Climate Change: More On The Weather
To the Editor,
Last fall, we wrote a Letter to the Editor on different aspects of climate change, using examples of weather events that were “close to home.” This week, we cannot offer further commentary on local climate matters, without first mentioning California.
Two years ago, the news there was all about Wildfires. The 2.5 million acres destroyed by 7,400 fires in just 12 months: the impact on human health, animal habitats, etc. Never mind the cost of the disasters, rebuilding and difficulty of getting (home) insurance … Today the conversation is all about the Atmospheric River, a 1-in-1,000-year rain event which dumped over 12 inches on UCLA in a day. Some estimates project the state will suffer 8 trillion gallons of precipitation when all is said and done.
This is a key aspect of climate change. It’s not simply about the weather. Weather happens — every day! It’s about the concentration, intensity and severity of weather events and their short- and longer-term impacts.
So what’s been happening in Connecticut? Well, this January was ca nine degrees cooler than 2023, and yet the snow plows were hardly seen. We had ten+ consecutive days without seeing the sun and it’s not been a lot of fun for ice-fisherman or skiers. Our rivers rarely freeze. Of course, you can find snow, particularly out-of-state, but how much of the snow is man-made? How much does snow production push up the cost of ski passes? And what about the impact of the chemicals needed to keep the snow frozen at elevated temperatures?
Many of us are familiar with the work of the wonderful artist David K. Merrill. His work beautifully captures New England landscapes throughout the year. One painting illustrates Newtown residents, happily skating on Hawley Pond. It’s unlikely this could happen safely in recent years. Instead, current residents are faced with views of Canada geese occupying the water. In fact, those of us lucky enough to have ponds in our yards probably wouldn’t have our kids skating on them … the ducks have taken up residence!
In our fall letter, we asked: “So, what can we do? We can’t change the weather, right?” No, but it’s not about today’s weather, it’s about influencing policy decisions that will impact climate trends longer-term.
With the 2024 election coming up, we have an opportunity to influence our politicians, irrespective of party… Don’t forget the excellent template, provided by university student Alexander Diaz, at the first GOP Presidential Primary Debate. We can make his question completely apolitical and ask any candidate: “How will you, in your Leadership Role calm the fears that we don’t care about climate change?” Then, hold them accountable! It’s a straight-forward question and deserves a straight-forward answer … Their answers might influence your vote? Your vote matters!
If you enjoy our articles, or even if you completely disagree, let us know what you think. Send a response to The Newtown Bee.
Do It For Your Grandchildren!
Frank B. Gardner and Neil P. Randle