Sorry to be so late, one of those days where life kept cutting in.
July 13, 2011
The big dome of high pressure and heat that squatted for weeks atop the central US like Jabba the Hutt has now begun to slither south and west toward Arizona and, with the cooler weather that’s moved in, we have received some needed rain. My garden, which had become catatonic in the heat despite my watering it faithfully three times a week, now shows signs of renewed activity. As do I.
Although we had a similar, but shorter heat wave here last summer, this has been the longest and hottest I can remember in my thirty years of living here. Perhaps because I am aging, heading for old, it took its toll. Other than sneaking out to the garden or the store early in the day, I’ve pretty much stayed inside, doing my chores early and eating cold meals most of the time, weak-kneed and grateful for my small air conditioner.
Of course, the damage to my small garden is nothing compared to the damage to crops and animals throughout the area. It did start me wondering what caused the prolonged heat and how it might be related to global climate change. Apparently, we can blame La Nina for Jabba the Heat Dome taking up residence over the middle of the country these past few weeks. http://www.columbiamissourian.com/multimedia/graphic/2011/08/03/whats-causing-weather-extremes/
Whether we can blame climate change for the increased frequency of and intensity in El Nino/La Nina cycles is a little less clear. Scientific investigations are still ongoing, http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/lanina_new_faq.html although there are indications that they are. http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/elninolanina.htm
There is, in my mind, no denying the reality of manmade climate change in the thirty years of careful scientific research on the subject, even though research into the specifics of that change goes on.
What is also clear to me, reading around this week, is that the climate change deniers are winning the battle over whether anthropomorphic climate change is “real” and whether we who will be most affected by its reality can change that. Hidden in the fro-fra over the deficit ceiling, the republican-controlled House has been busy since taking over in a little-noticed attempt to strip the EPA of its ability to act on their (court mandated) job of controlling green house gas emissions as well as to weaken the EPA’s abilities to protect air and water quality under the Clean Air Act. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2086421,00.html and http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/02/09/politics-the-republican-war-on-the-epa-begins%E2%80%94but-will-they-overreach/
It’s disheartening that this should be a political issue. That those who see the degradation of the environment and the destruction of global climate change – whether on “the left” or “the right”, whether religious or non-religious – have been induced to participate in rampant name-calling through massive propaganda campaigns by political groups on both sides that are financed by the huge corporations and industries that profit most from being able to ignore those issues here and worldwide.
This is not a left-right issue. It is not a “fundie Christian nuts” versus “liberal Commie Atheists” issue. It involves the world we all share. The Evangelical Environmental Network http://www.creationcare.org/index.php and the Republicans for Environmental Protection http://www.rep.org/ are, as their names imply, groups within the evangelical community and the republican party who are as deeply involved in working to address global warming and environmental degradation as liberal or non-religious groups and there are others.
Many of the Republicans in Congress (and not a few of the Democrats) are now looking around, at the behest of these big money groups, and saying that, in this economy we just can’t afford the “job–killing” costs of cutting CO2 or fighting environmental destruction. I wonder what good they think the jobs created by ignoring these problems will be, if we, our children and our grandchildren can no longer breathe the air, drink the water, or support our species on the land we’ve allowed their ignorance or greed to destroy.
There is less and less time, with each political cycle, to reach across our differences and work together to demand the same from our political establishment. I must confess I’m losing hope that anything constructive can be wrung out of them in time to avoid the tipping points that will plunge us past a point of no return.
Maybe, if I can just keep that image of Jabba the Heat Dome in my mind …
- It’s Official: The GOP Field Will Have No Environmental Defender (treehugger.com)