Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: OPINION: Let’s change the world
It’s time to bite the bullet and admit that human activities are heating up the planet to a very dangerous point.
I’ve been hesitant to take that bite because people are not the only cause of the problem, but they are a major source of warming and — perhaps more importantly — they are the only ones that can correct course and potentially head off some of the worst impacts.
The other major cause for overheating of our fragile planet is the natural warming that has been ongoing since the end of the Little Ice Age. For the record, that was a series of extra-cold winters running from 1300 to 1870. Since then the temperature has climbed steadily and lately the pace of change has been accelerating at a rate that should worry us plenty.
There isn’t much we could or should do about normal fluctuations in Earth’s temperature, but we can and should curtail any of our own activities that are heating up the place. It seems unlikely that we will be able to make major changes in our way of life anytime soon, but the problem is becoming so noticeable and threatening that we need to get going on it.
The latest effort to get humans to modify their behavior to minimize their negative impact on the climate has been labeled The Green New Deal. When that was unveiled by scientists earlier this year, two Democrats jumped in and proposed legislation, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and the woman known as “AOC,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
But there is another congressional leader who recognizes the problem and has spoken out about it, our own Sen. Lisa Murkowski. She urged last year that we get beyond the arguments over whether global warming exists and begin the debate over what we are going to do about problems being caused by human activities.
Alaskans should be in the lead in this fight because we have a lot to lose. As an arctic and subarctic state underlain by thick layers of permafrost, criss-crossed by rivers and bordering the Arctic Ocean, we are sitting on real estate with a very uncertain future. By all indications, changes have already begun and our natural regime is very much threatened.
The reality of Alaska’s looming challenge is recognized by the scientific community and its drama is being noticed by national media. Recently NBC sent Al Roker, one of its best known weathermen and a Today show star, to conduct interviews in Utqiagvik, the northern village once known as Barrow.
People magazine said Roker chose Utqiagvik for his Alaska visit because it’s on the Arctic coast and it’s “where scientists are doing research around the clock because it’s considered ground zero for climate change.”
And the problem, of course, involves virtually all of
Alaska, not just the Arctic coast. Our glaciers have been disappearing since long before I first saw them in 1967.
The differences in much of Alaska are becoming more noticeable every year. The early and extended spring weather we have seen in Southcentral Alaska this year has not been that unusual. Every winter and every spring our climate seems headed in that direction.
Far too many Alaskans refuse to believe that anything they do could be affecting the weather. But the evidence is getting harder to ignore every year.
The developing problem in Alaska could be used to leverage investments by both government and industry in solutions. We have a chance to change the future in a very positive way. And we have the people, the situation and the ability to make a real difference.
Let’s do it.
By: Tom Brennan
Source: Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman