Let’s be part of the solution on climate change

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


In tune with the climate crisis the world is facing, we all need to take a look at the here and now in Montana. 

It’s not tomorrow or 10 years from now but right now that the effects of climate change are being felt. The average temperature has gone up; the wildlife have sounded the alarm; an example is the fish die off in the Yellowstone River. The plants have sounded the alarm, the dying of pines from lack of cold enough temperatures in winter to kill more pine bark beetles. People are also sounding the alarm. Have you noticed smoke from wildfires affecting your eyes in recent years and people with acute lung problems being told to stay indoors when the smoke from wildfires gets thicker?

There is no doubt that human actions have an influence, not only on the climate warming but the increasing rate at which the climate is warming. The climate of the earth has always been in a state of flux; however, it’s not the fact that it’s getting warmer, but the rapid rate at which the rise is occurring that is the major problem because many organisms, including humans, cannot adapt”as quickly as the climate is warming.

Scientists in Montana are also studying the effects of climate change, especially its influence on our forests, water and agriculture. Kathy Whitlock, a professor of Earth sciences at Montana State University, and Bruce Maxwell, an MSU ecologist specializing in crop science, are two of 30 scientists, water experts, economists and policy people from around the state who worked on a major report on climate change in Montana. The goal of the report, which came out in 2017 was “to inform Montanans about the state’s changing climate so that they can better plan for the future.” The scientists reported, in meetings around the state, on the “mountains of data” they used to document changes that already have happened and to show the future trends.

These scientists met with some 4,000 Montanans to talk about our changing climate. Most Montanans were very receptive to the scientists. Very few disrupters attended and when they “claimed climate change was fake, a government conspiracy,” the audience told them, “to shut up since they wanted to hear what the scientist had to say.”

Since everyone in Montana has already been affected by rapid climate change, it behooves everyone to do what they can to help alleviate the causes by using less energy for heating and cooling; by walking to the store and carrying reusable grocery bags when possible and driving less. We are all part of the problem so, to also be good stewards, we should strive to be a part of the solution.

William C. Edwards