Year 2, Month 2, Day 27: Some Days These Letters Are No Damned Fun At All

I’ve never written to the National Geographic before. Strange, since that magazine was an important part of my childhood and the general growth of my environmental awareness. They ran an article on the Zwiers study which triggered this letter. In addition, I mention the NSIDC report on melting permafrost, which you should not read if you want a good night’s sleep; this is about as bad a piece of news as we’ve had in quite a while, which is really saying something.

Mailed Feb. 18:

The Zwiers study confirms the link between global warming and extreme weather events worldwide, but this is unlikely to change many minds among the climate-change deniers, who are now so ideologically wedded to their position that no amount of evidence will suffice. Especially in light of the recent reports from the National Ice and Snow Data Center indicating rapid and irreversible melting of a majority of the Earth’s permafrost (with consequent release of massive amounts of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere), such a failure of understanding is a tragedy. The next centuries will witness unimaginable disruption of ecosystems, agriculture, and infrastructure; to deny reality at this moment is to lose our last chance of mitigating some of the damage before it overwhelms us. Once, our nation honored scientific achievement and inquiry. Now, it seems, we enshrine delusion and magical thinking, to the detriment of the lives of future generations.

Warren Senders

Month 8, Day 1: Get Ready For Severe Disaster Fatigue.

The LA Times had an article about the floods in Pakistan. Naturally, nobody mentioned that climate change is one of the primary triggering factors in such extreme weather events.

The tragic flooding in Pakistan’s Northwest territories, like the 128-degree temperatures recently recorded elsewhere in that beleaguered country, are a symptom of a larger and much more profound problem: the increase in extreme weather events brought on by global climate change. Across the USA we are seeing unexpected flooding and storms, with attendant injuries, loss of lives, and property damage. While it is not possible to state that a particular storm was “caused by global warming,” scientists have been predicting for decades that the burgeoning greenhouse effect would trigger more storms, more rain, more snow, more damage. Now it’s happening, just as we were told it would. Even as headlines blaring the news of catastrophic weather everywhere around the world appear ever more frequently, our news media fail to connect the dots. Because we have failed to do something about climate change, climate change is doing something about us.

Warren Senders