The longer it takes us to say ‘Climate Change’ the longer it will take us to adapt to it. Whether or not we, or our government agencies, call a this warming in our climate ‘Climate Change’ matters because in the scenario where we don’t call it “Climate Change” we just keep denying the implications of warming and deal ad hoc with the changes—until they overwhelm us. In the scenario where we call Climate Change what it is our government and the agencies that will be responsible adapting and addressing it can begin their work with the critical public understanding behind them.
It’s not just semantics. It seems we are treating the word ‘Climate Change’ like we treated the word ‘genocide.’ When we witness mass killings overseas and don’t use the word ‘genocide’ we don’t have to act. Those poor people. We just stand by. If we say ‘genocide’ we have to marshal our troupes and begin action to prevent the mass killing of people because of ethnic cleansing—like we didn’t say until very late in the Rwandan Genocide.
When our government and media don’t say ‘Climate Change’ they can delude themselves of their responsibility. Our growing seasons change and a myriad Likely Changes occur each year in our area and the economically challenged, businesses that rely on snow and those desperate to find shelter in a heat wave can all go fend for themselves. So, many want to be very careful about not saying ‘Climate Change’.
Yes, the winters are getting warmer, sort of The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new planting zones map suggests that much of the country, including our part, may have a longer growing season. Gardeners might discover that not only can we safely plant some varieties before Memorial Day, but we might discover that some of our annuals — if we dare leave them in planters — might survive the winter and come back. Holy North Carolina! The shift in planting zones means that in many places the average coldest winter temperature has risen a few degrees. Curiously, the USDA was careful not to suggest that these carefully researched shifts say anything at all about climate change. I called in to a phone press conference with four Cornell University professors who were puzzled by the USDA stance. (February 21, 2012) Democrat and Chronicle
And yet, until ‘Climate Change’ is used folks will go on as they always have treating our environment as if our environment can absorb all our greenhouse gases, our pollution, and a the same time do the impossible: keep our environment the same, just as we like it.