Seasons in the Era of Climate Change

Each of the seasons of the year can evoke, for many of us, an image of what we most enjoy about that period. It may be the sequence of warm spring days with clear blue skies during which the outside world exerts a strong pull and diminishes our commitment to work or study, that period we call “spring fever.”

For others, it’s the summer days of sunshine and high temperatures when many leave work to vacation at the beach and enjoy the water, sand, and sunshine.

The familiar images and anticipated enjoyment are inexorably moving towards the remembered and unpredictable. Climate change is transforming everything, including our experiences of the seasons, and those changes will challenge our physical, visual, and emotional lives.

The extended period of spring fever may shrink to a series of brief periods of ideal weather followed by drenching rains or intense storms.

Summers at the beach may become less enjoyable with temperatures consistently above 100 degrees, or far higher in the southwest.

The spring return of the birds, with their repeated, characteristic calls, their newly visible nests, and frequent trips to a feeder will become less noticeable, for 314 species of birds are at risk from the effects of climate change, according to the Audubon Society.

Each week that the willful denial of climate change by corporate executives or government officials impedes actions to mitigate these effects, we condemn ourselves  and future generations to a far tougher life on this planet than experienced by our ancestors.

We have seen such willful denial and accompanying obstruction before:

  • Lead was introduced into gasoline around 1926. For many years, low doses (3 cc per gallon) were considered safe. The first warnings were raised in 1959 about the adverse health effects of lead at very low levels—one effect of lead in a child’s blood stream is mental retardation. It took about 25 years, multiple studies, and repeated challenges and lawsuits by the manufacturer of the lead additive and the lead industry, before lead was phased out from gasoline use. In 1988, the government estimated that 3-4 million children had lead in their blood at a level considered toxic, and that the phase out had spared about 3.4 million children from growing up with a hazardous concentration of the metal in their bodies.


  • A similar pattern of corporate behavior manifested after theoretical predictions and experimental verification showed that a chemical in spray cans was widening the hole in the ozone layer. That opening would admit more ultraviolet radiation and put the world’s population at risk of elevated levels of skin cancer and eye damage. It took over a decade of battling corporate denial and repeated calls for more studies before the Montreal Protocol was signed, phasing out the use of the offending chemical.


  • A third instance occurred with cigarettes. Medical findings showed how smoking could damage the lungs and epidemiological studies demonstrated that smoking was correlated with several illnesses, such as lung cancer and emphysema. The denials, for decades, by the tobacco industry impeded progress by the government in asserting an unambiguous connection between smoking and health.


This time the denial and obstruction are jeopardizing the future habitability of this planet—placing at risk the hospitable environment humans have known for millennia.


We know how to mitigate climate change and its multiple effects, but are trapped in the familiar pattern that values short-term financial gain over all other considerations.


Consider what we love, consider the endearing characteristics of each season, and consider biblical teachings that instruct us on how to live in the natural world created by God. Join with others who seek to bring about a transition from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels for our energy needs. We still have time to limit the damage, but time is not on our side. Respond like Abraham: Hineni (Here I am).


The above blog entry was written for and originally posted to the Wellsprings of Wisdom website. Please see:



Climate Change and the Trump Organization

The blog entry from October 2016 included mention of an application by the Trump organization for a permit to build a seawall to protect its golf resort in Ireland from the effects of sea level rise and climate change.

The New York Times reported in December 2016 that the request was denied in order to protect both coastal dunes and the tiny narrow mouthed whorl snail. The protection is required under European Union rules.

The article indicated that Eric Trump led the effort in Ireland, leaving us confident that the president-elect understands the threat from climate change. The general manager of the resort was quoted as saying, “I have the Atlantic Ocean coming at me.”

We have the Atlantic Ocean coming at our entire east coast, and surely deserve as much attention and protection as a golf resort.

Climate Change and the Election

The lead article on the front page of the Sunday New York Times of September 4, 2016 was titled, “Global Warming’s Mark: Coastal Inundation.” The paper reported on major problems with sea level rise in cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Of particular concern is Norfolk, Virginia, home to over 240,000 people and Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base. That installation is “profoundly threatened” by rising seas, as is the city.

While the Pentagon has built floodgates and other protection measures in certain locations, it attempted in the summer of 2016 to appoint officers dedicated to addressing the climate change threat comprehensively. In a blow to American military readiness, the House voted to prohibit spending taxpayer money on that plan. One Congressman referred to the effort as part of a “radical climate change agenda.” Such blindness to the massive problems confronting not just the military but our country, threatens to diminish both America’s role in the world and our prosperity.

It will come as no surprise that I view climate change as the dominant issue of our time. Therefore, I urge citizens to vote only for candidates who agree that climate change is real and that will support efforts to address it.

The Republican candidate for president has maintained on the campaign trail that climate change is a hoax. He believes it is real, however, when it comes to his golf resort in Ireland; he has applied for a permit to build a sea wall to protect it, citing erosion, sea level rise, and climate change as the reasons. Such behavior exemplifies shameful hypocrisy, to put it mildly. For more about this, see The Washington Post: