More people here where I live in the Texas oil patch of West Texas who have been unwilling to admit climate change science are beginning to question the position they have held in the past. They are still few, but they are starting to think that maybe they have been wrong. It is very difficult to ignore the devastation to climate that we are experiencing. All we West Texans have to do is open the front door of our homes and there it is.
Herrahsdad (From the Huffington Post comment section)
On a spring day in 1934, my maternal grandmother gave birth to a dark-haired boy, a son who became the last of nine children. The new addition to the family was home-delivered by my grandfather who was taking a break from his daily chores on the family farm. He was an ex-cowboy, experienced at delivering foals and calves on the range, and it was because of this limited knowledge he believed he had the skills to muddle through the human procedure. The farm had been built on an isolated patch of land in the West Texas Panhandle, so the idea of relying on a doctor to deliver the child was out of the question. A medical caregiver or midwife just wasn’t near enough to reach the home in time.
The delivery went without a hitch, and as momentous as the birth was for the family, it was quickly overshadowed by a much darker event that shaped my mother’s views about weather for the rest of her life.
Shortly after cleaning and swaddling the baby and laying him in his mother’s arms, my grandfather herded the rest of the children into the bedroom, and ordered the smallest siblings to hide behind the bed. Within minutes, the sky turned dark and hail began to fall, the pieces of ice so large that many of them were larger than softballs. My grandfather was forced to hold a blanket over the broken panes of a window that was near the bed, thus preventing the hail from striking my grandmother and her newborn baby.
The roar of an F5 tornado, which had struck the farm without warning, soon muffled the sound of the hail pounding the exterior walls. Within a matter of minutes, the twister had destroyed everything the family had worked years to build. Horses, cattle, and mules were lost (the body of one mule was found two miles from the barn), their crops had been destroyed and every building―including the barn―and every tree within miles had been leveled. The only structure left standing was the bedroom where the family had taken shelter.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for them. In less than a month, a two-day dust storm destroyed the topsoil of the High Plains area, ushering in an era that would be known as the Dust Bowl days. The farm fields of West Texas were hit especially hard and soon the family was forced to relocate, hoping the move would generate new work for my grandfather. But work was scarce, and less than two years later, at the age of seven, my mother and her older siblings were forced to drop out of school and help my grandfather pick cotton.
I heard the details of those struggles many times when I was a child. My mother and her siblings relived those events each time they were reunited during their adult lives. Even as a child, it was easy to tell the experience had left them with scars that would never heal.
Severe weather can produce dire consequences, and to tinker with the delicate ecological balance needed to sustain our planet is misguided at best. The worst case scenarios say it could prove to be suicidal for future generations.
This today from the NOAA:
In more than 117 years of records, July 2012 stands alone as not only the hottest July on record in the lower 48 United States, but also the hottest of any month on record in that time span. To put it another way, July 2012 was the hottest of more than 1,400 months that we've gone through since 1895.And this from James Hansen of NASA:
The report released by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Wednesday says that July 2012 surpassed the previous record hottest month set in July 1936. That year was during the middle of the very dry and hot Dust Bowl era. Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro (Twitter) says, "Exceeding July 1936 at the peak of the Dust Bowl heat -- is BIG."
James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warned Wednesday that human-made climate change could lead to the deaths of millions of species.I don't think the message could be clearer. If we don't take steps to begin reversing the damage that has been done to our planet by carbon emissions, we will suffer ecological destruction that will produce consequences far more serious than those suffered by my mother and her family. And I personally know how much damage they suffered because of those events.
“If we continue with business as usual this century, we will drive to extinction 20 to 50 percent of the species on the planet,” he told Current TV host Eliot Spitzer. “We are pushing the system an order of magnitude faster than any natural changes of climate in the past.”
In a recently published study, Hansen and his team concluded that the drastic increase in record high temperatures in recent years could be directly traced to human-made climate change, particularly the increase in greenhouse gases.
It's heartbreaking to think about catastrophic events happening to my children and grandchildren...especially when I know the suffering will be caused by a few greedy, arrogant people who will do anything to get rich.
2:31 AM PT: I just read James Hepburn's excellent piece on climate change and I wanted to share one of his comments:
"I'm scared for my children. I mean that most sincerely. I'm really scared for my children."
5:58 AM PT: Thanks for the recs and the wonderful comments. I'm encouraged by the stories you have posted.
I've tried to stay with this while I worked on another project, but the sun just came up and I'm tired and so it's off to bed.