By Paul Lachapelle, Professor Montana State University
Increasingly, the impacts associated with our changing climate are taking a dramatic toll on our communities, not only across the Pacific Northwest, but also around the world. In the western United States, we have experienced dramatic examples of climate-related impacts. A ‘Megadrought’ is reported to be emerging in the region that might be worse than any in 1,200 years, with half of this historic drought blamed on man-made global warming (Williams et al. 2020). Meanwhile, the worst heat in 70 years threatens to take down California’s grid (Aleem, 2020). According to Eilperin (2020), a cluster of counties on Colorado’s Western Slope and in eastern Utah have warmed more than 2° Celsius, which is double the global average and impacting the potential to produce, use, and export water. Agricultural, energy, forest, and aquatic systems are in many cases being impacted and stressed to the near breaking point for parts of the year or longer.
Extension professionals are recognizing the critical importance of reaching citizens with current and accurate information about the impacts of climate change and methods of adaptation and mitigation. Continue reading