Computer model projection of surface temperature departures from average on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 15. (Weatherbell.com)
The historic storms that tore through the middle states earlier this week are, some climate scientists say, "the new normal." The map above is from an Axios article on the situation in the midwest as temperatures soar to unprecedented levels--at 7:45 p.m. on December 15 in Wisconsin, it is 68 degrees. This is not normal/this is the new normal.
Monday's rally for climate justice at UWL called on the administration to take students' real climate concerns seriously. One person with other duties chatting about sustainability, as the chancellor seems to believe is adequate, does not lead an institution to take this crisis seriously and really assess what must change and plan how to make those changes and have the power to implement those plans. It's pitiful that he has told students in the past, as every year he scams them and many classes following them into paying for luxurious exercise facilities, that they can't afford $60,000 for a sustainability coordinator. That's one-eenth of a coaching staff. Which is more important?
A parallel move by local climate activists to ask the School Board of La Crosse to commit to transitions in carbon zero 100% renewable energy and creating a climate action plan is under way. So far, the severity of the crisis and understanding of the responsibility each of us has to act on it seems to be missing. To be sure, schools have challenging budgets thanks to Republicans in the state legislature. But don't say we can't afford to do our part to reduce carbon emissions while you continue supporting a full complement and travel schedule for sports teams and have your eyes set on building new very expensive buildings. Moving to renewables will save schools money in the long term and help to keep global heating down. (Have you signed the petition yet?)
We have the tools to make a difference right now, but we have to use them. As Dr. Michael Mann has noted, delaying climate action is the new climate denial. We can make our own changes, and, more importantly, we can demand that the institutions and businesses and governments use them. I urge you to pledge to make this your highest priority in 2022.
Participate in the city's climate action planning. Hound your workplace into creating a climate action plan. Talk about what solutions there are with others. And vote for people who will take this seriously, not a D owned by the fossil fuel industry, but a person who gets what CODE RED FOR HUMANITY means.