POV: Climate change a real threat

The author is a resident of Saratoga Springs, a member of that city’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan Committee and former Saratoga County Green Party chairwoman.

The things I like best about living in upstate New York are the climate and beautiful countryside and mountains. But something about our climate is definitely much different from what it was 30 years ago. Not only is winter shorter, milder, and less snowy, and spring much warmer, but the harbingers of either season – Canada geese and robins—are not acting the way they used to.

Many people have noticed that both of these species stick around a lot longer than they used to. Up until the 1990s, by Election Day, the geese would have been gone along with the robins. Now you can see flocks of robins all winter long and Canada geese gather on Saratoga Lake well into December or later depending on the weather.

Another sign of permanent change in our climate is the fact that, for the past 15 years, Lake Champlain stopped freezing over in the winter. And what about our summers? I’ll never forget the summer of 2005 when we had two weeks straight of 90-plus degree days and it’s not unusual, considering the heat index, for the temperature to top 100 degrees.

Despite these undeniable changes, we continue to hear climate change deniers calling any concern over climate change “hysteria” or that the whole global warming idea is the biggest hoax of the century (Ron Paul). The dismissal of global warming comes as no surprise because if you accept that this problem is caused by greenhouse gases (carbon emissions mainly from the burning of coal and oil) then it would require politicians to actually enact some reforms to encourage Americans to drive their cars a lot less. Many folks would not welcome that kind of change—especially the drivers in their gas-guzzling SUVs.

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