The other day I was struck by the stark irony in the OBSERVER's View (Aug. 22). It was suggested that Lake Erie water levels are down, and therefore, climate change (associated with rise in global sea levels) must be debunked for our region. On the same day, it was reported that we were going to have to spray 6,300 acres near the Conewango Creek, to mitigate the imminent threat of the West Nile and EEE viruses.
Let's start with the water levels. My internet research immediately yielded a 2006 U.S. Water News Online article, "Climate Change Experts Predict Drop in Lake Erie Water Levels." The report was required under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada, and was developed by state and local governments, the EPA, and Environment Canada in coordination with shipping, fishing, and farm organizations. The study found that Lake Erie water temperatures were rising and that levels could diminish one-sixth by late this century. Our low water levels are not only the opposite of a "debunking" of local climate change, but completely in line with what is expected by those whose responsibility and financial interests depend on being accurately informed and prepared.
The irony of suggesting climate change could be debunked for us, was particularly boggling in light of the mosquito-borne viruses that we've planned to spray for, because the increased potential for spread of diseases via mosquitoes is one of the many dangers to human health particularly exacerbated by climate change. Record heat waves help mosquitoes flourish and bring with them tropical diseases, some of which are fatal.
The common man may not realize that climate change can raise global sea levels while fresh water bodies shrink. That's why there's been an effort to move away from the phrase "global warming" because it confuses the fact that our climate catastrophes are and will continue to - play out differently depending on the region (droughts in some places, while others have floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.). It's all about being out-of-balance.
It's quite frankly too late in the game for me to be trying to convince people of the environmental facts, as we are already on course for a 6C temperature rise by the end of this century (a level uninhabitable to human life on Earth). What I really want to talk about is democracy. It has been said that we don't have a democracy in America anymore, we have an autocracy with unprecedented illegal surveillance revealed daily.
Politicians are, in the words of the preeminent Dr. Helen Caldicott (former pediatric professor at Harvard, and Nobel Peace prize recipient for her advocacy against nuclear power - so relevant at this time of radioactive meltdown occurring at Fukushima, Japan), "corporate prostitutes."
What was your impression growing up about your role as a citizen in democracy? I don't feel that it was adequately impressed upon me that every person in America has to play an active role in holding their representatives responsible, or as Dr. Caldicott said, a "vacuum is created at the top," that corporations are more than happy to fill.
I would just like to say, if there are any progressives within our community, it is of critical importance that we comprehend that neither the GOP nor the Democrats or any of the third party candidates in the status quo system are able to be of much use to this country now. Corruption in all institutions is so complete, justice so gagged and bribed, employees so exploited and laid off, education so incomplete, in a place weaponized to the teeth and high on experimental food-replacement gruel, that concerned people of conscience must not delay in joining some form of what the mystic scholar Andrew Harvey calls, "Sacred Activism," (he explains that as whatever keeps you awake at 3 a.m., the injustice that most speaks to your heart) - and there's a lot to choose from.
Turn off your TV. It is not just an idle use of time but a force of destruction in this world, a source of complacency and propaganda while the world becomes uninhabitable outside the walls of your living room. You need a strong stomach to digest reality and a big heart and the unshakable will to go on in the face of it all, because this is the age of Apocalypse - from the Greek origin meaning "unveiling." The irrational premise of our culture is being unveiled. Even though the north pole completely melted this summer and became a lake, even though many feedback loops have been set into motion which may make our efforts futile, you choose how you live and the things you stand up for when all bets are off.
For my sanity and my soul in this world so rampant with cheap thrills, mad delusions and arrogant, selfish behavior, I need to gather with people who still care and who want to help.
Thank you for reading.
Lindsay Morrison is a Forestville resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org