Climate change... in a science teacher's backyard.
Looking around my backyard on a no longer surprisingly warm December day in Houston, I could have easily thought that I was outside on a balmy spring afternoon. Annuals in my garden that should be long dead are still thriving, alongside exotic potted plants sitting happily on the patio, when they should be hibernating indoors.
In this moment I can see that things are not quite what they should be: I can see it, I can feel it, and I have experienced it before. My city was underwater a few months ago, due to "historical floods" caused by hurricane Harvey. This was a 16 months after the last "historical flood"; it appears to me that the term may be rendered meaningless at this rate.
There are reams of scientific data confirming that the climate is changing at an unnatural rate, and that the cause is most likely "anthropogenic", i.e. originating from human activity. Yet by and large in America and elsewhere, this topic is being discussed in terms of a political debate instead of a scientific and social issue. Certain political groups (and certain countries) have aligned themselves on opposite sides of the issue, by either accepting or denying scientific analysis. Climate change presents economic and environmental consequences unlike no other challenge we are facing.I recall my college ecology professor saying years ago , "My wife wants to move to Florida," when discussing his retirement plans with the class. "Why bother?" he continued, "Florida is coming to us!" With 16 of the past 17 years being the hottest years on record, a joke from the past now sounds like a prophecy coming true.