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Wacky Weather as a Wakeup Call

By · Friday, September 17th, 2010

NASA reported back in 2007 that global warming would bring more violent storms and tornadoes. Last night parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island experienced what sure as heck seemed to be a tornado. This sort of violent weather seems to becoming more common. This summer’s wildfires in Moscow and severe flooding in Pakistan are part of a pattern of weird weather that won’t go away.

Global Weirding is a term that Thomas Friedman coined because that is what actually happens as global temperatures rise and the climate changes. The weather gets weird. The hots get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.

We just lived through the hottest 6 months on record in the history of the planet. Pakistan hit 129 degrees this summer. Hello? Is anyone paying attention?

For me this whole global weirding situation is like Groundhog Day.  I remember many years ago trying to convince school administrators that childhood obesity and declining children’s health would be front page news.  They wanted to keep their heads in the sand and continue to believe that the school food environment didn’t matter. Boy were they wrong. As a result of dragging their tails, the problem is bigger than ever and even harder to fix.

Wacky weather is the same thing all over again. Climate change is a conversation that is even more uncomfortable than childhood obesity. It requires all of us to make major changes in how we live. It is complicated further with the reality of peak oil and economic instability, it can be really hard to sleep at night once you start doing your homework on these issues.

This must be my lot in life, to be ahead of the curve working to wake people up. After advocating for better school food for 15 years, there is now a groundswell of school food advocacy coming from a new wave of young mommies. I do what I can to help guide them so they don’t hit the same obstacles I did along the way.  While school food and declining children’s health still  occupy a big part of my time and attention, I’m drawn to this bigger, scarier and even more vital triple threat: climate change/ peak oil/ economic insecurity.

I’m doing what I can by working with the Transition movement. This group  represents one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate the effects of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. Their relocalization efforts are designed to result in a life that is more fulfilling, more socially connected and more equitable than the one we have today.

Tomorrow night, I’m bringing my family to hear Bill McKibben speak at the Cathedral of St.John the Divine in NYC, part of an event by Green Faith, an interfaith environmental group.  I hope my youngest daughter will bring back some wisdom and share it with her classmates.

I hope someday to be able to break through this Groundhog Day like trance. Before its too late.

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