What Can We Do?

This summer we are watching on the news, and experiencing ourselves, the smoke from the wildfires in Canada.  As Merlin showed us during the service on July 16, the smoke from these wildfires is continually trailing across the US, wherever the winds take it.  This smoke is composed of particulate matter, very fine particles as small as 1/10 the diameter of a human hair.  These particles enter our bodies and irritate our lungs and heart, and are especially harmful to those with heart conditions, allergies and lung conditions.  We are often alerted not to spend time outdoors due to poor air quality.

As we all have undoubtedly heard, these wildfires began months before their usual season, due to extreme heat and drought in western Canada.  These conditions don’t only exist in Canada, they are also being experienced in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.  We’ve talked before about how changing weather patterns are causing these intense weather conditions: extreme variations in rainfall in which some areas get no rain and others get more than the land can handle; more severe hurricanes; mild winters which lead to stress on our northern forests and problems with disease-carrying insects; warm summers which stress people and animals, bird and fish populations; rivers drying up; and flooding in areas of the US and Europe.  Rain is much less predictable, as witnessed by the western US having many years of drought and now dealing with flooding of large areas which also affects their ability to grow our food.

Scientists have realized in the last few years that climate change is happening at a much faster speed than they had predicted.  As the glaciers disappear and great pieces of them fall into the oceans and the permafrost disappears at a faster rate, the temperature is also increasing at a faster rate.  Now, with huge areas of the earth’s forests burning, the fires add to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and those trees no longer exist to capture carbon dioxide from the air. It will take many decades for those trees to be replaced by others.  So, our earth is experiencing a 1-2 punch: 1-adding to the carbon dioxide; and 2-being able to capture less carbon dioxide than before.

The result of all this is that we have less time to change our ways of living that contribute to the problem. High levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are the cause of this changing climate. Pay close attention to ways that you personally can reduce the carbon dioxide you release into the air, and support organizations and political candidates who will support the large-scale programs which are needed to reduce the release of greenhouse gases.

– Submitted by the Climate Care Team