Hot news is bad news

Posted on | August 15, 2011 | No Comments

Global temperatures for July 2011 were the seventh hottest since record-keeping began in the 19th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported today. The month was the fourth hottest on record for the US, with 41 states experiencing hotter than normal temperatures and two — Texas and Oklahoma — suffering the hottest. If one of the newer presidential candidates imagines that he can pray his way out of climate change, it merits noting that Dallas exceeded 100F for 30 of the 31 days of July.

California was among the seven states west of the Rockies to have normal or cooler-than-normal temperatures. Thanks to unusual Pacific currents, we’ve had a good water year after a decade of largely bad ones. While some heat is forecast, so far our weather has been balmy. Why worry? The best non-scientific answer to that question may be found in this lecture, posted by WaterWired, by philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore

Moore argues that in spite of valiant efforts by scientists, most of us are behaving as if climate change isn’t happening. Why, when we’ve been told (and told, and told, and told)? Her answer is startling: Because we the public haven’t decided that it’s wrong to wreck the world. She begins her lecture, “What I’m going to do is to try to defend this premise: That taking whatever we need from the world to support our comfortable lives now and in particular degrading the rivers, creating unreliable fresh water supplies, impoverishing the ocean, creating an unstable climate. All these sorts of things I want to say are not worthy of us as moral beings.”

What to do? There are so many easy, immediate things that any homeowner can do right away. Don’t rip out the unused display lawn next year. Do it now. Don’t check the sprinklers next month. Do it now. Phenomenal amounts of greenhouse gases are created generating the energy to move water to Southern California, pressurize pipes, mow lawns, truck away clippings. Remove what lawn you don’t actively use. Mow what you keep less often and compost the clippings. Don’t put in a pool, put in solar panels and join a pool. Phenomenal reductions in green house gas emissions are possible by making simple, immediately achievable changes. Until then, none of us need to say that we don’t care about wrecking the world. Our gardens are saying that for us.

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