We Cannot Say “Not in My Backward” About Climate Change, It’s Already Here

by Duane Nichols on October 12, 2019

Insects and birds are disappearing from the Earth

Climate Change Has Come Home to Roost This Fall

From the Editorial of the Morgantown Dominion Post, October 6, 2019

Perpetual heat waves and severe drought are a big issue. Unlike some issues, fear of climate change is as real as the threat it poses.

The enormity of climate change demands a sense of urgency to address but is yet difficult to comprehend and respond to effectively. For many in north-central West Virginia it’s obvious our climate is increasingly hotter and drier.

September was one of the warmest and driest on record. Less than an inch of rain was recorded in the month.

Though heat waves were never uncommon in West Virginia, in recent years episodes of such intense hot spells are almost the new norm. Despite our current respite from the heat, drought conditions are worsening statewide that make the loss of crops and water shortages likely.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map classified large parts of southern West Virginia in a severe drought while the entire northern swath of the state was labeled abnormally dry. Recent unusual mild winters with little snowfall and average temperatures far above average, though welcomed by many, have left that season out of balance, too.

We have yet to see 90 degree days in January, but it’s increasingly possible as our state’s climate no longer aligns with any calendar or past weather trends. Other signs of climate change that some of us have observed for several years are also making headlines now.

According to one major study, the total bird population in the United States and Canada has declined by 29% since 1970 — t h at ’s 3 billion birds. That loss is not limited to several threatened species, either. Indeed, it is spread across a wide array of birds, from migratory to backyard.

The study was primarily a census and did not attempt to determine the causes of these declines. Some are obvious, such as buildings and wind turbine collisions and disease outbreaks. But since bird population health truly is the canary in the coal mine regarding environmental health, this fact alone is reason for grave concern.

We may be wasting our breath asking state and federal governments to commission further detailed studies to more aptly address the issues this decline of birds portends.

But in the spirit of the Sept. 20 Global Climate Strike, we demand our leaders do more to combat these changes that are no longer just in the public’s consciousness, but are in its backyard.

Talk of the planet’s warming often causes many to freeze up. What can one person do to stop something that affects us on a global scale. Consequently, this issue must be elevated to a top priority much like our national security and public safety.

Defense of our planet is just as important as defense of our country or our home. As some have said, otherwise, what is there to defend?

It’s not unusual when forecasts turn out to be wrong. But there’s something wrong with the weather and the birds. Something that should be a major concern beyond just the Weather Channel and the Audubon Society.


See this report: North America Has Lost More Than 1 in 4 Birds in Last 50 Years, New Study Says | Audubon Society, September 19, 2019

See also: Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian, February 10, 2019

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Justin Gillis October 13, 2019 at 7:53 am


Fire, Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived —

The most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes.

<<>>Justin Gillis, a former Times editor and environmental reporter, has been a contributor to the Opinion section since January 2018. He is working on a book about energy policy. @JustinHGillis • Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 13, 2019, Section SR, Page 3 of the New York edition with the headline: Our Climate Future Has Arrived.



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