Climate hot topic of local talk
By P.M. Fadden
Four Valleys resident and Dimond High educator Soren Wuerth stood alongside United States Geological Survey Climate Scientist and Alaska Native Jeremy Littell at Community Center for a March 9th presentation of globally and locally impacting climate change data.
Wuerth, fresh from Paris-based climate summit Conference of Parties (COP21), advocated awareness of the approximate but systematic 1-2 degree Celsius rise per decade in average global temperatures and its irreversible effect upon current social, cultural and national structuring. In considering these dilemmas, Wuerth urged the individual to ask: “Have I done enough?”
While multiple nations worldwide contribute to the dire findings of cumulative emissions studies, a much shortened list of carbon dioxide producing countries bear the brunt of environmental action ire. Though western media attention has highlighted China as a principle culprit behind carbon footprints, global study indicates that, in fact, the United States remains perched atop a nefarious list of largest global CO2 producers. The U.S. is responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s carbon emission levels.
Zooming-in from world-wide scope, Littell provided hyper-localized, USGS-derived climate studies pertaining directly to Girdwood and its immediate surrounds detailing a climate scale annually trending ever warmer.
Recorded, drastic loss of Arctic “old ice” affirms warming trend findings, and international call-to-action groups agree upon overharvesting practices, land usage mismanagement and overpopulation as leading causes of planet-wide temperature escalation.
Climate change affect upon Southeast Alaska ecosystems are likewise displayed via local “water worlds.” Since 1975, Turnagain Pass study indicates regular water loss and warming with unavoidable impacts to existing wildlife web and industry.
Permafrost dependent flora and fauna are experiencing altered, drying environments introduced to an increased wildfire concern, aquatic life cycling is encountering affected stream flow while the state of Alaska, currently crescent-fronted by abnormally warm water mass coined, “the blob,” is reported to undergo persistent spiking in average monthly temperatures through century’s end. Such heated forecasting projects negative impact with regards to erosion of coastline, flooding and availability of subsistence resources.
Local and global climate data collection indicates necessity for cultural adaption in facing current and future change. Environmental experts stress differentiation between adaptation and coping as key consideration point pertaining to climate change topic matter. Worldwide investigations into alternative power sourcing along with new construction and habitation techniques may get the proverbial ‘solution ball’ rolling.
“Did I do enough to confront this problem of urgency?”
– Soren Wuerth on importance of climate change involvement
Wuerth hopes to one day see a state-wide Alaskan Climate Summit shedding light upon integral topic issues. To initiate momentum through action, Wuerth has founded a student-aimed, education project integrating online networking with positive global change. The Alaska Climate Education Project is found on facebook.com and hopes to analyze and implement positive change on a mass scale.
Advocates both globally and community-centric claim change stems from the individual’s choice to take action. Interpretive understanding of national and regional business influence upon climate interests is described as crucial in moving forward. Hopefully emergence of climate change legislation will evidence the work of dedicated parties taking action to affect an environment altered for the better. Future-launched programs such as blog sites to share data and problem solve are urged as progressive steps.
Policy makers and public alike are urged to study current climate statistics and proposed solutions in answer to the increasingly asked question: “How does a carbon free or carbon neutral world look?”