It is my birthday week, something I don’t get as excited about as I used to. It was great when you were younger – turning 10 (double digits), 16 (driver’s license!), 21 (drinking legally). Those are a big deal.
Now? I am just one step closer to 4:30 p.m. dinners at Golden Corral and Bingo at the church across the street on Wednesday night.
It’s not that I don’t like having another year to hang around – I am glad to be here and will be glad to be here as long as I can.
But as I share my birthday with Earth Day (April 22), I also pay attention to the news of what is happening to our beautiful plant. And it is not good.
The area I grew up in – the desert Southwest – is in a horrible drought. And the heat, always bad, has been unbearable according to family and friends.
It never rained much where I am from. The annual rainfall in my hometown of Yuma, Ariz., is about 3.5 inches. We can get that in a couple of hours during a big summer storm here. In Oregon, the annual rainfall is 36 inches. Big difference.
But things are even worse than usual back home. The drought that has been plaguing the Western U.S. has reached a point where some scientists are saying the region is on the verge of permanent drought, according to published reports.
That is not good, obviously. While it is desert, the part of the country I am from is a huge agricultural center. Winter produce, especially lettuce, comes from the area. So those salads you enjoy could be in danger.
This drought is a combination of the natural dry cycle and climate change. Yes, climate change caused by humans.
This drought could have severe consequences not only for our food supply, but also for vacation meccas like Las Vegas. This drought includes Denver, Colo., Salt Lake City, Utah and Los Angeles, Calif. It is very widespread.
In other climate news, just last week, Scientific American magazine announced that it would stop using the term “climate change” in reference to man-made global warming and instead use “climate emergency.”
The reason? The magazine said the climate emergency is here. Now. All around us.
Floods in California, massive hurricanes, record-cold that killed power in Texas. Yes, this is a climate emergency.
They said we are facing a grave threat. By “we” they mean the human race. This is real, folks. This is not some wacky tree hugger fantasy aimed at killing the economy. It is a changing climate that could not only really kill the economy, but also kill us.
Thankfully, we have mostly move past people saying this isn’t real. Sure, some still hold onto that, but the evidence is too strong to ignore reality.
So, this year my birthday and Earth Day, the news was not so good for the planet. Even if we take the drastic steps needed to help the climate now, I won’t be around for the good news. But I hope you are, and your grandchildren are. If we continue to do nothing, that becomes less likely.