January 10, 2018

Want to know why it’s so freezing cold on the East Coast?

Want to know why it’s so freezing cold on the East Coast?

So cold the ocean’s frozen where it doesn’t normally freeze?

Yup, you know it: a little thing we used to call it Global Warming, until Republicans brought snowballs to work and we had to get more precise. Some call it Global Weirding, now. Most of us know it simply as Climate Change, of course. This rose by any name does one thing: it makes weather more extreme. Here in Colorado, in the dead of winter…all the ski resorts are snowless. They opened months late, and are making what little snow they have. That affects tourism and jobs, of course. Down here in Boulder, it was 60 degrees today. I left all the windows and doors open and wore shorts. A fly buzzed in, in the middle of a meeting. January 9th, and the flies are waking up.

Scientists have been telling us for four decades now: some areas will get colder, some hotter, some rainier, some snowless (even…Vermont!). As the Gulf Stream stops spinning, and the Arctic warms, it pushes cold air northward, and we get the freezing temps we’re seeing (and feeling) on the East Coast.

For now, most of us are fine. We’re netflixing and chilling. We’re trying to create good lives and working hard and being human. That’s what we should be doing. And yet, some of us are feeling the brunt, already, of dead lakes and dead farms and bigger and more frequent hurricanes and monsoons and floods (and, in California, a wildfire season that’s moved into December). And others have lost 100,000s of trees to the ever-range-expanding pine beetle.

But I just returned from the grocery, where I loaded my bike up with organic and local produce. And avocados, in January. After shopping, I stood outside and talked about all this with a friend I’d run into. He’s an avid skier, and he’s shocked. And it only gets worse: the weirding we’re feeling now was created a generation ago. The weirding we’re creating now will be felt decades from now. This train has no brakes, for now.

And so, of course, we need to vote for leadership who will apply the brakes, and treat this as an economy-effecting danger to the commonwealth, as dire as any major war or terrorist threat. In fact, that’s how our military has viewed Climate Change for some time now—until recently, le sigh, when they were advised to stand down by our current Administration.

Here I am, in my nice home, breathing clean air. Want to collapse a housing market? Wildfires. Even those of us who are safe from the flames lose our air quality—this summer, our air was unbreathable, we were advised to keep indoors for days at a time, the mountains that normally loom over our town were invisible, so thick was the acrid smoke from wildfires as far away as Oregon, Washington and California. The food I just bought at my local grocery may not be available in another generation with increasing draughts.

I know you know all this. But knowledge must lead to action. Bike, walk, bus. Vote. Shop organic, avoid plastic, and build your homes “green.” Offset our flights. And most of all, express yourself. Care. Share. Talk. We must be remembered as the generation that woke up, and saved the next generation from ourselves.

Let’s do this.

Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,

Waylon H. Lewis

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