Climate Impacts Day: Connecting the Dots on Climate Change and Extreme Weather


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What are you doing on May 5th, 2012? Did you know that this day has been designated as “Climate Impacts Day” and that all around the world, individuals will be “Connecting the Dots” between climate change and extreme weather.”

Climate change is happening now; we are witnessing it around the world. In March 2012, over 15,000 temperature records were broken in the United States alone. A recent Yale University poll in the U.S. found that Americans’ concern about climate change was increasing with more extreme weather and warmer temperatures. According to the research, 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year. “Most people in the country are looking at everything that’s happened; it just seems to be one disaster after another after another,” Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University, one of the researchers who commissioned the new poll, told the New York Times. “People are starting to connect the dots.”

Many organizations including the Climate Reality Project - which I am proud to work with – are coming together to ask us to make the connections between extreme weather events and climate change. We need to “get angry, ” to demonstrate, to call out for action. Scientists are telling us that there is a direct connection between our use of fossil fuels, and the increase in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. This carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, acts like a blanket around our earth, trapping solar radiation and causing our climate to change.

“We just celebrated Earth Day. May 5 is more like Broken Earth Day, a worldwide witness to the destruction global warming is already causing,” said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, the global climate campaign that is coordinating the events. “People everywhere are saying the same thing: our tragedy is not some isolated trauma, it’s part of a pattern.”

On May 5th my family and I will be joining friends, new and old, and heading out for a morning hike to visit the proposed site of a natural gas pipeline that would carry gas derived through hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) through a State Park. We will hold a “teach in” on fracking with others on the hike. We will also discuss the fact that this park land was put into the public trust, and yet the State of NJ is considering “diverting” the land to be used to convey a gas pipeline. As well, in it’s wisdom, the State will lease this public land to the pipeline company for pennies on the dollar. The state may do this, without even waiting for the results of an environmental impacts study, one the EPA and NJ DEP say we need. Not only is this wrong for all the obvious reasons, but it also serves to keep us addicted to fossil fuels, rather than taking bold steps to move us to renewable energy sources. An interesting fact is that the pipeline company, which will use this line to carry gas from Pennsylvania, won’t even say if the gas will be used in New Jersey. Governor Christie’s energy master plan calls for an increase in natural gas use in NJ and therefore, more pipelines to bring it here!!

NJ is one of many states that are “drinking the Kool-Aid” and buying the media hype that “natural” gas, is some how “natural” and cleaner then other fossil fuels. In fact, new studies are showing us that current methods of extracting this gas from shale (fracking) are anything BUT safe! Fracking is causing earthquakes, poisoning aquifers and has a greater carbon footprint than even coal (a fact the coal companies are now trying to exploit!) Nothing “natural” here. Following the hike we will join together with a gathering of local tribes from the Ramapough/Lunappe nations and other supportive individuals from a wide range of communities for a rally to stand up for the protection of native traditions, for the protection of water from fracking and for the healing of our earth. I think my kids are in for an incredible learning experience!

Will you be “connecting the dots” on May 5th? Let us know your plans, and if you don’t have any yet, go to the Connecting the Dots website and join an action taking place in a community near you! We need to be in this fight together, for us and for our children. This post is written in solidarity with the Green Moms Carnival that is being hosted this month by Diane from Big Green Purse. Check out Climate Change Affects our Health, our Homes, Our Families and Our Future, and see how other Green Moms are “Connecting the Dots.”

Yours,

Climate Mama

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