Signs of Abrupt Climate Disruption in tiny Goesssel, Kansas.
I’ll never forget when I first saw a “The Graph.” The “Graph” totally changed my world view. But more about that later.
When I finish my 6 mile trek today at the corner of Highway 15 and Goessel Road, a gentleman on a bicycle hollers “Peace Walk?” and starts a conversation with me.
It turns out he heard me speak at his church yesterday (Alexanderwohl Mennonite) and he wants to let me know he supports what I’m doing. I quickly learn his name — Matt Voth — and that he farms 1500 acres in the area. He also serves as the volunteer fire chief of Goessel. He was the first to arrive at a lightning strike which totally charred a farm house in the area last week. (This was all the talk at church yesterday.) Fortunately, the homeowners were on vacation and no one was injured.
The subject turns eventually to “climate change.” Matt wants me to know that four events of 2 inches or more of rain have occurred in the area just since the Spring. Hail storms have also pockmarked the area.
Although the individual lightning strike that destroyed the farm house cannot be attributed to climate change, Matt remarks that lightning strikes of late have been more frequent and intense. His reflection is not merely anecdotal. He says he has proof of the greater frequency and intensity of storms and lightning via local computer models. (Later, Matt showed me a computer print out of the hundreds of lightning strikes that hit within a 4 mile radius on the night of the fateful storm.) Matt worries out loud about crop failures that scientist have long predicted “are already happening.”
Which brings me back to “The Graph.”
I first saw “The Graph” in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” about 15 years ago. This famous outlay shows atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the last 800,000 years. For the first 799,750 years of “The Graph,” co2 levels never exceed 300 parts per million. But in the last 250 years or so, “The graph” balloons up to over 400 on a consistent basis. (Noted scientist Micheal Mann started an organization called 350.org, which called for stopping CO2 parts per billion at 350. Earth has already blown past 417.) “The Graph” is so stunning that it creates a “hockey stick” picture. Eight hundred thousand years of relatively stable CO 2 levels and then a violent, straight up line blast of extinction causing gasses. This graph blows. And it blows my mind.
This is the part of the article where I am supposed to say that if we just cut our emissions everything will be fine. I’m all for cutting emissions but I will do no such thing as to say “everything will be fine.” I am overwhelmed and struggling to find hope in the midst of the ever worsening and accelerating climate catastrophes associated with “The Graph.”