by Nicole Wines
Raíces Cultural Center’s homebase is in NJ, and we are in the heart of an arctic cold snap that has hit the Northeast of the US, with some of the coldest temperatures I have experienced in my life, sustained for a lot longer than our usual cold snaps stick around. We also just experienced an extreme winter storm, bringing over a foot of snow to areas close to the coast and affecting much of the east coast with blizzard conditions. It also caused coastal flooding, which we are seeing alerts for more and more. I know that the local tidal river completely overflowed and crept about 50 feet past the bank, which will leave a block of 6 inch thick ice along the flood plain areas as the temps plunge close to zero over the next several days. NJ coastal towns experienced some extreme ice flooding as seen below. It is counterintuitive, but true, that this extreme cold and the extreme weather events can be attributed to or at least exacerbated and intensified by climate change.
— Kathy Orr (@KathyOrrFOX29) January 4, 2018
It is also true that in the US, those of us who think about the environment sometimes have to spend more time defending and debating the idea of climate change than actually getting to do something about it or address the innovations and adaptations we will need to adjust to a changing world with more frequent weather extremes. So what exactly can we do? Well, there is a lot to be done, but there are some simple first steps that you can take without being overwhelmed. We will explore some more complex innovations and ways to adapt for climate change resiliency in future articles, but for now, we just want to give a starting place. In that regard, the Union of Concerned Scientists has put together an excellent write-up on how we can each individually begin to address climate change. Check it out here:
We recommend you read through the posting linked above and start to work through their list of action steps, one by one. Alone, we will not make much of a difference, but if we commit to acting together, as community, we can start to make a shift, and even if we can’t stop the results of climate change, we can learn how to adapt and how to implement changes that will stop it from becoming even worse. We invite you to leave additional suggestions, ideas, concerns or points of dialogue you may have in the comments below.