Our latest reading for comment in People and the Environment, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website’s analysis and outlook in “Global Climate Change and its Impact on Minnesota”, starts the imagination running. Our planet is getting warmer. True. Climate change has happened before in the Earth’s history, but this is the first time it has been influenced by human society.
The first paragraph beyond the summary of Governor Pawlenty’s 2006 introduction of his Next Generation Energy Initiative sets you up for the facts and hypothesis to come:
While some scientists may disagree about the causes and extent of global climate change, few doubt that the Earth’s climate is warming. Some University of Minnesota researchers predict that if trends continue, Minnesota could look a lot like Nebraska in the coming years.
Nebraska? Part of what was once termed the Great American Desert? This reminds me of a line from the film Unforgiven, in which Gene Hackman’s character Little Bill Daggett says:
Hell, I even thought I was dead ’til I found out it was just that I was in Nebraska.
Now, I don’t mean to be making light of a very serious subject, but there is good reason for my sarcasm. For the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Land of Sky-Blue Waters, and the North Woods, or as I affectionately call it, God’s Country, to become predominantly grassland and savanna drastic changes would have to occur.
This is mostly speculation of course, no one can say for certain what our future holds, but to imagine that all this change is possible in our children’s lifetime is difficult to fathom. Yet it is a very real possibility. We are risking the odds of our future on a cultural game of chance.
Trying to imagine what would become of the infrastructure of our local society, environment, and ecosystem, what we are familiar with, helps bring the broader view into focus. If I said your children’s environment would resemble very little to nothing of your own, an environment you have chosen, love, and cherish, yet the geographical location remained the same, would you make the personal choices necessary to curb the imminent changes?