I've enjoyed joining my three Arlington Heights grandchildren outdoors on the perfect days we've had lately. But I wonder if, in a future heat wave like the one that killed 465 Chicagoans in 1995, they'll ask: "What were they thinking?" — "they" being my generation if we do nothing about climate change.
"Scientists can now say with extreme confidence that human activity is the dominant cause of the global warming observed since the 1950s." That's from "Climate panel: warming 'extremely likely' man-made," which covers the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report.
In the Chicago area, it's easy to dismiss climate change as mainly a problem on the ocean coasts, where rising seas are already destroying homes and businesses. But Midwesterners will be spared little else from its impact.
The Chicago Metropolitan Area Agency for Planning June 2013 report, "Primary Impacts of Climate Change in the Chicago Region," says 1995-style heat waves will occur two to five times per decade by midcentury and by 2100 could be as frequent as several per summer.
Many studies foresee Midwest droughts, intense storms, hotter and worse quality air, reduced food supply, more disease-bearing insects and ripples of economic and social chaos from the shattered lives of millions around the world.
Our descendants' scorn need not be our legacy. For an eight-point checklist of ways to get informed and involved, use the power of your wallet, and mobilize your networks to send a message that climate change matters to you, go to http://climaterealityproject.org/take-action-now.
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