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Later this week, friends and families will come together to give thanks and to celebrate those we hold dear. For many, including my family, Thanksgiving also heralds the beginning of winter and all the joy that comes with being outside in the snow.
Yet whether you live in Colorado, as I do, or elsewhere with other seasonal gifts awaiting, you have likely noticed that Thanksgiving is no longer a reliable preview to the upcoming season. Why? Our seasons are changing because our planet is warming. I heard a remarkable statistic the other day: If you are under the age of 27, you have never experienced a colder-than-average month. Just stop for a minute and reflect on this: As the years go on, it will be less and less likely that snow will be a part of our holidays. The reason for this could not be clearer: Man-made climate change is changing the way we live.
Just last week, The Climate Reality Project hosted our second annual 24 Hours of Reality event, a live online global broadcast with experts from culture, science, government, business, sports, and entertainment gathering more than 16 million online global views. Two weeks before the program aired, Superstorm Sandy ripped through the Eastern seaboard, from the Caribbean to Canada, and caused nearly $50 billion in damage in the New York City area alone. Even with this dramatic superstorm, whose impacts can be directly tied to to a warmer ocean and sea level rise due to climate change, it became obvious that there are simply too many people out there who don’t yet understand that climate change is real and happening now, wreaking havoc with dirty weather events in the U.S. and around the world. We all know the unwritten rule that there are certain topics like religion or politics that are not up for discussion at family gatherings. But climate change is an issue we cannot afford to ignore, and talking to our friends and family is essential in order for us to come together to confront this challenge. It’s time to remove the subject of climate change from that sacred list of topics to avoid, and instead engage directly in conversation with friends and family on climate change around the dinner table this Thanksgiving. Each of us has a friend or family member who believes strongly that climate change isn’t real, or is deeply skeptical.
Unfortunately, much of the doubt and denial regarding climate change is created by professional denier campaigns paid for by Big Coal and Big Oil spending hundreds of millions of dollars to stop action. Friends and family members who repeat the myths about climate change need to hear from those they love to help them connect the dots between extreme weather pattern shifts, extreme weather, and climate change. Some of the most commonly repeated myths include:
· It’s not happening.
· It’s not us.
· Extreme weather isn’t caused by climate change.
· The science doesn’t prove climate change is caused by human activities.
One way to be thankful for what we have is to demonstrate the leadership required to protect what we hold most dear. With this in mind, we have developed a series of tools to allow you to be prepared to engage in the tough conversations about climate change with friends and family. It’s important to start the conversation with questions about change in the weather near you, connecting the dots between local weather pattern shifts and climate change. To help make it as easy as possible for you, as doubts and denial arise, we have developed simple, accurate, and short responses to more than one hundred climate change-related myths, which you can see here.
We encourage you to use this tool and start the all-important conversations with close friends and family over this holiday.
Image (cc) flickr user accros
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