Dan Dieterich and me for a discussion about climate change, and what we can do to prevent it.

Dan will present a program called “Climate Change: Causes, Consequences & Countermeasures” at 6:30 PM on Thursday, September 18th, in the Yawkey Room, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wausau.  As one, sad letter in the Wausau Daily Herald recently revealed: to see and do nothing leaves us hopeless.  But, all is not hopeless if we act together.  Come and participate!  Then make your own choice about action.