Year 4, Month 12, Day 9: There Is Danger At Your Door

The St. Louis Times-Dispatch gives some space to a former denier named Larry Lazar, who seems to have seen the light:

Five years ago, I was a climate change denier.

Now, I give talks in the St. Louis area about the dangers of climate change and our obligation to do something about it — like speaking out for strict limits on carbon. I changed my views on climate change because my dad taught me to pay attention to the world around me … and it’s obvious that something is wrong with the weather. It’s like the weather is on steroids — and getting worse.

The record heat wave in March 2012, when the temps in the high 80s made it feel like it was July, comes to mind.

My dad and I talked about that heat wave while picking apples for cider a few weeks ago. He reminded me that he lost his apple crop that year for the first time in 40 years. We went on to talk about how the weather has changed over his 85 years, especially in recent decades.

My dad is 85 years old and still spends his most of his day outside: cutting wood, working in the garden, hunting and fishing, and trimming Christmas trees (only $10, except the church, they get theirs for free). When you are outside as much as my dad, it is obvious and undeniable that the weather is changing. It hits you over the head — again and again.

“I don’t know what it is, but something isn’t right,” he told me.

Good luck to you, buddy. November 27:

It is only because of our terribly irresponsible news media and the corporate interests for whom they speak that there is any significant climate change denial in America. For decades, the oil and coal industries have funded conservative “think tanks” which supply broadcast and print outlets with authoritative-sounding pundits who stridently reject the work of climatologists, arguing instead that we as a nation need to continue our profligate overconsumption of fossil fuels. It is surely just a coincidence that these companies continue to enjoy the highest profit margins in history.

While the luck of geography has ensured that the US hasn’t been hit as hard by climate change as some other places on the planet, this state of affairs won’t go on much longer. The devastating storms and droughts of the past year are signs that our century-long fossil-fuel binge is having its inevitable consequences. By now, a warming Earth is unavoidable, but we can still make a profound difference to the lives of our descendants by acknowledging the reality of human-caused climate change, and working actively to mitigate its effects.

Warren Senders

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