Climate change rarely becomes a headline story. But it’s always in the background, and in this political year, moving toward the forefront, especially with the latest report from two U.S. government agencies that last year was the second hottest globally on record, and the decade just ended was the hottest, ever. Climate activist Dr. Jeri Fink of Bellmore, New York (although snowbirding right now in Los Angeles) writes in this Boomer Opinion piece from an interesting perspective: that Climate Change is not all Bad News.
I never thought I would be a snowbird. Armed with a doctor’s warning, about with flu, and aching winter joints, I fled.
Most New York snowbirds head to Florida or the Carolinas. I went to the “Golden State”— California.
I arrived after the fire season but in the middle of the devastating Australian fires. There has been enormous empathy in California for what has been going on Down Under. California has always been a leader in environmental standards. Now in fact the state is fighting a White House demanding to lower those standards.
California Governor Gavin Newsom observed, “The President’s stance on climate change is a damn shame.”
In Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agrees. “As rising temperatures, surging seas, and record-breaking natural disasters ravage communities everywhere, the Trump Administration continues to ignore science and put the interests of polluters ahead of the American people.”
The White House rolled back clean air, water, and soil regulations. It left the Paris Accords, ignored climate change mitigation, and made fun of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg (probably because she beat Trump for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year). The president supports the fossil fuel industry, denies the science, and fights climate action around the world.
The people speak a different language.
There are protests, global movements, and millions of students fighting for climate action, along with Elders for Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion, and everyone in-between.
That’s only the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Grassroots actions have restored the ozone layer by depleting, and in many cases, eliminating chemicals that destroyed it. Burning fossil fuels are increasingly replaced by renewables like solar and wind. While luddite Trump rants about wind power causing cancer, people are buying hybrid and electric cars and looking for renewable energy sources in their electric grid.
Then there are the quiet changes. Smaller but just as significant.
People use silicone straws and reusable water bottles. The store on the corner sells socks made from bamboo. Shoppers carry reusable bags. One business specializes in clothing made from recycled plastic bottles (10 bottles make a shirt; 63 make a sweater). There’s even a store that sells sushi made only with sustainable fish.
Change is in the air, from Impossible Burgers (plant-based meat) to Earth-Healthy lifestyles like flexitarian and vegetarian. There are more bicycles, scooters, and electric cars. New polls report that the vast majority of us believe climate change is caused by human activities.
Are we there yet? I think of the fires, horrible storms, rising seas, and floods. Greedy profiteers want to sell coal, oil, and gas to make more money. They tell us that climate change is fake news. Saudi Aramco, one of most profitable companies in the world and its number one producer of greenhouse gases, is valued at over two billion dollars.
Fossil fuel companies are driven by short term profits, not the health of the planet. Fracking is increasing, sales of liquefied gas are exploding, and coal floods the markets. They buy politicians to publicly deny the climate crisis.
Yes, there’s a lot of doom-and-gloom, catastrophic scenarios, and terrifying predictions. But there are also millions of us fighting by eating less meat, adopting Earth-healthy lifestyles, and voting to get deniers out of power.
“Remarkable things in the U.S. are happening at the local level,” Governor Newsom says.
Climate change is not all bad news.