Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Haven't Seen Anything Like it

Folks in these parts are talking about the unusually wet summer with Thunderstorms and Big Rains we’ve received. It seems like we have had one deluge and one intense storm after another.

Just last week (July 24-25), we had 13 inches of Rain in 25 hours. During the Night, we had continual Lightning and Thunder with close Strikes all around. Then July 27-28, we got another 2 ¾ inches.

With these 2 rains, flooding has hit places that had not been touched in recent memory. Folks had water in basements. Gardens, Roads, Ponds were stretched and many took hits. This time of Storms was coupled with 3 weeks of heavy rains and storms in June.

Just today, Melanie and I noticed that the ground was wet and soggy everywhere we went. Sometimes we could hear a “sucking sound”.

During these past few years, I have visited with many people who make their homes in other parts of this Beautiful Earth. Similar themes resound. Weather Patterns have changed. Storms seem more frequent and more severe. Winters don't seem to last as long. Migratory Birds are sighted far out of range, sparking trips by enthusiastic Birders to remote spots. It's easy to get caught up on the details and to forget to poke a little deeper on the "why" of these things.

People talk about these changes sometimes in vigorous and at other times hushed tones. Often the conversation touches on awe. Other times it is inconvenience. Sometimes there are glimpses of fear. What is going on?

"Global Warming" comes up. Many are quick to discount it, particularly those with vested interests in another agenda or those who prefer not to look at tough questions of life style changes needed by Humans.

But the data on record by scientists worldwide is coming in hard and fast. Global Warming is real and it is happening at a faster pace than originally thought. Those data carefully recorded by scientists are being confirmed by people watching dramatic shifts in weather patterns in the place they call home.

We just received the Summer 2008 issue of the Leopold Outlook, a publication of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. This courageous and insightful publication arises out of the work of esteemed conservationist Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) and is designed to "reaffirm our connections to the land, and to explore what we could do individually and in partnerships to conserve the health of the land that sustains us all" (Buddy Huffaker, Executive Director, page 3).

An article by David Orr strikes a chord. Orr sites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 1000 plus scientists who study climate from positions of authenticity, replicability, data, facts, and logic. This esteemed group, a recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, sites that a hotter world will have many consequences, with rising odds of (page 5):

  • More heat waves and droughts
  • More and larger storms,
  • Bigger hurricanes,
  • Forest dieback,
  • Changing ecosystems,
  • More tropical diseases in formerly temerpate areas,
  • Rising ocean levels probably a lot faster than once thought,
  • Losing many things nature once did for us,
  • Lots of things becoming rare, like Vermont maple syrup,
  • More and nastier bugs,
  • Food shortages from drought, heat and more and nastier bugs,
  • More death from climate driven weather events,
  • Refugees fleeing floods, rising seas, drought, and expanding deserts,
  • International conflicts over energy, food, and water,
  • And eventually, runaway climate change to some new stable state most likely without humans.

Global Warming isn't happening as an accident of Nature. Rather, Global Warming can be traced to one species: Humans. Us. It can be traced to Humans who treat the Earth as object, the Earth as endless resource. It can be traced to Humans who use the Earth and Her resources as if we are independent of Her Laws and as if there will be no consequences of our actions. Global Warming is traced to those industrialized nations whose affluent citizens aspire to a material lifestyle which fulfills their insatiable wants.

O.K. It is easy to point fingers. But it is far more important to look at how our individual actions contribute to Global Warming and take on practices which will change them. That is the bedrock of our decision to move to this little Farm. We want to lessen our footprint on this Earth. We want to develop a more sustainable life style. We want future generations to look back at us and know that in the face of these things, we tried.

Is that easy? No. But we 3 C’s believe it is the foremost work of our time.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I've been reading your blog regularly now and I appreciate your forthright way of writing and connecting. I live in Southern Illinois and had this last set of storms blown down my corn, peppers and make everything a sloppy shoe sucking mess. This growing year has been crazy to say the least. Im glad I dont feel so alone on this subject.