Opinion | Linda Harmon: Climate whiners, grow a heart | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Linda Harmon: Climate whiners, grow a heart

Climate change is becoming more of a threat every day. Saying climate change is a hoax is similar to believing the big lie, asserting that the election was stolen. It is a dangerous choice for you and for everyone on Earth.

I’ve decided to change the name of those who believe climate change doesn’t exist from climate deniers to climate whiners. Just as they complain about vaccinations and wearing masks, they love to whine about how climate change is a lie and any attempt to address it affects their freedoms. But their climate whining way of life is having a devastating effect on everyone’s lives, especially the future for our young children.

Summit County residents know how the continual forest fire smoke has hampered our outdoor lifestyle. Luckily, our Summit County commissioners and our town leaders are not climate whiners. Knowing what lies ahead, they recently commissioned a report from the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. This report lays out exactly what will happen if we don’t start making improvements today.

The analysis outlines the reasons Summit County will see much hotter temperatures by midcentury and considerably hotter days by the end of the century. The report explains that from 1970 to 1999, the hottest day of the year averaged 79 degrees. The average temperature in the 2050s will be 3 degrees hotter than the single hottest day in the 20th century.

Climate whiners are probably saying, “So what?” But this constant and prolonged increased heat will result in wildfires and mudslides becoming the new norm. Air quality will consistently worsen, and our amazing love for being outdoors in Summit County will be threatened forever.

“These numbers show both how much Summit County has at stake as humans continue to change the climate and how much difference climate protection actions can make to head off unacceptable changes,” Rocky Mountain Climate Organization President Stephen Saunders said.

There is also positive news in this report. It’s not hopeless.

Just like getting vaccinations and wearing masks, modified human behavior can reverse the harmful effects of our current practices and routines. Rocky Mountain Climate Organization officials say the increased days of heat can be avoided if global emissions of heat-trapping pollution are sharply reduced.

“Our actions can change this outcome,” Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortensen said. “The town of Frisco has made a commitment to understanding the facts and acting on them, which includes getting 100% renewable energy by 2035.”

Our county, town and private-sector leaders are taking this warning very seriously. Other than our county and town governments pledging to have 100% renewable energy by 2035, significant efforts include the four largest ski resort companies in North America creating the Climate Collaborative Charter in June. This powerful commitment comes from Summit County’s largest employers and the county’s biggest economic drivers including Vail Resorts and Powdr Corp. Alterra Mountain Co. and Boyne Resorts also signed on. They are committed to reducing energy use whenever possible and pursuing renewable carbon-neutral energy sources. Additionally, they are making strong efforts to reduce waste and incorporate sustainability into all aspects of their mountain resorts.

On the nonprofit side, Summit County’s High Country Conservation Center is educating residents on how they impact the environment and what they can do to effect change. The organization’s website talks about fossil fuels being one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. For residents wanting to do their part, switching to electric cars is one solution. All major brands including Ford, GMC, Honda, Volvo, Lexus, Mercedes, Nissan and, of course, Subaru have electric models or will by next year. Many are aiming to have all models electric by the end of 2025. This means if you are planning to trade in your car in the next couple of years and you are brand loyal, you can probably get an electric car and play an important role in this pending crisis.

Whining isn’t the solution. Growing a heart that genuinely cares about our climate is the answer.

“In Summit County, with more extreme heat, wildfires and mudslides becoming routine, this report brings home that these changes are just the beginning if we don’t work together to address the growing impacts of the climate crisis,” Summit County Commissioner Josh Blanchard said.

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