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Climate Change: A Little Intellectual Ammunition

Apr. 15, 2013

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By: Philip Newell, Climate Nexus

Spring has sprung, and I come bearing bad news. I’m sure you’re not surprised.

It turns out that even though you’re doing everything right, industrial agriculture is still screwing you — and the planet — up.

You’ve abandoned tasteless tomatoes for your own homegrown heirloom beefsteaks, yet Big Ag is still causing you trouble. That early warmth that teases of spring before dashing your hopes of growth against the jagged rocks of March frost? That bloom-deceiving early warmth is climate change.

Even though you obsess over your patch of garden with a pair of tweezers to remove bugs rather than spray pesticide, “The Industry” is bringing more pests to your plot. Their (and, to be fair, everyone else’s) reliance on fossil fuels drives climate change. The higher temps mean your plot is becoming more attractive to new kinds of insects chomping at the bit to chomp down on your 'cukes.

I could go on, but for your (and my) sanity, I’ll stop here and move on to what’s even more important:

What can you DO about it?

Well, for one thing you can take a look at some of the material we’ve gathered. Think of it as intellectual ammunition. That way next time someone scolds you for being a hippie-dippie, patchouli-scented stereotype, you can ditch the paisley overalls for a white lab coat, and drop on them some science that illustrates how climate change is altering phenological patterns in the U.S.

Further, you can take it on the offensive: surely some of your friends and neighbors, while maybe not growing their own spelt for bread, are interested in gardening.

Take the opportunity to talk about the impacts of climate change on our backyards — while you’re both working away amid them.

For those who do not live and breathe environmental issues, gardening is one issue that illustrates climate change is not a threat for the future but is happening NOW. The more you can show others who enjoy the outdoors how those spaces near and dear to our hearts are changing, the more hope we have for real action on climate change.

And it’s not only gardens being impacted (as I’m sure you know) but also animals, like birds. Everyone appreciates the playful call of their local songbird (unless it’s before 7 a.m. or the first coffee of the day), but few appreciate the potentially perilous impacts climate change is creating for them.

Taking things a step further, we at Climate Nexus would love to talk to you. We’re a non-profit group whose mission is to communicate the science of climate change.

While we have no problem finding the latest scientific research, we are not able to find something vastly more important: the real-life stories of how this science plays out in real life.

That’s where you all come in.

Given that you’re 'in the dirt' day after day, we’re sure you have some stories, anecdotes, even tips on how to handle these climate-related troubles.

Have you lived in the same place for all your life and can speak to the changes you’ve seen in your lifetime? Have you watched as birds arrive earlier and earlier every year—or maybe they’ve stopped leaving for winter all together?

We’re making an effort to help amplify and elevate these personal perspectives, so please shoot me an email at pnewell@climatenexus.org or leave a comment.

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