It's technically not even summer yet. But as I write this it's 100 degrees. Savannah is experiencing its 25th consecutive day of high temps in the 90s or above. So far, an entire month's worth of days in 2011 has hit 90 degrees or above.
No end is in sight. If current trends hold, this will be the hottest summer on record. Ever.
Following last summer, which at the time was the hottest summer on record.
Which followed the previous summer, which was... you get the picture.
It used to be that discussing the weather was the epitome of harmless small talk.
"Nice day, huh?" "Yep, sure is."
"Hot enough for ya? Ha, ha."
But now our idea of small talk is discussing a congressman's dirty pictures. Anything, really, to avoid talking about the increasingly nasty weather, both summer and winter and in-between, and what might be the cause of it.
The president's full-time job these days seems to be running from one natural disaster scene to another: Tuscaloosa, Memphis, Joplin.
South Georgia's drought-ravaged farms are another disaster in the making. And don't even think about hurricane season....
Despite (or perhaps because of) the evidence all around us, we can never, ever discuss climate change. Or if we do, it must always be in jest, preferably in that mocking tone we all recognize from fifth grade and Fox News:
"Al Gore is shoveling snow looking for his global warming, hahaha" (said during winter)
"Beautiful day outside. If this is global warming I want more of it!" (said a million times a day March-October on Facebook whenever it's not raining where the poster lives).
Never mind that the whole point of climate change is that warm air and warm ocean temps change weather patterns in different ways. The systemic change can lead to more snow and colder temps in the winter as well as hotter summers and extreme storm activity.
Just because there's still snow and frigid temps in January doesn't mean there's no climate change. It's not ironic, nor is it proof that climate change doesn't exist. As WTOC meteorologist Pat Prokop is fond of saying on that subject, "It's cold because it's winter."
This isn't about politics. It's about science and math. Two things Americans really don't do very well anymore.
I've said for years that the main problem facing America, the problem from which most all our other problems stem, is a dramatic erosion in critical thinking skills.
America's failure -- and it really is our failure, because no other country denies climate change anywhere near as vociferously as we do -- is in failing to see the difference between opinion ("climate change is a socialist plot") and fact (the Earth is getting warmer and human activity is likely contributing to it), the difference between propaganda and research.
It's increasingly likely, given President Obama's reluctance to confront the issue and the opposition party's paranoid superstitions regarding it, that it will be up to nations other than the U.S. to address climate change, in whatever way it can be addressed at this point.
Until then -- is it hot enough for ya?
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