Editorial

Celebrating Earth, tackling climate change

By Staci Matlock
editor@taosnews.com
Posted 4/19/19

Monday, (April 22), is Earth Day. This will be the 49th year people around the world celebrate the planet on this day.

As climate change takes hold and humans begin to see the impacts in drought, …

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Editorial

Celebrating Earth, tackling climate change

Posted

Monday, (April 22), is Earth Day. This will be the 49th year people around the world celebrate the planet on this day.

As climate change takes hold and humans begin to see the impacts in drought, rising sea levels, severe storms and larger wildfires, there is no better time to remember how much we all depend on this tiny blue planet.

It's easy in a year like this to ignore the signs of climate change. Taos County and the Enchanted Circle were blessed with abundant snow. But a year before this the region was in deep drought. The trend - how things look over time, not in a single year - toward dry times and lack of snow or rain for mach of the last decade is the true measure of climate change.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information has provided a set of climate change data for each state and has been updating the information since January.

According to the agency's report for New Mexico, since the 1970s, average annual temperatures in New Mexico have increased both in the daytime and at night. "Historically unprecedented warming is likely," according to the NOAA summary. The last decade has been the warmest on record, dating back to 1900.

Monsoons and winter snowpack are less predictable, droughts are likely to be longer and wildfires larger in this time of climate change. It will affect everything from our water supply to the wildlife norteños enjoy watching and hunting to the mountain forests.

The greatest effects of climate change will impact our children and grandchildren. And that means if we care about the kind of life we are leaving them, we must act sooner rather than later.

So what can a rural county like Taos do?

We can continue to promote a move to solar energy for our electricity, a move already undertaken by Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. We can urge our town and county governments to continue working on bikeable and walkable trails so people can get around safely without cars. We can promote the rebirth of a regional agricultural economy, supporting moves to have restaurants, schools and our own tables filled with locally grown produce. We can reduce waste every chance we have, using less plastic and looking for alternatives. Every planning decision made by governments from here on out should consider the likely impacts of climate change on that decision.

We obviously can't stave off climate change by ourselves, but if every place did what it could to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change and prepare to be resilient through the changes already under way, it can make a difference.

As climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe told the online site Axios recently: "Every action matters. Every bit of warming matters. Every year matters. Every choice matters."

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