Change for climate change

Climate change has finally advanced to the point where even doubters believe it, but that may also be the point at which there is no stopping it.

Our wonderfully perfect, comfortable climate may be quite different in 50-100 years and our grandchildren (and their food plants) will be suffering through something quite horrific.

Is this what we want for them?

We may still be able to slow or stop climate change, but we’ll have to want to very much, and be willing to live with inconvenience and discomfort on behalf of future generations.

It’s either that, or another great extinction of life on earth.

What can we do about it? 

We can insist that our federal, state and city leaders make climate change a priority. The current ones are too involved in politics and business to pay attention, so we must elect new leaders at all levels who will.

In the meantime, we have to make the decision individually — community by community and person by person — to live a “greener” life in Hastings and Adams County and, by example, encourage other communities to follow suit.

Climate change is fueled primarily by energy use, so we must stop using energy as much as possible. Instead of driving cars and trucks to work, school or the grocery store, walk or ride a bike. That decision alone would make a significant difference, and make you and the kids healthier through exercise, as well.

Next, turn off the air conditioning in buildings and cars. Only the sick or elderly really need it. Mankind has lived without it for 200,000 years until about 1960. 

Are we suddenly so frail?

Tell yourself: 80 degrees is not really that hot!

Open the windows on a hot day, turn on a small fan at your desk, wear less clothing (no polyester, nylon, rayon), use a hand fan. Giving up air conditioning would make another significant dent in energy use.

To cool your house, plant trees to shade it. Open windows and let the breeze blow through. 

Install ceiling fans or a whole house cooling system that draws hot air upward through the center and out, pulling in cooler air. 

Houses and businesses should be upgraded to be energy-efficient. Building codes should reflect and promote passive energy efficiency. 

You don’t want to ride a bike or give up air conditioning? Climate change is too serious for this attitude. If you aren’t used to the heat, you can get used to it or it will be forced on your descendants.

People are adaptable. 

And remember this: If we keep using air conditioning, the climate will heat up faster and turn into a losing battle sooner. Better to start adapting now.

It’s spring. I urge you to go buy yourself a bicycle with a couple of baskets front and back, and get used to riding it.

The more people on bikes, the fewer cars.

Our roads will be safer and last longer, and so will you.

Cheryl M. Wray

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