by JASON TAYLOR
ROCHESTER, NY--As the old proverb goes, “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now.” Well, the same can be said for taking action to mitigate human-induced climate change.
Eye-popping weather gripped many parts of the world this week. Rochester sizzled in a heatwave as temperatures soared above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days. On Tuesday, Rochester set a record high temperature of 94 degrees, breaking the previous high recorded in 1948.
If you were feeling oppressed by the heat, you were not alone. The pacific northwest shattered temperature records this week with highs up to 116 degrees. Parts of Canada recorded their highest temperatures ever at 120 degrees, higher than the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even the arctic was scorching, with parts of Siberia reaching 118 degrees.
It’s true that individual weather events like these may not themselves be indicative of larger changes in the climate, but there’s enough longitudinal data to show the fact that the earth is warming. The writing’s on the wall.
New so-called “climate normals” released by the National Weather Service show that the mean temperature in Rochester has increased by 1.5 degrees Fahnrenheit as compared to the previous 30 year period. The same is true if not worse in other places around the world.
Climate activists say immediate, bold change is needed across all aspects of our society to reduce the most harmful effects we’re currently slated to experience from climate change. Undoubtedly, the federal government must play a central role in this process. As Republicans and Democrats waterdown large spending packages on infrastructure in the name of compromise, we’d do well to remember that old proverb. The best time to take action was years ago. The second best time is now.
JASON TAYLOR is a volunteer reporter for Reclaiming the Narrative. He is also co-host of the public affairs program Evidence of Design on WXIR 100.9FM. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.