To escape intense heat during the heatwave in Oregon, at least 100 baby hawks purposefully plunged as much as 60 feet to the ground. The Blue Mountain Wildlife rehabilitation center had never seen this before, according to its director. Smoke from the extreme west coast wildfires made its way across the United States, prompting numerous air quality alerts. The air quality index reached a 2021 high in New York. Scientists in Europe associate the supercharged rainstorms and disastrous flooding that resulted in nearly 200 deaths in Germany and Belgium with climate change.
The past month’s numerous natural disasters are likely now the norm, not the exception.
Researchers from the Woodwell Climate Research Center, interviewed by several news outlets, were asked if they thought these extreme weather events were predicted to be this bad. Their answer was no. The executive director explained that “the magnitudes of many of these events have been far greater than anything previously measured in the affected locations during the era of modern record-keeping.”
The terms mitigation and adaptation are used in describing required responses to climate change. Mitigation consists of interventions to reduce greenhouse gases to slow the warming of the atmosphere. Adaptation refers to devising effective responses to the climate-induced changes we are experiencing or predicted to confront. Scholarly communities around the globe are planning for climate change consequences, especially the most affected areas, such as islands and the coastal regions.
This generation needs to seize the opportunity to enact and support climate change mitigation and adaptation, to make lifestyle changes to reduce further emissions/environmental destruction, and find the best ways to adjust to our present and changing world. The other choice is to continue our lives as if nothing is different, even though nature tells us otherwise.
Julie Peller Ph.D. is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~6 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work