On climate conferences, killer smogs and endangered coral reefs

I was watching the Sept. 25, 2022 edition of “60 Minutes” on CBS.

It was the segment’s third feature that caught my eye. It had to do with coral reefs located off the Florida coast and how, due to climate change in general and global warming and warming in particular, emphasized was how some of the coral was dying. Fortunately, scientists are engaged in work to help the so-affected reefs recover.

Besides the restorative work being done to help the so-impacted reefs recover, in zooming in a bit, the effort being undertaken, even if only at the micro level, was, in fact, helping save the planet. Like I’ve said previously, every little bit helps.

In this particular segment, the scientists – and, presumably, the support staff – were going to great pains and lengths to care for the reefs. That was plain-as-day, obvious. The work, if I remember correctly, was university-connected.

From my perspective, what I took away was that the endeavor was worthy of the time and energy dedicated to it, despite the realization that the ocean ecosystem is huge and this type and extent of work being done can only go so far and do so much.

But, the fact that it was even being done at all speaks volumes. Some people viewing may have come away thinking “what a total waste of time!”

Such sentiment reminds me a lot of the plight of the climate fight; in other words, what people leading the charge on climate awareness and mitigation have had to contend with: skepticism, criticism, naysaying, denialism, you get the idea, sometimes their being the recipients of vicious verbal attacks, it being, in my opinion, totally unnecessary and unfair. And, neither have climate activists been spared; many have seen their share of tongue-lashings, ridicule, belittling and more. But, I don’t believe they’re fazed. They just keep on keeping on. So, good for them.

You know, I’m getting up in years and I don’t ever remember there being as much pushback against, say, for instance, the environmental movement during its heyday having gotten underway about 1970 in America.

What I do realize is that the times and causes are different. We witnessed the effects of acid rain and smogs and killer smogs alike for those who directly experienced these events and were quick to take action to correct the situations because they posed dire threats. The threats posed and the danger they presented were all to real.

I don’t see that with global warming and climate change, unfortunately. I truly believe that there just aren’t enough people taking this matter seriously enough.

What can’t be denied, however, are the weather-related calamities we are seeing the world over day-in-and-day-out in the news or first-hand. Heat and drought in the west, flooding in Alaska this time, sea-level rise on the eastern seaboard in the mid-Atlantic region. I could go on.

I tend to pay attention to the little things like the year-round existence of mosquitos in my neck of the woods – Fresno, California. That tells me our temperature is increasing. It’s a similar situation regarding the presence of bees. And, the changes I am seeing may be subtle, but they’re changes nonetheless.

Area farmers are no doubt seeing the same sorts of things. I’ve seen on tv recently where a considerable amount of almond acreage is being fallowed. But, it isn’t just almonds that are affected. The ongoing drought is putting pressure on subsurface aquifers – levels are dropping and recharge efforts I do not feel are sufficient due to a drop in yearly precipitation, whether it falls as rain or in the mountains as snow. Fresno’s rainfall season goes from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, our annual rainfall being well below average it, this year, so far, coming in at 6.37 inches – the annual average being around 11.5 inches. The San Joaquin Valley grows much of the food – fruit, nuts and vegetables – that Americans consume.

This year’s climate conference is just around the corner. It’s being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. COP 27 (the 27th Conference of the Parties) begins on Sunday, November 6 and ends Friday, November 18. What will happen as a result of the summit convening remains to be seen. Will substantive climate-correcting policy be embraced and acted on by all those nations who will participate or will a goodly proportion of shared, delivered mitigating recommendations fall on blind eyes and deaf ears.

Here’s hoping for a successful, inspirational conference and healthy coral reefs wherever they may be.

In the meantime, it’s Sept. 26 and the temperature outside when this was being written was hovering around 100 degrees in some parts of the Valley. No doubt air conditioners were being called upon in large measure to keep those impacted by such, cool. That takes electricity and lots of it.

– Alan Kandel

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This post was last updated on Sept. 26, 2022 at 6:28 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Adjustments were made to some text to make the information presented correct.

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