Plumbers are a conservative lot. I was stunned to read on a plumbers’ forum that the jury is still out on global warming, though they seemed partially convinced that the ozone layer was depleted.
And global warming is a bad description of what’s actually going on. Climate change would be a more accurate term to use.
It’s quite nice here today. There’s a crystal clear sky and not a hint of wind, but the temperature hasn’t yet risen to an uncomfortable level. The nights are very cool. But it’s August, in what is arguably the warmest summer on record. Well, it hasn’t been the warmest here – I remember far hotter summer days. One year, I didn’t have much work, and I spent about three months at the local beach on a man-made lake sunning myself and reading, checking the answering machine for work every two hours. It was over a hundred then, virtually every day of the summer.
Global weirding, that’s what it is. No Hot August Nights here this year.
So I’m sitting here thinking about the weather to come. Will the next few years bring drought to the area? We depend on potato farming in a big way here and changes in climate could destroy the whole industry. Most of the water comes from the underground aquifer, but the water in the aquifer comes from mountain snowmelt. A too-warm winter and the water levels will drop, and have already been dropping in past years.
In a drought year across the U.S., Idaho can supply as much as 80% of the nation’s potatoes. But the weirding could pose a serious impact to the growing season. This year, we’ve had an inordinate number of storms, many evenings of wind, thunder, lightning. And lightning has the unwanted effect of firing up sage brush, causing range fires. Whether an overabundance of rain in this desert area combined with warmer overall temperatures could destroy the potato industry is something I cannot say, but I can say that it worries me. After all, my own income depends on the overall economy of the state. And, further, I have empathy with those around me.
But what of the rest of the nation, or the world? We’re constantly seeing disasters that seem unusual and unprecedented, with severe loss of life and destruction of property. How much climate change will it take before the return of the Dust Bowl or worse?
The change has been happening for some time, but it could accelerate. Are we past the point of no return, the tipping point where nothing we can do will prevent permanent disaster? I hope not. But the lick-and-a-promise nature of solutions are surely not enough to allay my fears. The short-sightedness of businessmen who see nothing but the immediate and pressing day-to-day financial concerns should be doing everything in their power to change to greener sources of energy and better systems of producing power.
Listen, plumbers, tea partiers, Congressmen, Senators! Climate change is real and it’s deadly. The science is in. We are causing it. We are responsible. Sticking your heads in the sand is not an acceptable option, nor is abject denial. The earth is not 6,000 years old. Jesus can’t come back since he was never here. Superman isn’t going to save us. Wake up.