The die-hard gardeners among us will remember the hard frosts that used to put an end to our toil the first weekend in September. Since1975, when I first turned a shovel, we’ve seen our gardening continue deeper and deeper into the month until this past year when the frost Grinch finally landed on our dwindling tomatoes – and lightly so – the very last day of the month. Great for my love of a good BLT; not so great for the planet. Even here in our nation’s north, climate change is real.

Though we have no glaciers in Wisconsin, those who do are watching them melt. Last month National Geographic ran an article reporting that scientists predict we’ll have ice-free Arctic summers by 2040. Remember when explorers risked everything to get to the North Pole? Soon we’ll be able to paddle there in our kayak! Yes, the climate really is changing.

If you haven’t already, take a look at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s website on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Keep in mind that prior to the onset of fossil fuel-fired industry CO2 levels hung around 280 parts per million. Three years ago we broke the 400 ppm level for the first time. The next year we did it for three consecutive months. Last year we topped 400 for 6 months, starting in March, and this year we were a couple of parts over 400 in January, and will probably stay there for 8 or nine months.

Thus, the earth heats up and the climate gets weirder and weirder. Fourteen of the warmest 15 years on record have occurred since the beginning of this young century. Two years ago we set a global heat record, last year we broke it handily. This year is already looking like it will be even hotter. Climate change is happening.

We watch the dismal drama unfold in Europe as migrant after migrant from the Middle East shows up pleading for shelter. The confusion and turmoil there reflects what’s happening at our southern border. Imagine when millions of men, women and children trudge inland, forced out of their flooded, lowland homes as the rising seas advance. I’m guessing they will not be welcomed with open arms. Our military foresees real and serious conflict.

Fortunately, the Citizen’s Climate Lobby has a legislative proposal that, if adopted, would dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate innovation and growth in the renewable energy world, and improve our individual and national economies to boot.

It’s called Fee and Dividend. The Fee puts a long overdue wellhead charge on the CO2 pollution created when fossil fuels burn, and returns it all as a Dividend to every citizen of this country. The details go beyond the scope of this article but the plan is designed to be acceptable to market loving, regulation mistrusting conservatives, progressive environmentalists, as well as those of us paying close attention to our wallets. We are about working with one another in an atmosphere of mutual respect. We have gotten beyond partisan, political labels as we strive to preserve this miraculous, life sustaining planet together. Neat!

If you want to learn more, but especially if you are ready to take action on climate change, I have two actions:

  • Join with us this Saturday, March 12 at 11am.
  • 3700 Mount View Avenue in Schofield/ Weston
  • The meeting room is quiet and comfortable.
  • Coffee and a snack included.
  • We need your ideas and energy.
  • Download, sign and return the attached petition asking Congressman Sean Duffy to meet with representatives of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

Contact Dan Barth at 715-630-1949/dmbarth57@gmail.com