Jun 28, 2019
by Tish Levee, For the Planet
• Heat Waves. Here in Sonoma County we experienced a record-breaking early June heat wave, with temperatures reaching 100° in San Francisco and higher in Santa Rosa. It’s hard to realize how good that is. At the same time India experienced a deadly heat wave; temperatures were as high as 122°. Now it’s Europe’s turn. On the 26th, Germany broke its all-time record with a temperature of 101.5°. France is expected to reach 113° on the 28th, breaking France’s all-time record high of 111.4°, set in August 2003, when more than 70,000 Europeans, died.
In Spain, high temperatures caused a chicken manure pile to spontaneously combust, resulting in the worst wildfire in 20 years.
June temperatures are 20° to 30° above normal. However, July and August are Europe’s hottest months; temperatures are expected to be higher than normal, rivaling those in 2018, one of the three warmest European years on record. (Worldwide nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2005).
Numerous studies link extreme heat waves to the climate emergency. The world can expect extreme heat waves to occur two out of every three years even if global warming stops at 1.5°C (3.6°F). The world is entering a "new climate regime" in which "extraordinary" global-scale heat waves that cannot be explained other than by human-induced climate change become the norm, says a new study in the journal Earth’s Future.
• Arctic Ice Melting. Arctic ice is rapidly melting. Greenland temperatures up to 40°F above normal for this time of year led to the largest ice melt recorded so early in the season.
• Extreme Flooding. Torrential downpours flooded huge swaths of the Midwest and the Southeast in early June. Rain triggered flash floods in several states, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Florida. In some states, more than a month’s worth of rain fell in a day. The flooding which has been going on all spring, has resulted in flash floods, levee breaches, washed out roads and highways, and massive damage to crops and livestock. More extreme rainfall is what scientists say they expect as the climate changes.
New York, Vermont, and Maine have joined Hawaii (the first to do so) and California in banning plastic bags. Some cities are signing on to more extensive bans. Palo Alto just banned produce and meat bags, which aren’t covered by the California ban, from grocery stores and farmers markets as part of a new ordinance that would also ban plastic straws utensils, and stirrers from restaurants, requiring them to find reusable or compostable alternatives.
While we all try to recycle our plastic, much of it isn’t actually recyclable, and is burned or landfilled. (Did you know that the recycle triangle is in the public domain; anyone can use it, so it really has no meaning?) What we MUST do is reduce the amount of plastics we use. The Story of Stuff is sponsoring Plastic Free July. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/y6sanhfm. Some of the things I’m doing include taking my own reusable produce bags, and, as so much produce is packaged in plastic, I’m going to the farmer’s market with them; I’m also taking my own containers and shopping in bulk for dry goods, shampoo, detergent, etc. You can purchase bulk products at Community Market, Oliver’s, and Whole Foods.
Arco’s planning a new mega-gas station (16 pumps, 4 diesel), carwash, and convenience store at Stony Point and Hwy 116. Details are in Jenny Baker’s opinion piece in the April Gazette. Oppose this development in a rural area. We don’t need more gas stations! Stay tuned at facebook.com/NoMoreGasoline/ .
The DNC has refused to schedule a debate focusing solely on the Climate Crisis. In the first debate, only about ten minutes was spent dealing with it. Granted that’s more than was spent in all the 2016 debates, but it is NOT enough. Please let the DNC know that this is the most critical issue there is. Sign any petition about this that comes your way.
See my article, “The Sonoma Climate Challenge,” and an opinion piece, “Santa Rosa’s Taking Action on Climate”, in the print edition of the July Gazette.
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