Dear Mr. Gunther, today, while attending a Zumba class at Island Athletic, I happened to read the recent editorial in the South Whidbey Record expressing your disbelief in the existence of climate change/global warming. Coincidentally, less than five minutes earlier, someone at the gym mentioned to me that the temperature in Paris this morning was 104 degrees and that there were serious forest fires in northern Spain. You questioned in your letter exactly where in the world climate change was occurring, mentioning that you had lived on the island for 39 years and never experienced it.
Rather than cite the too-many-to-count studies worldwide with dire predictions, I prefer to share a few personal experiences:
• My husband and I live in Southern Chile half the year. When we arrived there in 2005, we were told that the climate was beginning to change dramatically. There were significantly hotter, drier summers. During the past 14 years down there, we experienced “all four seasons in the same day, which did not ever occur before,” frightening forest fires several hours north for the past two years, colder, wetter, and windier winters than in decades. Chile is now one of the countries with the greatest risk of water shortage.
• The forest fires in Northern California over the past few years were terrifying and devastating like never before. One of our colleagues and his family had to flee for their lives, losing all of their possessions.
• Last summer we happened to be in the Portland area in August when the forest fires blanketed Seattle/Whidbey with smoke for days. We returned to a thick haze over Langley and the island.
• A close friend visited Greenland last summer and shared the dire effects of the melting polar ice cap.
• Wherever in the world we travel, it seems we hear the locals saying, “The weather never used to be like this.”
• During the televised Democratic debate, our Washington state governor, Jay Inslee, cited climate change as the No. 1 danger that we face, far above nuclear war or any other risks. Also mentioned numerous times by various candidates was the fact that Miami is now partially under water.
Mr. Gunther, you ask exactly where the effects of global change are evident, perhaps, you say, in the Baltic? Even if that were the case, we are planetary citizens whose carbon footprint, energy choices, consumerism, and lifestyles affect the entire planet.
The Native Americans believe in tending the earth for seven generations to come. Many experts say we, as inhabitants of this planet, have only 12 more years to make drastic changes before it is too late.
Even for us, much less for seven generations forward. The U.S. energy policy and choices have a tremendous effect globally.
Please, Mr. Gunther, investigate this issue further for yourself. To find out more, here’s one place to begin: https://climate.nasa.gov/faq. For a starter, NASA states that 97 percent of climate scientists agree than climate warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”
If the climate change warnings are true, we are in deep trouble if we don’t act now. And, even if they are overblown (which I do not believe to be the case), what do we have to lose by making our planet greener, more energy-efficient and less toxic? Respectfully,
Dr. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman