Climate change no longer resides solely in scientific journals. An article in Sunday’s Washington Post illustrates the growing evidence of local impacts felt by nature, cities, and businesses.
The article, “On the Move to Outrun Climate Change” is based on an upcoming report by University of Texas at Austin professor Camille Parmesan. She compares the results of more than 800 peer-reviewed studies on the effect of climate change on nature.
Parmesan is able to relate the following trends caused by human-propelled global warming, among others:
- Butterflies are voting with their wings, abandoning southern Europe and flying north to the more amenable climes of Finland. Species impacted include the Speckled Wood and Orange-tip.
- Ski-lift operators in the West are lobbying for leases on federal land higher up in the Rockies, trying to outclimb snowlines that creep steadily upward.
- Polar bears along Hudson Bay are losing weight and declining in number as the ice shelf melts and their feeding season shrinks.
- Power planners in the Pacific Northwest, which gets three-quarters of its electricity from hydroelectric dams, are meeting in brainstorming sessions and making contingency plans for early snow melts, increased wintertime rainfall, lower summertime river flows and electricity shortfalls during hotter, drier summers.
- On Cape Sable, on the far southwestern edge of Florida, boaters, sportsmen and scientists have watched as a rising sea level has transformed a freshwater marsh into a portion of the sea.
University of Miami professor Harold Wanless warns:
We’re not talking about global warming as something that will happen in the future. Its happening right now. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t be able to put Cape Sable together again.
In short, you can run from global warming but you can’t hide from it. You can only prevent it from getting much, much worse by swift action now.