Guest Commentary: What does heat have to do with it? Just everything!
Last year tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record, even though statistically it was a little bit higher. But the fact that the last seven years are the warmest on record should wake us up. Scientists have warned us that we have to keep the overall rise under 2.5 degrees Celsius to ensure life on earth can continue as we know it. But we are playing Russian roulette with our lives and the lives of all living beings.
We can see the future already in places like Miami, where it routinely experiences rainy day flooding. It has had to move some of its wells further west to keep out saltwater intrusion. We saw some of this last year when we had rain for 24 hours on Sanibel. Although the weirs held, they are not designed for such events, and more of these events will come. Seeing a lot of the bike path to Bowman’s Beach under water was a startling reminder, as was the reminder that we have a lot of Superfund sites threatened by sea level rise all over the United States — 52 in Florida, alone.
We know that the elderly, those with compromised health, communities of color, those who live in densely packed urban areas, and children are the most threatened. Did you know that Black children are 10 times more likely to die from asthma as white children? And that the extra heat, coupled with particulate matter from burning fossil fuels, using traditional agriculture and coal-fired power plants increase this threat?
So, what’s the main cause? The burning of fossil fuels is the smoking gun. All the CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap the heat in our atmosphere, along with the particulate matter. We truly need to divest from fossil fuels and choose renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and other practices to save ourselves.
If you would like to know more, the Lee County Climate Reality Project will present “Solutions For Our Changing Climate” on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. — in-person and via Zoom — at The Community House on Sanibel. We will share much more information about the effects of burning fossil fuels on our health, our food and water supply, our pocketbook and our wildlife, along with strategies to sustain our earth and all of the lives it supports. To register and receive the Zoom link, visit www.SanibelCommunityHouse.net, click on “Calendar” and then click on the presentation.
Sanibel resident Ariel Hoover is chair of the Lee County chapter of the Climate Reality Project and co-founder with her husband, Bob Moore. A former Massachusetts school teacher and part-time instructor in special programs at Tufts University, she was trained in 2017 in Pittsburgh and in 2019 in Atlanta by the global non-partisan organization. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.