Year 4, Month 5, Day 10: You Need A Hug

The Berkshire Eagle assesses climatic impact on the economy of Western Massachusetts:

By the end of the century, the Berkshire County economy — much like the global economy — may be forever altered by the effects of climate change. Some local economic changes have already begun in response to impacts expected from climate change in the coming decades.

Land-use planners and policy specialists in the insurance industry are preparing for changes likely to be brought on by warmer temperatures and more severe weather events. Local farmers and business owners are already looking to their future, many doubtful about the climate change concept, but still determined to build revenue streams that will withstand climate changes or compensate for weather-generated losses.

In one example of a specific local economic effect likely to result from climate change, Cameron Wake, associate professor with the Institute of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University of New Hampshire and a lead author of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists, had a dire assessment of the local ski industry: “By the end of the century, the only ski areas that remain viable [in the Northeast] will be in the western mountains of Maine.”

It’s one of my favorite parts of the world. April 27:

The Berkshires aren’t alone in experiencing the accelerating impact of climate change, a real-world crisis that even the most vehement denialists cannot ignore much longer. Between dwindling snowpacks, multi-year droughts, unseasonal monsoons, and the arrival of invasive insect pests, this planetary phenomenon manifests itself at local and regional levels in ways that will bring significant economic, social and environmental effects. There may be temporary benefits for a few species here and there, a few communities poised to take advantage of short-term circumstances — but the future offered by our radically transforming climate is almost entirely bleak.

Are there positive aspects to this slo-mo disaster? Only that we humans may, at long last, fully grasp that our individual and collective behaviors have effects far distant in space and time. The lives of our descendants hinge on our recognition that the greenhouse effect renders political and cultural distinctions utterly and finally irrelevant.

Warren Senders