Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Climate Frog takes local educational turn

I've been blogging on climate change for all of six months now and I've learned a lot about the lay of the blogosphere and where the most pressing needs are, at least in the United States. I see that there are plenty of good sites with outstanding reporters and writers to keep us up to date on the current extreme weather situation, the global atmospheric carbon status and the lagging federal legislation regarding emissions limits. There's Al Gore's movie and the ongoing training of presenters who keep his famous slide show circulating to new audiences. I link to what I consider to be the best of these sites.

These are all wonderful efforts and they get my standing ovation. But I sense that there is too little effort in bringing it all back home, to the local level where citizens see climate change in terms of how it will impact them and their communities. As I've reported here, the local county officials could tell me nothing about climate-related contingency planning for Marin County. Yet, with all the stories about extreme weather - and with all the actual experiences that communities are going through due to extreme weather - you know that many of us have questions and concerns about when and how it's going to hit us and our lifestyles.

So Climate Frog is from here on out going to focus on answering local questions for the concerned citizen. This does not mean that I'm going to go out on the thin limbs and try to predict the future for each location and microclimate in the world. I'm not so dumb as to assume that's possible. But through research and sharing knowledge, I'm going make Climate Frog into a knowledge resource for doing your own local research and for getting more people involved locally so that your community can have its risks realistically assessed for climate change impacts.

I'll still report on climatic events and findings from around the world, but more with the perspective of the local community learning from the experiences of others. When we report on the flooding in England, it will be to learn how much damage can be done, how victims recover and respond to the disaster, and how government at all levels acts to protect its citizens.

I lean in the direction of local empowerment and believe that it's unwise today to depend on higher levels of government to deal competently with situations at the local level. We've seen (and continue to see) the debacle of Katrina. And though some works can only be handled at the federal and state levels, it's critical that citizens be the driving force for specialized preparation and response for the fast-evolving climate change situation.

Each of us, in our own separate locations, is vulnerable to different dangers from the potential of extreme weather. To plan our most secure futures, we need the most accurate information about the impacts we're likely to be dealing with. These can't be sugar coated by politics or business concerns. Neither of those social forces can influence the weather, excecpt by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and even those reductions won't influence the weather we'll see in the next 4 decades. We can only guide ourselves by trusted sources and objective science, and then make our most effective and practical choices.

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