Monday, December 26, 2011

A western Massachusetts point of view on climate change

Brian W. Conz in The extraordinary weather events that have recently affected so many of us in Western Massachusetts and across the region cannot easily be linked to climate change, we are told. However, as Ray Bradbury, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts stated in a Republican interview in June of this year, shortly after one of the nation’s 82 violent tornadoes hit Springfield, these kinds of serious weather events are exactly what we can expect more of in the future.

A range of other events and trends across the globe, like major droughts and catastrophic fires, news of record high temperatures (2010 tied 2005 for the hottest year on record), strongly suggest that addressing the issues of climate change and instability will be one of the greatest issues of the 21st century. Through our experiences in Western Mass. this year, we have tasted the vulnerability that is the everyday reality for so many people in other, less fortunate parts of the world.

... Quite apart from the inaction and the complete lack of political will to address the climate crisis at the highest levels of government, in Western, Mass. we are experiencing a near renaissance, of social, economic and scientific developments that are meeting our current environmental, as well as economic predicaments, head on.

Three related developments are especially worth discussing: the dramatic expansion of college programs addressing themselves to environmental themes like alternative sustainable energy; the growth in so-called green jobs; and the explosion of interest and investment in re-building our regional food system through sustainable agriculture and conscious eating....

A view of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, shot by BenFrantzDale, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

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