Where Does the Weather End and Climate Change Begin?
Weather is simple – rain, snow, hail, sun, wind, temperature. You can look out your window and see what it is right now.
If you’ve lived in the same place for a while, you can probably guess what the weather will be like in a few hours, too. You may even be able to predict ahead a day, and be right as often as the weatherman is. Unless you live somewhere with monotonous weather, though, you will have a hard time projecting the specific temperature and rainfall next week without help from scientific measurements.
Climate, in contrast, is a billion piece jigsaw puzzle. Climate is a pattern. Unless you keep detailed records over a long period of time, you can’t really tell for sure if the climate is changing. This is because the day-to-day weather
will bounce around all over the place.
You may have a hard time seeing the overall climate picture even for your own little corner of the world. So you can understand how much more difficult it is to determine climate patterns over millions of years for the entire planet. Yet a world wide network of scientists is engaged in this urgent task.
Climate scientists are not all on one formal team. Instead, these researchers are a loosely knit and shifting network communicating by email, published journal articles, data exchange, conferences, telephone, and meetings.
As with any group of people, climate scientists will have their differences of opinion. Sometimes a few of these researchers will say or do something that they wish would never be publicly aired.
Think about any team you’re a part of, whether at work, on a sports team, in a club or neighborhood committee, at your church, or even an informal circle of friends that meets for lunch every once in a while. Really, aren’t there differences of opinion, people who are less appropriate in their expression of ideas, and team mates you like more than others?
Scientists, being human, are no different than your own coworkers or teammates. This has no bearing on the legitimacy of their findings or research conclusions.
You have probably heard about the scandal arising from the theft of emails from some climate scientists at the University of East Anglia in England. Five reporters from the Associated Press read all 1,073 stolen emails and concluded the colorful language in these emails do nothing to undermine the overwhelming data for climate change.
Those who want you to believe that there is no climate change, that business as usual is just fine, fall into two classes. There are well-intentioned people who simply don’t believe the weight of scientific evidence. Remember, after Columbus crossed the Atlantic, there was no shortage of skeptics who still thought the earth was flat. Some people just have a hard time looking at information objectively.
The other class of people make money off telling you to ignore the world wide consensus of respected researchers that climate change is a dangerous threat. This group is on the payroll of “business as usual” industries, such as oil, utilities, and other polluters.
Who are you going to believe? And what action will you take? It’s impossible to sit on the sidelines. Every time you eat, you are choosing animal foods that accelerate climate change or plant-based nutrition that puts the brakes on the destruction of life as we know it. Look at this opportunity as your vote for the future – or against it.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet, the smart person’s nutrition book built on sustainable food choices. Enjoy six kinds of whole foods for permanent, hunger-free weight loss and health.