Stripes and Stories

In June, it should be raining, but we only had a few rains. We are having heavy sunlight during the raining season, which implies that farmers are affected seriously.

Alhassan Sesay, Chapter Lead for Citizen Climate Lobby of Sierra Leone, Africa, and Founder/President at Sierra Leone School Green Club.

We had a discussion in the Climate Steps Facebook Group centered around the useful, climate warming graphics generated from the tool, created by scientist and professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading, People noted how a graph reflected or informed their memory of their home’s region and their understanding of the potential future impact of climate change on their home. [Graphs can be created and reused based on a CC-BY 4.0 license.]

“It’s hard to miss in Eastern Massachusetts. It’s due to hit around 90 [degrees Fahrenheit] for the foreseeable future here now that we’re hitting the Summer Solstice, and that’s not even really regarded as a heat wave anymore. When I was a kid, three days of 90+ was regarded as an official heat wave. We’ve gotten seven or more of those in a row recently. It would take three days of 95 in a row to do it now. Ninety is just a relatively hot summer day in 2020. What will it be in 2040?

From Ed Norris, an EV association president and volunteer at Citizen Climate Lobby, Massachusetts, USA.

“Oops, it seems as my country is burning🔥 🔥. I understand better now why the raining season starts late (June) and ends earlier in my home town.”

Beidi Kemaing Lewis François, Cameroon, Central Africa.

There is almost no blue for the last decade. The temperature increase and droughts have been apparent to the general population for years, but the repercussions are critical for the Canal. Water levels in Lake Gatun, which feeds the Canal, have been dropping precariously and will threaten not just Panama’s economy but will have a dramatic impact on global sea transport and economics.

Joe Forde, management consultant and Founder of CO2 Mitigation, a company focused on reforestation. Often in Panama, he is currently trapped in Ireland due to COVID-19’s travel interruptions.

Having been aware of climate change over decades, I have not only been aware of the heat, but [now] of forest fires.

Ricardo Mendes, artist and graphic designer, Portugal

“We’ve seen … changes in the past two decades in northeast Tennessee; this past winter the ground never froze, so we have a banner year for destructive insects; running a small organic farm becomes even harder now; on the plus side, we’re seeing a major increase in assassin bugs who are fierce predators of squash bugs.”

Jim Small, Farmer, Tennessee, USA.

Last year was very hot, and the summer weather lasted deep into the fall. I was there in October and it felt like August. Even in the beginning of November. Definitely not how it used to be in my childhood. The good thing is that the young generation there is starting to pay attention to ecological issues and climate change, and is becoming more conscious and outspoken on these issues.

Nino Chkenhkeli, online usability expert for Earth Hero, talking about her home country of Georgia.

“…the most problematic changes have been glaciers disappearing, droughts, floods, and fires, although the massive fires we have had recently seem to be started by people. I think the worse problems we are facing in Bolivia soon will be a lack of drinking water due to melting glaciers that used to provide fresh water to some large cities in the mountains.”

Jimena Aracena, biology professor in insect behavior

“…[This year] we are getting an unusual amount of precipitation coming off the North Pacific. Previous years we’ve also been getting winters that either had cold weather or precipitation but not both. The resulting cold snaps with inadequate snow coverage caused mass die-off of some wild ground cover.

Excluding this unusually wet year, we have generally been getting a similar net amount of rainfall per year, but concentrated into fewer days, which means alternating flooding and droughts. Many are worried because we have a lot of the factors to cause forest fires the like of which Australia just experienced.

Breton Crellin, British Columbia, Canada. Breton has been working outdoors Monday to Friday since he got out of school, so “I’ve got a front row seat to the changes that have happened over the last decade and a half.”

“Definitely not great.”

A sarcastic comment by Becca Baer, photographer, Hawai’i, USA.

[Contributed by the author] “My parents have a farm in East Texas. In 2011, which you can see as a dark red bar, a drought struck that was devastating. Farmers had to, or tried to, sell livestock at a loss to the meat industry, and I saw many on pastures down to skin and bones. Luckily, my father was part of a network of ranchers who shared/sold hay with each other, even if hours away, to keep their cattle safe and healthy …Communities will be our hope for survival.

Annette Olson, biologist and Founder/CEO of Climate Steps, Washington DC, USA.

“These changes in color actually represent more deadly cyclones, then a deadly summer, and then a more deadly rainy season, following a flash flood every year. And after that a winter that is slowly turning into a spring. Nobody knows if our children will or will not see the year 2100.”

Mahbub Sumon, a researcher, writer, and activist at a renewable energy company, Bangladesh.

“I have noticed climate change in Pennsylvania. Cool nights that used to be a relief do not exist during the summer anymore. Opening my window with a fan or air conditioner brings in plumes of odorous air pollution from factories destroying our health slowly. Many in my area are fighting the good fight against climate change. I hope you will join us.

Lee Willard, former U.S. Army Reservist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Jim, who experienced firsthand the dangerous smoke in Canberra from the fires in Australia, noted drily:

The summers are getting pretty torrid.

Jim Croft, botanist, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

Literally on the other side of the world….

“Think we can see a common trend, no?

Nick Parker, engineer and a co-author of environmental stories for children. Bristol (near Oxford), in the UK.

“We had almost no frost last winter, so the aphids and other pests are running amock now. I’ve lost almost all my apples – in an area famous for them; this can’t be helping the local farmers. The winter was mild but very wet, with terrible flooding in places, then it was as if someone switched off the tap overnight. It basically didn’t rain for three months. Not even at the height of summer, it was a spring with no rain, no April showers. That’s very odd weather for us. Many of us thought we were so lucky to have such lovely weather during our lockdown, but it’s definitely a sign of things changing and the weather seems to get more extreme every year.”

Tracy Samphier, engineer, in nearby Somerset, UK

Climate Change is Real. The last decade has been a lot of red stripes [for India]. Water was scarce, heat recorded at a climate high, and a bad hit by the floods, too. Thanks to the pandemic that the earth is healing itself some. But sad to hear that only 4% of carbon emissions reduction was seen during the COVID-19. 

…We need more solutionaries than activists. Henceforth, let’s all act responsibly for sustainable living as we only have one life, and let’s walk the talk and be the change we want to see…Cheers to Climate Action!”

Hemang Vellore, youth climate activist/solutionary, Fellow For Climate Action, an un-schooled experiential learner and techno geek, and host of Climate Convo; Hyderabad, Telangana, India (near Andhra Pradesh).

Here are others submitted by people of their homes, past and present, as well as of two places they were concerned about: the Arctic Ocean and Iceland. It is truly global warming, with the last graph the saddest – and scariest of all.

As Ed asked, “What will 2040 bring?”

Please join us by taking climate action.

Image of Global Averages for the Entire World, since 1850 to 2019.

Author’s Note: Flipping back through all of these graphs, it is interesting that the climate stripes were more variable in color (until recently) within the central U.S., where winds from different quarters bring changeable weather. This variability may, in small part, explain why there remain pockets of climate denialism in these regions – despite the clear science.

2 thoughts on “Stripes and Stories

  1. Dear Annette,
    Warm Greetings!
    You are just awesome. Thanks for putting up all these facts about our Climate Change.
    Hope this endeavor rings in more awareness through Climate Steps.
    Cheers to the spirit of Climate Action!
    Hemang Vellore – Host of Climate Convos

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