Wait, Climate Change is Real? How Extreme Weather is Waking Up the Nation

If you’re on the East Coast of the United States (or, okay, pretty much anywhere in the United States), how are you holding up in this heat? If you’re like me, you’ve sequestered yourself indoors, occasionally opening the front door a crack to see if the heat still blasts you in the face like an oven, and only venturing outside when the air feels breathable instead of like something you could swim through. It comes as no surprise that more than 2,000 heat records were broken this past June.

In between checking the freezer for more ice cubes and having internal debates about whether or not to turn up the air conditioning, there are apparently a lot of reporters starting to connect the dots. Over the last couple of weeks a flurry of articles have come out and connected the strange weather patterns to the massive amounts of CO2 we’re spewing into the atmosphere. Are we finally willing to connect extreme weather (like the tornadoes last year) to climate change, only a few months after the IPCC released a report linking the two? I’m hoping this summer will be the good kind of tipping point.

According to a poll by the Washington Post and Stanford University, most Americans believe that climate change is happening. Maybe it’s because more people are starting to get the links between extreme weather and climate change, as explained by this NRDC blog. The post posits that smoking is to lung cancer as climate change is to extreme weather events. (The short version? You never know what cigarette caused the cancer, and it’s not always cigarettes, but the more you smoke the more your chances of lung cancer increase).

While it’s sad that people have to experience something first hand to believe in it, even when the majority of scientists say that climate change is happening, at least now we might be able to take some serious action to stave off the consequences. That’s the first step, right? Acknowledging that you have a problem?

My fingers are crossed that it’s not just the U.S. that will have something good come out of all of this awful weather. The whole world is being hit.

Photo courtesy of Grist