On climate change, think for yourself

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, addresses a rally on climate change in downtown Portland on Monday, Aug. 12. With her are Glen Brand, left, of the Sierra Club, Mayor Michael Brennan, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine.
William Hall | The Forecaster
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, addresses a rally on climate change in downtown Portland on Monday, Aug. 12. With her are Glen Brand, left, of the Sierra Club, Mayor Michael Brennan, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine.
By Hubert Kauffman, Special to the BDN
Posted Aug. 25, 2013, at 12:03 p.m.

The weather of Maine has changed. More rain, more humidity, more violent storms and more extremes of hot and cold. Summer and winter have become more inconsistent than ever: more warm days in winter and more cold days in summer.

These are not normal variations in weather. They are exactly what climate scientists have predicted over the last two decades. And the prediction is that they will become much worse, starting now. The weather has changed because the global climate has changed as a result of pollution in all its forms.

There is something utterly new on this planet. Blizzards, hurricanes, droughts and floods have always been considered to be natural disasters or acts of God. For the first time in history, in their zeal for “progress,” humans have been able to achieve the inconceivable.

The industrial revolution and what has followed have distorted a balance of natural forces that have been in place for eons. That balance of nature is what has allowed the human race to become a dominant force on the planet.

Isn’t that ironic? No question, we are killing the goose that lays golden eggs.

This isn’t about you, and it’s not about me. It’s not about the president or Congress or jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s not about abortion or family values or gay rights.

It’s about how the planet will fare from now on and how life on earth will fare in the face of the changes that have taken place and that are continuing to take place at increasing speed. It is the most important development possibly in human history and will determine how life will be lived as the changes in climate proceed.

The inconceivable is unknowable. We cannot know what will happen, though we do know the thrust of world climate events.

With the future looming, Americans are divided about whether climate change is a reality or is a hoax perpetuated by the liberal elites. Virtually the entire community of climate scientists is in agreement about the facts. Why then the continuing doubt of so many people?

The fossil fuels industry and all those whose livelihood depends upon the fate of fossil fuels have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They are the conservatives, whether Democrat, Republican or whatever. Pollution is, as Al Gore has named it, an “inconvenient truth” for them, and they deny its existence. Those conservatives are mainly the rich and powerful. They will squeeze the last drop of fossil fuels out of the earth as if their lives depended upon it, as indeed it does.

The rest of the climate change deniers are in the general public. They get their information from conservative media that ridicules the “so-called” scientists who proclaim the truth about climate change.

To those people, already frightened by terrorism, economic changes and daily threats to their most fundamental social beliefs, climate change seems akin to Chicken Little’s hullabaloo about a falling sky.

I believe that the sky is falling. We need to make plans for how we will adapt to the changes that have already occurred and to address the future with a united front. It is crucial that we reduce pollution, now.

Please. If you do not believe that climate change is real, you owe it to yourself to check out 350.org or look up the many books at local libraries about the reality of climate change.

Or, look at the weather with an open mind. Think about how the weather in Maine was 20 years ago and how it has been for the last five years or so. Consider the possibility that this climate change is manmade. I believe that the truth will scare the heck out of you, as it should.

There is no controversy about climate change. The facts are known. It will take all of us working together to save a bit of the world as we have known and loved it.

Hubert Kauffman of Oxford is a retired clinical psychologist. This Op Ed first appeared in the Sun Journal.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/25/opinion/on-climate-change-think-for-yourself/ printed on November 23, 2014