Our climate isn't the only thing that's changing. A new survey from Yale and George Mason Universities says Americans' belief in global warming is heating up, too. Better yet, we're increasingly willing to go where no scientist has gone before and draw a link between climate change and all the weird weather we're having.
Yes, your town may have been destroyed by twisters, pulverized by hail, drowned by floodwaters and/or withered by drought (often in the same day) after a winter that wasn't, but there is a silver lining in all the cataclysmic meteorological clouds raining on our parade: It's convincing just about everybody that climate change is real and really here.
According to the new poll, a fairly impressive 82% of Americans say they personally experienced extreme weather at some point in the past year, and 35% say they were harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount as a result. But by far the biggest number where it counts is this one: 69% of the public agrees that "global warming is affecting weather in the United States."
This is a fairly seismic shift from even just a year or so ago, when a Gallup poll reported that the percentage of people worried about climate change fell to an all-time low of 51%. Even for many naysayers, America's wicked weather has apparently reached the point of no-denial and just in the nick of time, too.
Because for all the years we've been talking about climate change, we've been fighting about it. It's just been a bit too big an issue to really wrap our heads around. How do you get a rational grip on something as big as the entire atmosphere? And how do you convince people that something as small as driving a car can kill it? You don't. Especially when global warming is always seen as something that might happen tomorrow but certainly not today. No wonder we kept arguing! Absent anything we could see with our own eyes, it was like trying to get people to stop leprechauns from stealing gold. There was just no visible evidence we had a problem. Next question.
Now four out of five of us can drive down our own streets and see plenty of proof that something's gone haywire, and suddenly there's a sense of urgency that wasn't there before. We've not only seen the leprechaun, it's our own gold he's taking. Can positive action be far behind?
No. In fact, it starts this Saturday, May 5th, with a series of "Connect the Dots" rallies around the world being organized by 350.org, which is quite rightfully encouraging everyone to make the link between all this out-of-whack weather and the overheated atmosphere that (let's just say it once and for all) is causing it.
There are events all over creation, and all readers of these words are urged to find and attend one. It's time to connect the dots between what we can see and what we can't, and demand some serious action where climate change is concerned. So gather your friends, your family, and all you hold dear, and take some. Because the only more ridiculous than the current weather forecast would be doing nothing at all to change it.
The Inkslinger has written about environmental issues for over 20 years and is a freelance writer for some of America's most iconoclastic companies and non-profits. His true loves include nature, music of the Americana/rock and roll variety, interior design, books, old things, good stories, pagan rituals, and his wife of 24 years, with whom he lives in an undisclosed chemical-free rural Vermont location along with his teenage daughter and two infinitely hilarious Australian shepherds!