Wayne Hild: Look at the science, Mr. LaMalfa | TheUnion.com

Wayne Hild: Look at the science, Mr. LaMalfa

Were you the last kid in third grade to believe in Santa? Or the last sixth-grader to find out about the “birds and the bees?”

I can say with no little embarrassment that I was that kid. But now that I’m older I’m hoping that I’m a little more aware and intentionally proactive about finding out what’s going on in the world … and why things happen the way they do. I’ve spent practically my whole adult life being trained in, and then studying, the best way that humankind has ever found to figure things out — the scientific method.

This way of thinking and investigating our universe has resulted in just about every advance that humans have achieved since our mastery of fire. So why is it that neither of the two most likely Republican candidates for president cares enough (or is wise enough!) to use our hard-won knowledge of science to understand the dire threat that global warming poses to humanity? And, perhaps worse than that unfathomable reality, is that the majority of Republicans in Congress (including our own scientifically challenged representative, Mr. LaMalfa) are also unable to interpret the overwhelming scientific evidence — or simply choose to shut out the thousands of climate scientists that have spent the last 40 years patiently explaining the severity of this threat.

This stubbornness (or recklessness or ignorance) in Congress is in spite of the fact that “For the first time since 2008 at least 7 out of 10 Americans indicate that they now believe there is solid evidence of global warming over the past four decades.” And even “A majority of Republicans (56 percent) now believe that there is solid evidence of global warming, up from 47 percent a year ago.” … and “only 16 percent of adult Americans currently believe there is not solid evidence of global warming.”

And of course right here in California, we are experiencing unprecedented droughts and wildfires, that many reasonable people suspect may be due to a changing climate.

So don’t be like I was in grade school (along with Mr. LaMalfa apparently) and not figure out how the world works until everybody but you understands the fundamental facts of nature. If you would like additional data, here are some recent pretty undeniable measurable data points showing temperature increases and consequential rising sea levels: “(2016) has been the hottest year to date, with January, February and March each passing the mark set in 2015” (NOAA). “March was also the 11th consecutive month to see a new record for temperatures since agencies started tracking them in the 1800s”. (NOAA) “In the decade from 1955 to 1964 at Annapolis, Maryland, an instrument called a tide gauge measured 32 days of flooding; in the decade from 2005 to 2014, that jumped to 394 days (from Proceedings of the NAS). In the decade from 1955 to 1964, Charleston, SC registered 34 days with flooding; in the decade from 2005 to 2014, the number jumped to 219.” This study of sea level rise in “Proceedings” surveyed the entire world, naturally. (More great web sources are available with this story at TheUnion.com.)

Also, given the complexity of the climate system and the seriousness of the problem, you really need to consult the most knowledgeable and authoritative scientists on the planet such as those at NOAA, NASA, or the National Academy of Sciences – and not only rely on some oversimplified website run by a climate denier.

Remember basic human psychology: The danger from climate change is particularly easy for the human brain to ignore because it appears to be faraway and is changing so slowly that the threat seems far in the future. This paradigm is no longer true, as a recent study for the UN found that climate change right now is costing the world economy $1.2 trillion a year, the equivalent of 1.6 percent of our collective economic output, in addition to killing almost 1,000 vulnerable children a day, mainly due to hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries. And right next door in Europe in the summer of 2003, at least 70,000 people died in heat waves. That is way more deaths than caused by all the terrorists in history. And of course right here in California, we are experiencing unprecedented droughts and wildfires, that many reasonable people suspect may be due to a changing climate.

So don’t be the last kid on your block to know the facts of life on our lovely little planet … and don’t let our Congressman be the last Republican to get a clue and start doing something to save millions of precious human lives.

Wayne Hild lives in Nevada City.

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