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Katy Farber's picture

I love hosting the MomsRising weekly tweet chat called #EcoTipTue. Truly.  It is an honor to learn and tweet with people who know what they are talking about and are passionate about improving our world.

So I was delighted to have National Geographic Science blogger Greg Laden on our weekly show. He is a bioantropoligist, author and blogger who writes regularly about climate change.  Here are some interesting facts about climate change that were shared during the chat.

1. Most climatologists agree that extreme weather is linked to anthropomorphic climate change. Greg shared these tweets about these links:

"Major air masses linked to the jet streams control much of our weather, but these air masses may be acting differently #EcoTipTue"
"Climate is all about extra heat from the equator moving towards the poles via air and sea currents #EcoTipTue"
"But the Arctic has warmed more than the rest of the planet #EcoTipTue"
"This might be causing the pattern of air movements to change.  Jet streams that usually encircle the earth as rings #EcoTipTue
"... more often turn into waves that cause warmer air to move north, colder air to move south, and storms to stall #EcoTipTue"
2. Climate Change is likely causing more bouts of Weather Whiplash. 

If more extreme weather wasn't enough, we are experiencing more wild ups and downs of the weather, called weather whiplash. Greg share more about the phenomenon called weather whiplash:

"Various heat waves, “flash droughts,” and cold snaps over the last few years may have been caused by this.  #EcoTipTue"

The weather whiplash here in Vermont has been fierce. Rain one day, then plunging into below zero temperatures leaving ice skating rink like surfaces everywhere.

3.  The science is very clear about climate change. 

Greg shares with us that 98% of scientists agree that destructive climate change is human caused. Ever get 98% of Americans to agree on anything? Not very often. And scientists? Well, they simply love facts and information. We have loads of that telling us that what is happening to our climate. The body of research is growing also between the links to extreme weather, climate change, and public health problems. Greg shared this about the science and CO2.

"The science is pretty certain. #EcoTipTue"

"And by "pretty certain" I mean really really certain. #EcoTipTue"

"Climate change is real, involves warming, etc. and is human caused is generally accepted scientific fact    #EcoTipTue"
"We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, increasing it makes the surface and oceans warmer. #EcoTipTue"
"The extra CO2 comes from our burning of fossil fuel. #EcoTipTue"
"Once the CO2 is in the atmosphere it stays there long term, so warming will continue for a long time. #EcoTipTue"
"We should have not let it get past 350 parts per million (ppm) but we’re now at 400ppm #EcoTipTue"

4.  The denial of climate change is not based on reasonable facts. Why, denial, then? Greg had a few ideas:

"Some people may not want it to be true because it is “inconvenient” (like Al Gore said!)  #EcoTipTue"
"Others may be invested in petroleum or coal or don’t want to pay the cost to change their energy base #EcoTipTue"
"Others are simply politically in one camp and see “global warming” as a “green” thing and don’t like liberals and such #EcoTipTue"
"Others just don’t want anyone playing on their lawn ... the “Get off my lawn” contingent. #EcoTipTue"

5.   Climate change is having extreme public health consequences which will increase. Greg shared that:

"More bad weather is bad.  But if there turns out to be more tropical storms or tornadoes in particular, that is really bad #EcoTipTue
"This plus drought can have a negative effect on the food supply.  #EcoTipTue"
"But sea level rise may be more of a problem than bad weather or storms.  Sea level rise has already made tropical storms worse, the storm floods being higher.  But if SLR is much greater, as in meters, that could be very bad"

6.   The consequences of doing nothing are too great for our children and their children. What will likely happen if we do nothing about climate change? According to Greg, our special guest, our children:

"May become used to building homes and infrastructure with greater attention to storm damage #EcoTipTue"
"May be involved in moving massive amounts of human settlement, or knowing their children will have to move from coasts #EcoTipTue"
"If we don’t act properly now and some of the worst case scenarios happen, they may be refugees  #EcoTipTue"
"If we do act properly now they may have nice jobs in the Green Energy business!  #EcoTipTu
"Either way they’ll be cursing us or praising us, depending on what we do now. #EcoTipTue"

7. Climate change is now part of many school's national standards. In my work as a teacher I regularly review science standards and have now read that climate change is part of academic standards for middle and high school students who adopt the NGSS science standards. Many teachers struggle to teach climate because of the political climate of their school and the opinion of students' parents. Greg had a lot to say on this topic, and it informed my own ideas for how to best teach and navigate this subject. I'm not going to promote bad science by bringing false balance and legitimacy to the denialists.

"First we need to work against organized and well funded efforts to teach science denialism in our schools. #EcoTipTue"
"Primary and secondary science education needs to have a stronger emphasis on Earth System Science #EcoTipTue"
"False balance has to be avoided; just because there are anti-environmental politicians does not mean we need to teach bad science #EcoTipTue
As you can see there was a lot of great information shared during this chat-- and many participants were blown away by this information. We are inspired to take action to protect our kids from the harmful effects of climate change. And now we are armed with more facts and resources to discuss climate change and make progress in fixing the terrible mess we are in. Thanks, Greg Laden for being our special guest last week on #EcoTipTue!


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