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‘Change is the new normal’

Citizens Climate Lobby meets in Estherville

January 15, 2018
By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Meeting at the Estherville Library on Saturday, the gathering of the Iowa Great Lakes Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby drew several area residents, including a family of newcomers to the area who said they attended in order to find "our people."

A central effort of the Citizens Climate Lobby is to keep in touch with U.S. Senators and members of Congress. The CCL is non-partisan, and committed to civil conversations about climate change and actions citizens can take to alleviate its effects.

The group had a national conference call with Dr. Sabine Marx from the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. The call centered around communicating effectively with policy makers about climate change.

Dr. Marx provided four questions to ask when speaking with representatives:

1. Is the message relatable?

2. Does it grab attention?

3. Does it motivate action?

4. Does it foster cooperation, collaboration, and community building?

The Citizens Climate Lobby had a year of movement in its message in 2017, according to national leaders. The CCL received 2,535 endorsements, more than all previous endorsements combined.

The CCL now has 457 chapters; in 2016, there were 97.

Two thousand conservatives are now members of the CCL.

Members had 3,522 letters to the editor published last year; the previous high was 3,000.

Membership doubled to 92,194.

Climate change is increasingly affecting the daily lives of citizens, and the ability to continue living, and is packing an increasing economic punch.

According to NOAA, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each around the U.S. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects in the areas affected.

The average number of events between 1980 and 2017 is 5.8 events (adjusted for cost-price index) and the annual average for the last five years is 11.6 events (also CPI-adjusted).

According to the NOAA website, "During 2017, the U.S. experienced a historic year of weather and climate disasters. In total, the U.S. was impacted by 16 separate billion-dollar disaster events tying 2011 for the record number of billion-dollar disasters for an entire calendar year. In fact, 2017 arguably has more events than 2011 given that our analysis traditionally counts all U.S. billion-dollar wildfires, as regional-scale, seasonal events, not as multiple isolated events."

The cumulative cost of these events exceeds $300 billion in 2017, a new U.S. annual record.

Closer to Emmet County, researchers at Iowa State University have delved into biochar, a substance that retains water and enriches soil fertility.

Farmers can make biochar through a process called pyrolysis, which essentially takes smoldered tree remains and makes char out of it, then distributes the char into the soil.

The Iowa Great Lakes Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby meets in various locations around the area. The next meeting will likely take place at Lakeside Laboratory in Okoboji.



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