NBC News recently featured a report about changes at Glacier National Park, which sits at the upper edge of Montana.
The point was to demonstrate how a key feature of a natural masterpiece is disappearing. The news show’s focus was on the Grinnell glacier, or rather its dwindling presence at the park.
The reporter asked an accompanying ecologist when the best time would be for tourists to view the glacier, and he said just about anytime, but “they’d better hurry.”
Because the Grinnell is melting away, filling in what used to be a crater below the glacier with icy, blue snow melt.
A similar situation is occurring in southern Iceland, where residents are being forced from their homes because of flooding caused by a giant glacier meltdown.
We suppose folks who do not read newspapers or watch TV news can say, with a straight face, that global warming is just a hoax. We recommend they not visit any of the great cold-climate parks or countries where there is ample graphic evidence of a warming planet.
It also is evident that humans are spending far too much time and energy arguing over climate change. As glaciers melt, ice fields disappear and storms get more violent and destructive, we should be concentrating on how to cope with, and possibly benefit from climate change’s effects.
We’ve mentioned some coping mechanisms in this space many times in recent years.
For example, ice melting at Earth’s poles is increasing sea levels. It is true that rising seas threaten coastal areas, which seem doomed to relentless flooding sooner rather than later. But such melting/rising also increases the planet’s water supply.
Salt water can be turned into drinking water and sustenance for crops. Availability of clean water is a big problem for a large percentage of Earth’s human inhabitants, so it just seems intuitive to use modern technology — and in some cases, not-so-modern machinery — to remove the salt from sea water and put what’s left to practical uses.
There are other ways humans can capitalize on a changing climate. Certain parts of the globe that have been inhospitable to agriculture could possibly get more rain in a warmer environment, turning what had been mostly dry, barren regions into growing fields.
Changes in the jet stream because of warming oceans could bring more wind and fewer clouds to certain regions, making wind and solar power a more reasonable possibility.
The problem with continuing to argue over the causes of what is happening before our very eyes is that it tends to cause a form of paralysis. Nothing substantive gets done when tongues and fingers are wagging in anger.
It’s not unlike seeing a tub full of dirty bath water, throwing it out the window — despite the presence of a baby in the water.
That’s sort of a silly analogy, but you get the point: Why don’t we start talking about dealing with the effects of climate change, because stopping it at this point seems, well, pointless.
Such conversations can and should occur despite the skeptics and deniers in our federal government. Thankfully, California’s government officials recognize climate evidence for what it is, and are taking steps to prepare this state and its citizens for a different kind of future.
Those of us fortunate enough to live on the Central Coast are in an enviable position. We have all the ingredients for using sea water, without the salt, generating electric power with wind turbines, and away from the coast capturing sunshine for viable solar energy production.
We just need to do it.