From Bill Moyers:
Yes, it has been a hard winter for most of us in North America. Drought, heavy snow, and the Polar Vortex all have contributed. Minnesota has experience the 6th coldest meteorological winter on record and Wisconsin the 5th coldest. Yet Alaska, and most of the earth are hotter than average. Globally it has been the 8th warmest winter! See map below. A few weeks ago I heard Mark Seeley from the University of Minnesota, http://www.climate.umn.edu/ speak on climate change. Seeley says that the climate data is, “slapping us in the face” telling us the climate is changing.
Several things he said were new and interesting. First, not all places are experiencing climate change to the same degree. The Southeastern part of the United States has not seen the changes we have experienced in the north. Second, there a latitude bias–The further from the equator the more evidence of change. Third, there is a winter bias, winters are showing more temperature warming. Fourth, the minimum daily temperature is warming more than the high daily temperature. In other words, our night temperatures are warming! Finally, there is more moisture in the air which he says is the “ultimate greenhouse gas.” And more moisture in the air can cause more violent storms.
Unfortunately, the change is happening so fast we will have to adapt quickly. We need to limit the carbon we are pumping into the air, and make preparation to prepare for the future.
Minnesota prides itself in being number one, but who would think that land locked Minnesota would top the list in weather insurance claims?? We are all paying for climate change with our health and wallets. Minnesota has become the “New Florida” of the Midwest in paying for weather disasters. The new numbers from 2013 bring Minnesota into the top three states in the United States for catastrophic weather losses. AND…Insurance rates in Minnesota have increased 267% since 1997 according to Bob Johnson of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.
The tornadoes in Illinois probably bumped Minnesota out of the number one spot for 2013, but the trend continues, and the frequency of extreme rains and hail is one of the triggers of insurance rate increases for Minnesota.
The changes in climate are happenings faster than we have ever seen, and it is clear we are changing the composition of the atmosphere according to Meteorologist Paul Huttner on Minnesota Public Radio.
Yes, we are already paying enormous costs because of the changes in our atmosphere and those that pollute should be paying their fair share. Polluters should be responsible for paying a fee for their contribution of carbon entering the atmosphere. This is a global problem. Minnesota, and the United States together with the EU, need to take leadership to work with the entire world to do what we can to mitigate the climate effects we are seeing. And we should all strive to reduce our individual pollution footprint. Our health and the health of our earth depend on an enormous cooperative effort.
Also, see below the number one catastrophic disaster for the world. It will surprise you:
Climate change is real, human activity is causing it, and with all of us taking simple actions we can make a big difference. Below are my suggestions for a new commitment to our earth, our children, and to our own health!
My top TEN suggestions for a happier healthier 2014:
- Always turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use. For me this is a constant effort because I love light during the winter!
- Drive less: Walk, bike, ride share, Carpool, combine errands, and take public transport.
- Reduce two-cycle engine pollution: Add more garden and pollinator friendly plants to reduce your lawn mowing, shovel snow by hand, and choose silent sports. Polluting our air is not cool!!
- Purchase products made from recycled materials. This saves energy, trees, water and natural resources. Recycled paper products are the easiest to find.
- Reduce or eliminate your use of pesticides, especially Neonicotinoids. You, your pets, birds and butterflies will be much healthier.
- Reduce or eliminate beef from your diet. Producing beef uses lots of energy!
- Recycle all plastics, glass and metal cans, and of course paper. According to TerraCycle 84% of household waste can be recycled
- Turn down the thermostat and survey your home for ways it can be more efficient. Schedule an energy audit from your local power company.
- Read Labels: Never purchase or use hand wash or cleaning products with Triclosan. There is evidence they are hormone disrupters and they concentrate in our lakes and streams. Change your cleaning products to reduce chemicals in your home. Baking soda and vinegar can clean almost anything! This is a link to make your own products: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/view-document.html?gid=11368
- Finally, work to elect leaders that believe in Climate change.
http://mashable.com/2013/10/22/reduce-carbon-footprint/ What you can do for climate change
We are all paying the cost carbon pollution with our health, our taxes, our climate, the loss of wildlife and our insurance. I am posting this excellent video in honor the Cost of Carbon week that has just concluded.
The National Research Council is pleased to present this video that explains how scientists have arrived at the state of knowledge about current climate change and its causes.