Climate change is a hotly discussed topic with many arguments taking place and many different outlooks on the subject. First of all we must state a definition, this being that climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It can be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events around an average (for example, greater or fewer extreme weather events).
Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole Earth The discussion over whether current climate change is man made or natural no longer matters. The fact is we can see very observable consequences of the rise in C02 levels all around the world from wild fires and floods to the melting of ice caps. The time has come to prepare our local community for the effects of climate change whether they are man made or natural.
Climate change could equally be called Climate uncertainty or simply erratic weather. I’m sure many of us have noticed the change in rain patterns here in north wales, where once rain fall was distributed mostly evenly throughout the month, now the same amount of rain seems to fall in a few days in what can only be described as almost tropical (barring the warmth unfortunately). This has many problems associated with it such as extreme runoff which causes flooding and erosion. Above we can see the Government flood map for St. Asaph, ominous isn’t it.
Climate change wont just effect the safety of our homes but will also effect the growing and distribution of food around the UK and the world. Whilst the Uk grows much of its own wheat we still import 700 thousand tones of spring wheat each year for our bread. In 2010 we now have a global grain shortage due to firstly a particularly bad harvest in Russia and many lower than expected harvests in America and Canada. Whilst the UK is in some ways insulated from this current problem, in a future time where UK harvests could fail due to flooding (such as is happening in east anglia which supplies a quarter of our food) and the other grain exporting nations also have bad harvests this leaves us all with a tremendous problem.
A transition town has resilience built in to counteract many of these global problems. Whilst it is unlikely that we could feed ourselves completely locally (unless a huge reskilling takes place) we can at least offset a huge price increase by learning to grow our own food.
It would seem the constant arguing and back and forth between Climate change skeptics and advocates is beginning to grate a little with the general population. On one side we have the advocates screaming that if we don’t do anything the world will face total global climate annihilation and on the other we have the skeptics that are screaming that if we waste money on a phantom problem we may well face total economic doom (both happy chaps are’t they). The interesting thing is that as these two side battle it out we are all collectively sitting in the test tube as the experiment takes place.
To put it another way. Imagine we are a collection of mice sitting in a rather large watertight box. We begin to notice our feet getting ever so slightly damp and quickly begin to discuss what could be causing this. Soon two factions form, the Water is rising advocates and the water is rising skeptics. As the rest of us mice watch these two factions battle it out we notice that our feet may be steadily getting wetter , but we cant be sure as its happening at such a slow rate.
The advocates scream proof whilst the skeptics make the argument that it could be the natural lay of the box making some areas deeper than others. The problem is that they will continue to argue until either side has 100% proof of their argument. For the advocates, the 100% proof they need is the drowning of all the mice in the box (us) whilst for the Skeptics it is the opposite.
Hopefully You can straight away see the logic flaw in the whole adocate/skeptic argument. If we wait for 100% it will be far too late to do anything. All we really need is a reasonably good certainty that climate change is taking place before we should begin to act.