While visiting New York City this summer, I felt like I couldn’t breathe as I climbed the stairs out of the subway station. Deep in the ground beneath the city’s streets, the heat had reached an intensity that I had never experienced. The lack of air down there gave me a much more vivid understanding of words like, airless and close.
Back home in the country it’s a bit easier to breathe, but the heat and humidity are ever-present and inescapable. According to my local organic farmer, the heat that has made her fruits and vegetables more flavorful this summer, also has caused the price of our local eggs to soar.
This summer of heat, drought, fire, and suffering has been all over the media, making it easy for most of us to connect the dots.
“Is it Hot Enough for Ya?” asks sociology professor Eric Klinenberg. In his New York Times piece recounting a three-day triple-digit heat wave that baked Chicago in the summer of 1995, a disaster that resulted in 739 deaths…confirms my New York City experience.
“… the most visible human drama of climate change is happening in cities. Cities are not merely the population centers where dense concentrations of people are trapped and exposed during dangerous weather events. They are also “heat islands,” whose asphalt, brick, concrete and steel attract the heat while pollution from automobiles, factories and air-conditioners traps it.”
The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert also weighs in on climate change with her piece explaining why,
“The summer of 2012 offers Americans the best chance yet to get their minds around the problem.”
Her description of how the drought in the Midwest is inhibiting “corn sex” also explains why my local eggs have become so expensive — the lack of pollination is creating a corn shortage, pushing up the price of animal feed.
And over at Rolling Stone, Bill McKibben continues the drumbeat as he explains “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.”
“You want a big number? In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can’t do if temperatures remain off the charts. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving… in the dust.”
Even skeptics are acknowledging our environmental reality. Physics professor Richard A Muller, who once doubted the existence of global warming, did his own research and concluded that global warming is indeed real. Not only that, he writes,
“I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”
Everyone, it seems, is talking about climate change and feeling its impact. Everyone, that is, except Obama and Romney. Is that because, as Kolbert posits,
“…they see it as just too big a bummer,..”
Climate change is a bummer. It’s a bummer of immense proportions and our Presidential Candidates ignore its progress at everyone’s peril. We need leadership on this issue and we need it now!
Photo via: Telegraph