Heat Waves Follow-up
Contributing to the conversation may be easier than you think
In a recent article, I wrote about the responsibility news organizations and reporters have to bring up climate change when they talk about extreme weather events (which are now inexorably linked to climate change). I was motivated to do so because my local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby urged us to write letters to the editor in our local papers. I found a heat wave article in The Mercury News that failed to mention climate change, so I wrote a letter to the editor about this lack of context.
And (un?)surprisingly, it got published! You can find the letter here, and I will repost it below in its entirety. Considering that the letter is critical of the paper’s coverage, I was pretty surprised when I found out they published it; kudos!
I wanted to write this short piece1 not just to express some happiness at a small bit of my writing making it into a newspaper,2 but more to, hopefully, have this serve as an example of how being part of the conversation might be easier than you think, considering it was easier than I thought. I wrote the majority of my little piece in the background during part of my CCL meeting. It took maybe an hour or two in total, and was very straightforward. Just like that, my words were in the news, being read by my community and being noted by my representatives.3
So, if you have been thinking about getting involved or trying to say something about the climate (or any other issue you feel strongly about), give it a shot! Write in to your local newspaper, volunteer with a relevant organization, or call you rep/senator; who knows how far your words will go?
My LTE reprinted:
Heat wave stories
require global context
Re. “Heat wave coming — ‘It’s gonna cook,’” Page B1, June 16:
Any article on regional heat waves that fails to mention our global heat wave is missing context.
While the nature of climate change prevents us from attributing any specific weather event directly to it, increasing annual temperatures and record heat levels should force us to face Mother Nature’s big picture anytime drought and heat waves arise. When it’s hotter all the time, we get less opportunity to recover in between extreme heat events. When it’s hotter all the time, water evaporates more quickly, and droughts can become more intense.
So, when we really feel the heat, we should talk about who, or what, is fueling the blast furnace, and what we can do to shut it off. Here in the United States that could be a policy like putting a national price on heat-inducing carbon emissions, a policy which has been adopted by nearly every other developed nation in the world.
that you are currently reading
Though, of course that is cool
I have it on good authority that op-eds and LTE’s about policy issues are taken with some weight by local representatives’ offices