Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hot Battered Corn

In case you've been spending your time stocking a freezer, or you've been on a trip to somewhere cold  - like Greenland - the unusual heat and drought conditions striking most of the U.S. have probably caught your attention.

Come to think of it, no matter where you've been on Earth lately, you've probably recognized that the long-term weather patterns aren't what they used to be.

For those ignorant corncob-chomping types at the neighborhood barbecue who continue to insist that this is just another heat wave like the ones that have come and gone for ages now, there was some serious news on Monday.

The National Climatic Data Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared that for the first time in over fifty years, that more than half the U.S. is under moderate to extreme drought conditions. Further, those conditions don't look to improve this year. If you judge the nation under "abnormally dry" standards, more than 80 percent of the U.S. is in trouble right now.

In short, this isn't just another heat wave - and it doesn't just mean higher electric bills and more sunscreen.

Long-term drought, something much of the U.S. is hovering on the edge of, affects everything from paved highways to barge travel, from grocery prices to energy costs. Of course, the massive corn and soybean crops that have become a hallmark of America since World War II are also being seriously affected. As we noted last Friday, in our "Midwest Roundup" links, the state of Nebraska has shut off all irrigators, statewide, who claim surface water rights - that's more than 1100 farmers overall.

Admittedly, we've been stepping up our efforts this year to penetrate the thick skulls of climate deniers, so they understand that this isn't just another hot summer. Other media organizations have also been stepping up their efforts at educating and informing.

A recent poll from the Washington Post and Stanford University seems to show that those efforts to sow some real insight about climate change haven't fallen on completely deaf ears. Most Americans now understand climate change is real, and that major weather events like droughts are getting worse.

We don't mean to sound like some kind of monster, swallowing up all hope for a better tomorrow.

Even Republican surrogates for Mitt Romney, like former Deputy Secretary of Energy Linda Gillespie Stunz, have admitted that candidate Romney would be open to possible carbon-pricing legislation - the formerly Republican idea of "Cap and Trade."

Further, there are still plenty of technological innovations that we can develop and use to make our lives better. For example, anthropologists recently figured out the water delivery system for a 2000 year old Mayan village that was hit by drought for four months every year - but kept their people hydrated year 'round.

The point is, we all must be willing to accept that we have a problem and that we need to develop innovative ways to deal with the causes and effects of global climate change.

Especially if we'd all like to keep enjoying some of the best things in life - like eating hot buttered corn - instead of watching our corn crops be constantly battered by the heat.

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