Every month, after I finish writing this climate dispatch, I think that this is the most dire, intense, mind-bending, heartbreaking dispatch I have written to date. And every month, for the more than two years that I’ve been writing them, I am correct.
During the morning I was finishing this dispatch, I conducted an interview with Mike Loso, a physical scientist with the National Park Service (NPS), about ice loss in several US national parks. “We as park rangers are tasked with managing and protecting what is in our National Parks, to protect it so it will be there for future generations,” he told me. “But the glaciers are going away, and we can’t stop climate change. So if the Park Service can’t stop the change, we at least have to bear witness to it.”
The information he provided, which will be used in future writings, caused my heart to feel 50 pounds heavier.
When we finished the interview, all I could do was go outside, stand still, and gaze at the trees. I called a friend and shared some of it with him, and he listened. “Thank you for bearing witness with your dispatches, and for holding all of this information,” he told me.
Of course, it has been clear to me for quite some time that my bearing witness entails sharing all of this information with you, because there is no way that — psychologically or morally — I can hold it all myself.
The news about how rapidly the planet is changing only continues to accelerate in both frequency and intensity, and it’s all for the negative.
August became the planet’s 16th straight warmest month on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As Mashable’s Andrew Freedman put it, “Even the records themselves are breaking records now.” NASA data showed that August tied with July for the warmest month in the last 136 years of record keeping.
NOAA also announced that this was the hottest summer in recorded history — a summer so hot that climatologist Michael Mann told USA Today, “It is plausible that this summer was the warmest in thousands of years, perhaps even longer.”