Sunday, September 30, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 5:26 PM
Now that awareness of climate change has hit the tipping point and most people understand that it is a huge, permanent threat to the way we will live our lives everyday, the environmental movement faces the new challenge of competing for the general public's interest and keeping them interested and engaged in being good citizens of the planet for the long term.

The landscape is so cluttered with environmental initiatives, eco-friendly products, eco-friendly TV shows, corporate social responsibility announcements from Fortune 500 companies on almost a daily basis, it's enough for the average Joe to feel like enough is being done and tune out. Don't get me wrong, the clutter monster is made up of terrific stuff, but sometimes too much information and too many options can make a person a little exhausted and decide to put off greening their little stake of the world for later because climate change is a huge problem that's going to get down and dirty later on. Why bust bust a move to minimize your impact right now?

Chances are, if you're reading this, something made you realize that climate change was something important that you wanted to do your part to slow it down. Even George W. Bush has finally decided to begin to take the problem seriously....I hope and can only imagine what it was that made that man finally start to get an inkling of common sense.

So, you're sitting in your house reading this and your light is coming from compact fluorescents, you take the bus or ride your bike, and you recycle, you wash your clothes in cold water, and you use Method cleaning products--done, right? Maybe by some standards, but I encourage you to keep on keeping on. If you need some new information to reinvigorate your environmental prowess, check out this list recently compiled by the Center for American Progress of what climate change stands to impact.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the very long list:

Say Goodbye to French Wines. Wacky temperatures and rain cycles brought on by global warming are threatening something very important: Wine. Scientists believe global warming will "shift viticultural regions toward the poles, cooler coastal zones and higher elevations." What that means in regular language: Get ready to say bye-bye to French Bordeaux and hello to British champagne. [LA Times]

Say Goodbye to Light and Dry Wines. Warmer temperatures mean grapes in California and France develop their sugars too quickly, well before their other flavors. As a result, growers are forced to either a) leave the grapes on the vines longer, which dramatically raises the alcoholic content of the fruit or b) pick the grapes too soon and make overly sweet wine that tastes like jam. [Washington Post]

Say Goodbye to Pinot Noir. The reason you adore pinot noir is that it comes from a notoriously temperamental thin-skinned grape that thrives in cool climates. Warmer temperatures are already damaging the pinots from Oregon, "baking away" the grape's berry flavors. [Bloomberg]

Say Goodbye to Baseball. The future of the ash tree -- from which all baseball bats are made -- is in danger of disappearing, thanks to a combination of killer beetles and global warming. [NY Times]

Say Goodbye to Christmas Trees. The Pine Bark Beetle, which feeds on and kills pine trees, used to be held in control by cold winter temperatures. Now the species is thriving and killing off entire forests in British Columbia, unchecked. [Seattle Post Intelligencer]

Say Goodbye to the Beautiful Alaska Vacation. Warmer weather allowed Spruce Bark Beetles to live longer, hardier lives in the forests of Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, where they killed off a section of spruce forest the size of Connecticut . [Alaska Science Forum]

Say Goodbye to Fly Fishing. As water temperatures continue to rise, researchers say rainbow trout, "already at the southern limits" of their temperature ranges in the Appalachian mountains, could disappear there over the next century. [Softpedia]

Say Goodbye to Ski Competitions. Unusually warmer winters caused the International Ski Federation to cancel last year's Alpine skiing World Cup and opening races in Sölden, Austria. Skiers are also hard-pressed now to find places for year-round training. Olympic gold medalist Anja Paerson: "Of course we're all very worried about the future of our sport. Every year we have more trouble finding places to train." [NY Times]

Say Goodbye to Ski Vacations. Slopes on the East Coast last year closed months ahead of time due to warmer weather, some losing as much as a third of their season. [Washington Post]

Say Hello to Really Tacky Fake Ski Vacations. Weiner Air Force and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey are building a year-round ski resort in Texas, with "wet, white Astroturf with bristles" standing in for snow to make up for all the closed resorts around the country. [WSJ]

Say Goodbye to That Snorkeling Vacation. The elkhorn coral which used to line the floor of the Caribbean are nearly gone, "victims of pollution, warmer water and acidification from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide seeping into oceans." [Denver Post]

Say Goodbye to That Tropical Island Vacation. Indonesia's environment minister announced this year that scientific studies estimate about 2,000 of the country's lush tropical islands could disappear by 2030 due to rising sea levels. [ABC News]

Say Goodbye to Cool Cultural Landmarks. The World Monuments Fund recently added "global warming" as a threat in their list of the top 100 threatened cultural landmarks. "On Herschel Island, Canada, melting permafrost threatens ancient Inuit sites and a historic whaling town. In Chinguetti, Mauritania, the desert is encroaching on an ancient mosque. In Antarctica , a hut once used by British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott has survived almost a century of freezing conditions but is now in danger of being engulfed by increasingly heavy snows." [AP]

Say Goodbye to Salmon Dinners. Get ready for a lot more chicken dinners: Wild pacific salmon have already vanished from 40 percent of their traditional habitats in the Northwest and the NRDC warns warmer temperatures are going to erase 41 percent of their habitat by 2090. [ENS]

The rest of the list is here.
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