Even though I had read plenty of articles and books on climate change related topics, it took me until 2009 to log onto the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) website. In short order, I read the summaries for policy makers plus some of the main reports.
Why did it take me so long to go directly to the source of the best information available on the topic? I was surprised because much of the information was easy to understand and I was embarrassed because I didn’t get there earlier. I am a scientist, after all.
It was clear to me that I needed to do more reduce my footprint on this planet. Shifting up a gear
- We made our home more energy efficient with a renovation, although not as environmentally friendly as it could have been.
- I reduced the amount I drive (by a lot). Now I usually get there on foot or bicycle or by carpooling.
- We installed an efficient wood stove and a programmable thermostat, reducing consumption of fuel.
- I avoid long distance jet travel. Even so, I recently flew to a conference in Philadelphia. I wonder if I might waver again.
- I take more self-propelled trips, one of many excellent reasons to take up sea kayaking.
- We bought a smaller, more energy efficient refrigerator and I hang my cloths to dry, reducing consumption of electricity.
- I think before buying stuff. If it’s not broken, I don’t need a new one.
- I reduced use of plastic. When I forget shopping bags, I ask tellers to fill bags as full as possible, single not double bagged. I haven’t had one break yet.
Some of these actions have a cost, money or time, or both. Others come with savings. If I’m not travelling over seas, I wonder what I’ll be missing. Even so, my life is much richer. I thrive with more exercise and space to reflect.
At this point and to be honest, others also nudged me into a more positive direction. The power of peer pressure…
IPCC 2013: Taking Stock
Since 1990, four assessment IPCC reports have been completed. In September, I was waiting with anticipation for the IPCC to start their release of the fifth IPCC report. Reporting will include the following plus summaries for policy makers.
- Climate Change 2013:The Physical Science Basis, Working Group I contribution (final draft is out now)
- Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Working Group II contribution
- Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, Working Group III contribution
- Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report
If you haven’t already visited the IPCC website, to learn more about climate change I recommend a visit to http://www.ipcc.ch/
If you are short on time, look for the summary reports for policy makers. Main points are easy to glean.
Also see The IPCC brochure for an overview “Understanding Climate Change: 22 years of IPCC Assessment” for an informative overview at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/press/ipcc_leaflets_2010/ipcc-brochure_understanding.pdf
Shifting Gears Again
In reflecting on the historical perspective, predictions, and associated implications of human-caused climate change; I was overwhelmed. I soon realized solving the problem was quite simply unfathomable (at least for me). Refocusing on the simple act of moving forward, I’m shifting gears again. I can take more responsibility by doing my part and I can more actively participate in conversations with others in my community about mitigating and adapting to climate change. My behaviours and actions are solidly within my power.