Last Friday night’s snowfall interrupted the monotony of February, blanketing the Delaware River Valley in just a few inches of sparkling white powder. Of course, further north, NEMO was far more severe, dumping 30+ inches of snow in some parts of New England.
According to experts at NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NEMO wasn’t quite one for the record books (though records were set in a number of locations). But coming so close on the heels of Hurricane Sandy and just a bit over a year after “Stormtober,” anything approximating a record storm serves as another reminder of how climate change can wreak havoc on our weather, our lives and our sense of “normal.”
You may hear some quibbling about the exact role of global warming on the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes and other storms. But if you want to know the latest scientific data on the overall impact of climate change, check out the recently released draft of the National Climate Assessment. The report, which is easier reading than you might expect, can be downloaded at www.climaterealityproject.org (yes, that’s the organization founded by Al Gore). You can opt to review just the section of the report pertaining to the Northeast — or whatever area of the country you call home. And, since the report is still in draft form, you can actually comment on it at http://ncadac.globalchange.gov.
Taking action on global warming
If you’d like to do more, consider hopping on a bus to Washington, D.C. this Sunday, February 17th, for a rally organized by the Climate Reality Project. For more info: http://forms.climaterealityproject.org/page/event/detail/presidentsdayrally2013/4v7l2. You also may want to check out other organizations working on global warming, such as:
- 350.org, http://www.350.org.
- The Nature Conservancy, http://www.nature.org.
- Friends of the Earth, http://www.foe.org.
- Global Green USA, http://www.globalgreen.org.
Reducing Our Own Carbon Footprints
Besides activism, there’s plenty we can do to have an impact on the state of the climate.
1. Buy local. We can reduce the amount of dirty energy associated with the things we purchase by opting for local, farm-fresh food and locally made goods when available. Simply buying from local stores also helps. We drive less and/or reduce the energy used in transporting goods to our doorsteps.
2. Use fewer things made from plastics, which are full of petroleum products. (See the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s brief: http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=34&t=6.) We can reduce demand for plastics by avoiding overly packaged items, using cloth shopping bags and opting for glass or stainless steel containers when possible.
3. Conserve energy by insulating our homes, keeping the thermostat at the lowest temperatures we can comfortably accept and switching to renewable electricity providers if available in our area (as they are in Pennsylvania and New Jersey).
4. Green our transportation. Depending on what’s feasible for our lifestyles, we can walk more, car pool, use public transportation or consider hybrids, electric cars or at least smaller and more fuel-efficient options the next time we’re in the market to buy a vehicle.
What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint or express your concern about climate change?
- Global Warming Made Nemo Stronger. Also, Global Warming is Killing Nemo (motherboard.vice.com)