Can we start having some honest conversations about Climate Change in Colorado yet?
Is it safe to begin to talk about the truth of climate change?
My family and I watched an old favorite movie this week, What Dreams may come starring Robin Williams. I found that I was shocked at one of the scenes in the now-classic movie. I was shocked when watching the scene where Robin Willam’s Character was first approaching the gates of hell. (Based on Dante’s Inferno by Virgil) There were flooding waters; fires raging across the landscape, a heavy haze of smoke choked the air in the scene, painting a blood-red sky along the horizon. All punctuated with the suffering of those that lived in this world. It was hell, and it reminded me of views I have seen right outside my front door over the past few years.
What shocked me was just how much the nightmarish landscape of the gates of hell looked very much like our own world at times. How many historically destructive wildland fires have we endured not only here in the U.S. but around the globe recently? How many floods have we endured, evacuations, damaging storms? On top of the endless cycle of natural disasters, we are also contending with a global viral pandemic that seems to be mutating as fast as our forest fires are spreading.
We have been warned about the oncoming train wreck of the climate crisis for decades now. And for most of that time, there has been fervent pushback. Climate deniers, lobbying groups, and think tanks have all been sure to tell anyone who might consider climate change a real possibility just how crazy we all are.
There comes the point where all of the climate change denials can not hold up to the vista of destruction that we now live in daily. These denials don’t hold a flame to the vast tracks of burned-out forests, right here in our back yards. The sting of insult no longer hurts as much as having an economic artery like I-70 washed away by floods and mudflows. The words of the climate change deniers no longer can be heard over the roar of our world in upheaval.
This week the United Nations Climate Change report was released. At an astonishing 4,000 pages, the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most comprehensive to date. Put together by 234 authors, including some 14,000 citations to existing scientific studies. It details with chilling effect the massive amount of evidence dealing with the scope of human-induced climate change. It gives a glimpse of what the future may hold if we continue going ahead with business as usual.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the findings are literally “a code red for humanity.”
Here are just a few quotes taken from the report to punctuate that warning.
“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans, and land.”
“Human-induced climate change is already affecting any weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.”
“With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers.”
Guterres also warns us ominously, “We must act decisively now.”
At what point can we begin to speak to the truth that we are now living almost daily?
When can we begin to change our mission statement of profits above all to one of survival and sustainability for all?