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Climate chaos

Disaster isn’t coming … it is here now! The American West, the Amazon rainforest, Australia … all burning. Indonesia is flooding. Arctic glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising. The year 2019 was a record year for rising ocean temperatures, leading to more frequent and intense hurricanes, in my view.

Insect populations are increasing. In 2018 and 2019, the mosquitos in our area were so bad it was difficult to be outdoors without using copious amounts of toxic bug sprays. The mosquitos in all 67 Pennsylvania counties are carrying West Nile Virus (according to a DEP announcement). Tick populations are on the rise locally. My dog has Lyme disease and my vet thinks that within a few years all dogs in the state will have Lyme.

Also locally, record rain in the spring and many extremely hot days have been changing agriculture. Farmers have been delayed in planting, are seeing more pests, and crops like corn, soy, wheat are being affected by higher temperatures (not to mention that the increased heat takes it toll on those who work outside). Five rainless days in a row with temperatures over 95 degrees will kill a field of corn. Higher heat, and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, also means decreased nutrition in these plants.

On Jan 11, I noticed my pussy willow bush is in bloom, two months early, and my garlic is sprouting in my garden. We harvested shitake mushrooms in December! Winter bird populations are down. Bird migration patterns are not on the right schedules. This is all wrong!

And my forest is dying. I estimate 20 to 30 percent of our trees are either blown over (soil too wet to support the trees), broken off at the tops (wind damage/pests), or just standing dead (pests). I believe all species are in decline.

Mother Nature is rebelling against her children (us) and we deserve her anger. The consequences of our actions will be very hard for many to bear.

The year 2020 is about decisions. Ask every candidate, at every level, “What is your plan for climate change?” There’s nothing like the power of the people. I am counting on you to choose life, to choose a future. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does. All of our lives do.

VICKI SMEDLEY

Jersey Shore

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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