It’s really nice that poll results show that American think “Disasters influence thinking on climate change”. However, it would be more helpful if Americans acted on this thinking in a way that will matter. Our grandchildren won’t be pleased if all we did was think about the crisis we put them in.
When it comes to their views on climate change, Americans are looking at natural disasters and their local weather, according to a new poll. Lately, that means record deadly wildfires in California, rainfall by the foot in Houston when Hurricane Harvey hit and the dome of smog over Salt Lake City that engineer Caleb Gregg steps into when he walks out his door in winter. “I look at it every day,” Gregg said from Salt Lake City, where winter days with some of the country’s worst air starting a few years ago dinged the city’s reputation as a pristine sports city and spurred state leaders to ramp up clean-air initiatives. “You look out and see pollution just sitting over the valley.” “I’ve never really doubted climate change - in the last five-ish years it’s become even more evident, just by seeing the weather,” the 25-year-old said. “We know we’re polluting, and we know pollution is having an effect on the environment.” The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago finds 74 percent of Americans say extreme weather in the past five years — hurricanes, droughts, floods and heat waves — has influenced their opinions about climate change. That includes half of Americans who say these recent events have influenced their thinking a great deal or a lot. (January 22, 2019) [more on n our area]
Decades ago, many of us thought that once the obvious consequences of Climate Change kicked in, we’d not only see a major shift in public opinion on this crisis, we’d also see an end of inaction. Admittedly, in many ways, we are seeing a rise in climate action from environmental groups, communities, states, and some nations. But we’re not seeing massive changes in voting habits, pressing our leaders to adapt to the changes, and we even haven’t rid ourselves of the climate denial meme running like a virulent virus through our life support system.
The City of Rochester is upping its game. Improving building energy efficiency is one of Rochester’s ways of implementing climate mitigation strategies through its . (I implore everyone to read the City’s plan to deal with Climate Change.) This makes the Sustainable Homes Rochester program an important component of addressing Climate Change in our region. Our buildings and homes are leaking a lot of fossil-fuel heat causing a substantial part of our greenhouse gas emissions problem. Learn more from this new City program to stop heat leaks and warm your house efficiently from one of the many Sustainable Homes Rochester Information events near you.
“Sustainable Homes Rochester (SHR) is a community campaign designed to encourage residents to install clean heating and cooling (CH&C) technologies and improve home energy efficiency. The City of Rochester received a $150,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to launch the SHR campaign in partnership with PathStone Corporation Home Rehabilitation and Energy Services (PathStone) and the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC).” (City of )
We have a long way to go in . One author thinks we’re out of time altogether: see , by Roy Scranton. I’m still reading this book, but I’ll let you know how it turns out (probably not well).
(As I’m writing this essay, I’m overhearing a conversation about Climate Change in a local coffee shop. It’s mostly climate denial, a rambling litany of self-justifying talk about climate myths that seem quite true to the two guys who obviously have been avoiding all the recent climate studies described in most mainstream media recently. Nevertheless, they think some kind of climate change is happening. Their conversation makes me think of a lecture by philosopher Daniel Dennett’s on “” I watched recently on YouTube. The human mind, our consciousness, has an amazing ability to fill in the gaps when presented only partial information about reality. With only an incomplete hold of the facts, our brains have the “magical” ability to fill in the blanks based on what we expect. It all makes me think that we need to know a lot more about ourselves as we go further into the Climate Change Bottleneck. How do we think? How do most people come to their most fervently held convictions—even though they are desperately short of facts? Why, if we are such a ‘wise man’ species, are we plunging headlong into a demise of our own making?)
Anyway, as far as addressing Climate Change is concerned, our environment only understands actions—trees falling, greenhouse gases accumulating, not thoughts. If we don’t act to bring down greenhouse gases and adapt to the warmup that’s already baked into our climate system, we’ll get no pity from nature. Nature doesn’t care what we think. It just responds to actions—not prayers, hopes, or half-baked rationalizations.