Climate Change is Saying Hello

10 Apr 2012

The Rider's Voice

Written by Kimberly Larson, Communications Director of Climate Solutions, her article brings to light what many have shied away from…the real implication of climate change…

Being from Vermont, the only time I experienced hurricanes was when I was on Cape Cod visiting my grandparents in the summer. We went through several storms, including Hurricane Bob twenty years ago.

On Sunday, I was with my family on Cape Cod when Irene’s edges passed in strong bursts of wind that brought storm surges and took down trees. The Cape managed to mostly dodge a bullet. So did New York City and other large East Coast metro areas.

Instead it hit the Green Mountain State. Entire towns and farms flooded, bucolic covered bridges washed away, citizens stunned.

And what Vermont and other parts of the Northeast are experiencing is a double dose of climate impacts: a large hurricane system combined with saturated soils from unusual high rainfall this spring and summer.

The sponges were already soaked when the storm hit.

Damage after Irene in Bethel, Vermont, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region

In a summer where parts of Texas haven’t seen rain since last September, Seattle has shivered and now a mountainous inland state is one of the hardest hit from a hurricane, things are changing.

Incredibly, in the midst of a major crisis for his state, Vermont Governor Shumlin, laid out the connection between the weather patterns and climate change in an interview on DemocracyNow:

“I find it extraordinary that so many political leaders won’t talk about the relationship between climate change, fossil fuels and our continuing irrational exuberance of burning fossil fuels. . .We didn’t used to get weather patterns like this in Vermont. . .If we don’t take lessons from these weather patterns for what lies ahead, we’re being irresponsible. . .We are going to work hard to not only dig out from this crisis but also are going to ask some fundamental questions that I don’t think are being focused enough in Washington, which is how are we going to deal with a climate change future? “

Good question. Other elected officials, along with reporters and newscasters, were pretty quiet on the climate change connection this week. Maybe it’s time to get them in a one-room schoolhouse, Vermont style. Gov. Shumlin can teach a lesson or two.

This article was originally published at ClimateSolutions.org, a nonprofit group

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