Posts Tagged ‘climate change’
Hopefully you were like me and had a wonderful holidays and a happy New Year’s. With kids who now can understand the concept of presents, a heavy-set man in a red suit and reindeer, this year was busier than ever. We spent our holiday time in Southern Vermont aka Ski Town Central, where everything centers around skiing or snowboarding with a healthy dose of maple syrup. Unfortunately, Mother Nature reminded us how fickle she can be. We experienced 20 degree temperature swings on a daily basis, which results in snow (25°F) then no snow (45°F) then harsh wind (9°F) then rain (35°F). It truly was like that old New England adage, “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes.”
Of course, my entire family was bummed with the lack of snow, but made the most of it. The bigger, scarier concern was the impact these fluctuating temperatures had on local snow-related businesses. The region is still recovering from the impact of Tropical Storm Irene which brought torrential floods. Across the entire country, ski resorts and snow towns are all crying “Uncle” with the lack of snow. It really hit home when people decide to go golfing at the local links rather than traveling to the ski hill. On my personal tally, I noticed that I had double or triple the number of days surfing as I did snowboarding so far this season.
Backcountry.com posted this picture that shows the difference in weather patterns between January 2011 and January 2012. It’s pretty eye-opening. The only silver lining that I can see from this sad situation is that I overheard more than one conversation in Ski Town Central about how “global warming is really real.” It appears that these rapidly fluctuating temperatures, which impacted holiday spirit, recreational fun and the economy opened a few eyes to some of our very real climate concerns.
From our family’s perspective, the snow conditions may have been horrid, but it was our daughter’s first time on a snowboard so she didn’t mind the fluctuating temperature as long as there was a little patch of white and hot cocoa at the end of the day.
We all understand climate change to be a critical concern and an issue worth attention and effort; a comprehensive study issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum(GHF) today supports the notion in no uncertain terms:
- Climate change today accounts for over 300,000 deaths throughout the world each year. By 2030, the annual death toll from climate change will reach half a million people a year.
- Economic losses due to climate change are estimated to be more than $125 billion per year – expected to reach almost $340 billion annually by 2030.
- A majority of the world’s population doesn’t have the capacity to cope with climate change without suffering a potentially irreversible loss of wellbeing and risk of loss of life. The populations most gravely at risk are over half a billion people in some of the world’s poorest and under-developed areas.
Is there any light at the end of this grim tunnel? The call to action issued along with the GHF study is for world leaders at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to take notice and take action, swiftly and collectively.
“Climate change … is a gross injustice – poor people in developing countries bear over 90% of the burden … yet are least responsible for creating the problem. Despite this, funding from rich countries to help the poor and vulnerable adapt to climate change is not even 1% of what is needed. This glaring injustice must be addressed at Copenhagen in December.”
Thoughts about the report? Share them here.