Summer is truly a blessed but all too short season in Maine. That is particularly true this year, when weather has been particularly magnificent after a very wet spring. But that has not been the case for most of the rest of the country which is in the grip of one of the worst droughts in over a century and suffering from more bouts of extreme weather.
A number of recent articles and columns brought this point home to me in dramatic terms, including this piece about the impact of such extreme weather on basic infrastructure like roads, drinking water sources and power supply.In the face of this evidence of a changing climate and its threat to some of our very basic building blocks for our way of life – food production, clean water to drink, reliable energy and safe means to travel and ship goods — the issue remains in the hinterlands of our political discourse on a national level, as noted by John Broder in the New York Times. This is shocking to me.
Closer to home, we have news of the steady northward migration of the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that could decimate our ash trees, warming temperatures in the waters off our shores, one reason for the unusually early harvesting of soft shell lobsters which has led in part to the challenges currently facing our critically important lobster industry, as well as the slow motion disaster in progress of ocean acidification, as noted by Professor Mark Green last May.
So what is a poor fellow to do in the face of this depressing news?
A recent column by Philip Conkling, founder and president of the Island Institute, and a CLF Board member, urges us to use our “own senses—your eyes, nose and skin—and act on your own common sense” the next time someone says the climate is not changing and our collective actions have nothing to do with that change.
As we can see, hear, and feel, our climate is changing dramatically with enormous consequences for our communities, our natural resources and our economy. That is a fact. And if our leaders don’t start acting to address these issues, summers in Maine will be altogether different for my children’s children. And that too is a sad but undeniable fact.