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Antarctica LXII

Climate Change

July 31, 2009

Many people as me, "Have you seen signs of climate change in Antarctica?" I can say every time I've gone, I've seen less ice. But, though it's more than many, my direct experience is quite limited. This story is so big that it needs to be told by many voices, from many perspectives, over time. I'm only one voice. The best I can hope to do is raise awareness for the work the real experts are doing - the scientists.

We need to shift our focus away from politicians to scientists. I've encountered professional scientists, from climatologists, geologists, glaciologists and biologists, to name a few, who have shared data that indicates the polar regions are undergoing rapid change and this heralds dramatic global changes. Though there's debate about why things are changing, how much they're changing, how fast they're changing, and whether we've seen this kind of change before, I have yet to meet a single scientist who debates that climate change exists. The scientific communities understanding of climate change is advancing at a very rapid rate; old models and predictions are continually being updated based on better and better information. There is growing concern in the scientific community. We need to make funding relevant scientific research to get more high quality information one of our highest priorities.

Publicly, the debate has shifted from "Does climate change exist?" to "How much does man contribute to climate change?". We need to seriously consider another very practical issue, whether climate change is influenced by man, a little or a lot, given that it exists, "What are we doing to prepare for climate change?" Climate always changes. And climate changes human history.

We need to encourage the media to give us better coverage of the issues. Coverage needs to be frequent, sustained, and archived. Is it easy to become informed on a subject that spans millions of years with random, unsynchronized sound bites? Does science have to be boring? Formats need to change. For instance, one problem with the standard pro and con format is that it makes it seem like there's equal support on both sides of an issue. If you accurately represented the consensus in the scientific community on climate change, you'd have nine pro versus one con. The media needs to innovate. The media needs to inform us about their own practices while they inform us. How is the news made? By whom? For what purpose? Who paid for it? We need to make effectively disseminating high quality information a top priority.

While some still say climate change doesn't exist, some say it's too late. Both are extreme points of view. Neither are helpful. We're already experiencing the effects of climate change - more extreme weather. It's a trend that's sure to increase. Thankfully, some scientists suggest that we have many solutions already at our disposal. What's more, there are many recommendations for things you can easily do to help right now. Think you have to do it all? Perfect isn't the goal. Just make everyday a little better. You can be a part of the solution is so many ways.

We need to listen. We need to act. We can all contribute in our own individual creative ways. We need to do this now.

I want to raise awareness for this important issue. I've been in touch with a number of scientists who have relevant expertise (many of the resources below have been recommended by them) and I'm actively seeking others. I want to collaborate with them. I want to collaborate with other like-minded artists who also want to make a more effective socially conscious contribution to our understanding of what may be the biggest issue of our times - climate change.

What will you do?

Can you make a difference today? Yes! Check out these links to find out how.

World Wildlife - What You Can Do
Climate Crisis - Take Action
Earth Day - What You Can Do Right Now
Global Warming Facts - Top 50 Things You Can Do
CET - 10 Things You Can Do
Gaiam - 25 Thing You Can Do
We Can Solve It

Want to know more about climate change? I've put together a recommended reading list - many of the titles are recommended by authorities in the field.

Here are a set of links that will help you stay tuned to high quality online sources of information.

Real Climate
Climate Progress
Dr James Hansen
World View of Global Warming