Don’t Ignore Individual Action To Fight Climate Crisis, Suggest Scientists
14 March, 2013
Perform your small part to adapt to climate change and stop it in its tracks, or a global problem could continue to get worse. That was the primary message from a panel of five Northern Colorado scientists — all of whom helped author the 2013 National Climate Assessment — speaking on March 13, 2013 at a Colorado State University forum about the local impacts of climate change*.
Bobby Magill reported:
Public awareness of climate change is waning, but the consequences of ignorance are serious because the availability of fresh food and water in Colorado and elsewhere is at stake, the scientists said.
Major changes from global warming are now inevitable: All the carbon dioxide emissions society has released in recent decades guarantee 5 degrees of global warming, said Dennis Ojima of the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at CSU.
“We need to look at adaptation today while simultaneously working our butts off to get mitigation in emissions,” he said, calling for more renewable energy sources.
People must act individually because it will influence how other people behave and create major societal change, said Jill Baron of the US Geological Survey and the Natural Resource Ecology Lab.
When did we hit a crisis point with climate change?
“I thought we hit it decades ago,” Ojima said.
One of the biggest local impacts of climate change is water and food insecurity, said Tom Brown, a scientist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins.
“A lot of our food supply relies on irrigated agriculture,” Brown said.
Areas such as the Southwest and Southeast of the US that are expected to have less available water will rely more and more on irrigated agriculture.
“We’re very worried about that,” he said.
Though the science is generally clear that the southern parts of the US will get drier as the climate continues to change, scientists are uncertain about how Colorado’s water supplies will be affected by climate change in the coming decades, he said. That’s because computer models disagree about whether there will be an increase or decrease in precipitation in the Rocky Mountains, he said.
Western states will adapt to climate change by allowing growing cities to buy water from farmers, he said.
“The land goes fallow and into the future, more and more of that is likely to happen,” Brown said.
What can one person do to help stop climate change and help humanity adapt to the change that is sure to occur?
“Write your congressman,” Ojima said. “Get off the fossil fuel path that we’re on.”
“Make a weird face” when your neighbor does something that is environmentally unfriendly, said Kathleen Sherman, head of CSU’s Anthropology Department. “We have a lot of power to make other people feel bad about their choices.”
“Ride your bike,” Brown said.
“Eat less meat,” Baron said. “All of these things will make a positive difference.”
* Coloradon.com, Mar. 13, 2013, “Scientists: Individual action, adaptation necessary to halt a changing climate”,
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