Look on the bright side
If climate change is here, like the good scientists tell us, perhaps it is because the world is always changing, and since we seem to be incapable of responding to it intelligently, we are in a panic. Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that Man controls everything.
Besides, are there any good sides to global warming? Most of nature exists in a dialectic — the good side, the down side. So far, we seem only to hear about the down side, which is probably politically useful in some way — if only in taking our attention off other things, and adding to our general fears.
So, I thought I would bring to your attention an article I read in the Old Farmer’s Almanac for this year, written by Evelyn Browning Garriss, who has been writing and speaking about the social and economic aspects of climate change for more than 30 years. Here are some of the interesting points she makes on the positive side of global warming, which you likely won’t hear elsewhere. Ask Al about them when you see him.
1) A study concluded that a warming of 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit would lower the annual death rate in the United States by 20,000, while reducing the medical costs by almost $20 billion a year.
2) North America, Europe and most of Asia have become less susceptible to heat stress. Higher death tolls occur in winter, with causes such as flu and pneumonia.
3) North America fears rising spread of diseases such as malaria, cholera and yellow fever. In fact, these diseases were widespread in the cooler 19th century. Modern sanitation and mosquito control have largely held them in control. As example, the Gulf Coast is free of dengue fever, even though its average temperatures are warmer than those on many of the Caribbean islands where the disease is commonplace.
4) For the past 100 years, the main impact of global warming has been warmer winters. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has forecast that, by the end of the 21st century, the world’s climate will be about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer.
5) Global warming is not evenly distributed in the oceans. Temperatures have increased more around the poles, but only slight increases have occurred near the equator. Thus northern cities have enjoyed more warming than southern ones.
6) A warmer climate would reduce heating bills more than it would boost outlays for air conditioning.
7) The impact of global warming on precipitation is clear; warmer air holds more moisture. Global warming will therefore mean more condensation and more evaporation, producing more and/or heavier rains. To those parts of the world where the lack of water is nothing short of disastrous, this could be life-saving.
8) The earth is apparently “greener” now that at any time during the past 100 years. The climate changes that occurred between 1980 and 2000, a time of dramatic warming, have resulted in 6 percent more plant growth globally. The Amazon jungle, an area that had been dwindling, accounted for 42 percent of the increased plant growth.
9) The climate is helping plant growth in three ways: the warming temperatures are lengthening growing seasons; warmer air usually holds more moisture; and the man-made CO2 in the warmer air is increasing photosynthesis. The gas indirectly acts as a fertilizer and increases plant growth.
10) According to the U.S. Geological Survey, one-fourth of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources are in the Arctic. In addition to being a possible new source of energy, the Arctic is also a potential new location for maritime commerce. As the ice melts, new waterways are being freed up, whose use will save time, energy and international freight costs.
I have really enjoyed the articles recently by Summer Simpson. She has a grasp of the environmental issues along our coast — and reports the information in a balanced and enjoyable manner!
Tybee Island Council Member
I wanted to take a moment on behalf of Tiny Team Concerts to thank Connect Savannah for the continued co-sponsorship and promotion of our shows. The benefit concert for Jesse Jordan on February 16th turned out to be an enormous success on many levels. Not only did it raise money for a beloved local musician in need, but it fostered a true sense of camaraderie and community between musicians and music lovers of all ages and backgrounds.
Through ticket sales, raffle ticket sales, and private donations over $6000.00 was raised and we are so appreciative that Connect was a part of it.
Tiny Team is so proud of our local business and musical community for joining together for this concert. Between the musicians, volunteers, sponsors, patrons, and those who donated items for the raffle there are pages worth of folks to thank. To all of them: Please accept Tiny Team’s gratitude for stepping up to make this such a wonderful, memorable, and successful night. Nobody’s efforts went unnoticed and we appreciate your hard work and generosity more than can be expressed.
Tiny Team Concerts
I’m writing to see if I can help enlist Savannah’s expertise and support in what I think is a somewhat significant problem for our fair city. I live in and work from Savannah and work in what you would deem to be a “knowledge-based business,” mostly in the arts but in all sorts of humanities and public advocacy fields.
The problem? I can’t get home delivery of my favorite national newspapers. The only newspaper I can get delivered to my house is the Savannah Morning News, which has its place, to be sure. But when the first section of that newspaper is often no longer than four pages, you know you’re not getting all the news.
Now, I know I could go online and read my newspapers there or pick one up in a downtown cafe, but that’s hardly the point. I don’t want to spend all of my extra time glued to a computer when I spend most of my waking work life tied to one.
I work from home, like a lot of people in Savannah, and my work is based on the accumulation of knowledge I have gained, both formal and informal. Staying on top of world news and current information in my field is integral, and having a nationwide newspaper available to do so is important.
Would it surprise you to know that most people cannot get any national newspaper delivered to their homes in Savannah? In fact, you can’t even get the Atlanta Journal-Constitution delivered, arguably the state newspaper for Georgia.
The New York Times? No. (unless you live in the Landings). The Washington Post? No. The L.A. Times? No. The AJC? No.
I know we are shooting to be an attractive city for creative industry, and with initiatives by organizations such as The Creative Coast Initiative, we are well on our way. This is about access to information, and it’s definitely up there on the long laundry list of what creative cities need in order to attract and retain new business and technology.
I draw our attention to this issue in the hopes that we, as a community, can begin to address some of the smaller things needed in order to thrive. This is one of them, and it’s a delicate issue because it draws attention to our local newspaper outlet, which —while great at local coverage — currently has a monopoly on home delivery in Savannah-Chatham County.
That needs to end if we are to grow into the city we are looking to be.