Jack Dawsey Guest columnist
October 24, 2013
With each passing month, there is indisputable scientific evidence that the earth’s climate is rapidly changing. “Is it cyclical as some contend or a permanent trend, produced by man’s action?” Let’s examine.
It’s been reported the global average surface temperatures have increased one degree Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th century. The report indicates the five hottest years on record have all occurred in the last decade. It seems scientists agree that human activities are the primary cause of global climate change. They say as we burn fossil fuels to drive our cars and power our homes, we add more carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases and particulates in the atmosphere.
While it’s true an increase of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is greater than ever recorded, the jury is still out whether man’s action is the primary cause. The word “primary” is a bit strong. The answer may be both, man’s increased activities and the cyclical cause. But I do agree unless global warming emissions are reduced, scientists that follow the trend issues will join in one unison chorus that earth temperatures will increase by an additional 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years. (By the way, global climate change affects the increase in both the hot and cold weather patterns).
It’s clear that global warming is no longer just a prediction. The melting glaciers, and the rising oceans, and the prolonged droughts and stronger hurricanes and cyclones, and the intense heat and cold fronts are examples. There are also potential and serious health issues associated in these changes.
Death from heat-related illness, and pest and water-borne diseases, and pollution and blood-borne bacteria has been detected as a by-product of storm activity across the country and around the world. Children and the elderly, and anyone with a weak or impaired immune system are always the most vulnerable.
The United States must adapt and prepare for the changes. With technology, they can do it better and faster than other countries. We start by investing in strategies that will help us to prepare for the inevitable. It’s essential we formulate and implement plans in our public health infrastructure, county and state governments, including disease surveillance and emergency response capabilities. Continued research is required to better understand the relationship of our ecosystems to public health. I hope the current generation of young Americans will find a love for Research and Development, that they will tackle these issues, head-on and develop the answer. Metaphorically speaking, I hope they will bottle and package the answer to global change for export to China. In China, the fields are white unto harvest for a new American product.