TAHOE CITY, Calif. - I am assuming that you, kind reader, are up to speed on the devastating weather phenomenon known as "Sandy" that has recently decimated New England's coastline, forever altering its shape, and rendering tender and wistful people's memories of Coney Island Hot Dogs and - unlikely as it sounds - episodes of Jersey Shore. With more than 100 dead, property damage in the billions and 6 million+ people trying to survive in an urban setting without power, it is clear that clever as we are, human beings are no match for the force of nature.In recent years, the topic of climate change (with varying nicknames that run from sensational to inaccurate) has been debated hotly (as it were) around the world, with politicians approaching the topic as if it were subject to debate, and required someone upon whom to pin the blame. Scientists have been pressured to both spread the word, and say it ain't so.Nature doesn't work like that. This planet we call home has been here a lot longer than we have. Think about its past: Ice Age mammals (like the Giant Short Faced Bear); dinosaurs; formation of the Sierra Nevada, the Grand Canyon, the Great Basin, or go back even further to consider Pangea compared to our continents today. The harsh fact is that the planet has systems that rule everything on it including our special species. They may tax our faith, but they assert themselves anyway. Earth has seen weather conditions of high drama: They helped form the aforementioned geographic features, and they did it without human beings to get them started.So we must face the facts: Our climate is changing, and with significant effects on human life. It simply does not matter if humans made it happen or not: It is happening no matter what set it off. However, humans can do anything to reduce the negative impacts of these changing forces, doesn't it make sense that we do so? Ask any New Yorker about now: They might even be willing to trade in air conditioning in favor of fewer Sandys.The price tag might not be that high if we'll all settle down and bring the kind of effort to this problem that we brought to say, polio. Or smallpox. Technical advances might let us keep most of our comforts. But without this effort, we are simply watching the effects of climate change harm or kill our neighbors - or ourselves - as they unfold.And bear this in mind: There are no upper limits to the power nature's storms could unleash. They can get stronger than Sandy. They can wipe out human settlements. They can wipe out species (ask any velociraptor). The forces that rule the planet have the last word. It's time for us all to stop arguing and listen. Hey kids (of all ages)! Want more info? Check out:• http://www.climate.gov/#climateWatch• http://www.ids.ac.uk/idsresearch/climate-change• http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/• http://www.noaa.gov/climate.html• http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/indicators/Marguerite Sprague is a Tahoe City resident.
My Turn | Climate change: Are we there yet?
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