Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Changing Weather... or climate change?

It is tough to be a farmer... and as people become more concerned about global warming, politicians and activists would do well to keep this in mind. At a meeting of sustainability big-wigs last week, several people from the "political activist" persuasion asserted that the rapidly changing weather was going to result in this being THE KEY ISSUE in 2008. All the crazy weather is going to drive people to the polls and they are all going to vote GREEN. I doubt it.

See, humans have the chronological attention span of gnats. We live in a very short time period, and we have selective memories. We all remember how much snowier it was "when we were kids" but it really wasn't. It's just that the big blizzards were more memorable than all the dismal January thaws. That you remember how friggin' cold your feet got playing hockey (back when you played outside on a lake). When the Mother Nature acts a bit weird, with a warm December and January, these people start saying "global warming" and when it turns freezing in February, they say "abrupt climate change." Maybe its just seasonal weather... unpredicatable by anyone but the Farmers Almanac!

And in any event, this would be a risky strategy for any presidential candidate. Just ask most farmers or ski area owners whether you want to peg your success to what the weather is going to do. And, what happens if there are a few cold winters... does that mean that we put our heads back in the sand?

It is dangerous, and intellectually shallow, to start equating "weather change" with "climate change". Climate change is a long term challenge to our planet. Let's not cheapen it by confusing it with the weather.

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