For years I endured unnecessary and harmful gay conversion therapy in hopes that I would at last one day be 100% heterosexual and masculine the way the world around me demanded. The gay to straight “ex-gay” leaders at the time repeated the mantra, Change is Possible! While I was distracted attempting to change my sexuality, right under my nose the planet changed, the atmosphere grew toxic, and the temperature continued to rise. Today I am happily gay and genuinely alarmed about Global Warming. But as Prescott reveals in the links he sent me this past week, all sorts of changes are happening all around us–yes the planet we live on but also our fellow earthlings and how we respond and adapt.
As always, from the many articles Prescott forwarded to me, I have selected just three Climate Change links. Let’s begin with a story of change:
Some like Tom Steyer, a long time Wall Street investor, are waking up to the crisis upon us all and making big changes in their lives. Steyer used to invest in fossil fuels, but through a recent editorial in Politico, he set the record straight and explains how he left his investment job to take on Global Warming action as his life’s work.
Let me be clear—climate change is bigger than any one person. I believe it is truly the most pressing issue we face, and one that if not addressed will have profound consequences for our kids. As a very senior and very conservative investor friend told me, “You never put the entire enterprise at risk. That’s bad business.” And yet, that’s what our society appears to be doing.
How Climate Change Changed Me by Tom Steyer
The one issue I have with Steyer’s piece is that he falls back on a common belief often among liberals that, “If we each just do our part, we will beat this thing.” Change the car you drive and those lightbulbs and don’t forget to recycle. That feel-good, we-can-do-it message is a form of climate change denial. All those individual changes are good, don’t get me wrong, but we need to come to the place where we understand and accept the science. Global Warming has been ignored so long and has proceeded so far that our individual actions at home and on the road will make little difference. We need to act on larger scales. We need governments and businesses to change the way they operate. Prescott gives a good example from a town in Austria. Each citizen immediately has a lower carbon footprint because of this one big move by their town.
Vast amounts of hot water from household appliances, businesses and factories gurgle down the drain every day, wasting not only H2O but also another precious resource: heat energy. Not, however, in the Austrian town of Amstetten, where a pilot project by the local utility company is “recycling” this energy from a place where normally few dare to tread — the sewer.
If you want to learn about how cities in Sweden have been so successful in getting energy from burning their trash (without polluting) that they have a garbage shortage, read Sweden imports waste from European neighbors to fuel waste-to-energy program.
While Alaska recovers from record flooding, the drought in the Southwest of the United States worsens. Ian James wrote a moving, informative, and thorough piece about alarming water shortages hitting the Southwest.
The biggest reservoir in the United States is dropping 1 foot each week. Lake Mead’s rapidly sinking water level is set to reach an all-time low in July, driven down by a 14-year drought that scientists say is one of the most severe to hit the Colorado River in more than 1,200 years.
The water behind Hoover Dam supplies vast areas of farmland and about 25 million people in three states, and this critical reservoir stands just 40 percent full.
Some researchers say climate change in the Southwest is also essentially “water change” because the biggest, most difficult adjustments may be forced upon the region by worsening water scarcity.
Check out previous editions of Prescott’s Climate Links and feel free to leave your comments below.