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Blog Post 1: ENVIRONMENTAL RISK, ENVIRONMENTAL REALITY By David Dwyer

Updated: Sep 18, 2023


DAVID DWYER IS A 40 PLUS YEAR RESIDENT OF THE LAKESHORE HISTORIC DISTRICT OF EVANSTON AND AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT. HE HAS AGREED TO BE AN "ISSUE ADVOCATE" ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES FOR INDIVISIBLE EVANSTON AND WILL BE WRITING A BLOG PERIODICALLY TO UPDATE US ON IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. WE ARE PLEASE TO PRESENT HIS INTRODUCTORY BLOG ENTRY.


Climate volatility. Fifty years ago, this was not a term used by anyone, much less a subject for study and discussion in schools and industries all over the world. In fifty years, climate volatility and related subjects such as global warming, climate change, and the sustainability of life on earth, are at last receiving the attention demanded by the reality and the risks of climate neutrality or denial. Weather events, including floods, fires, and droughts, are now in the mainstream news every day. Thousands of lives are lost, and millions of acres of forest are lost every year to ‘natural’ disasters. Still, many of the most prolific industries, locally and internationally, remain myopically focused on profitability. Energy, agriculture, manufacturing and financial industries still benefit from the environmental degradation they promote and the dwindling of natural resources that increase demand and limit supply. The calculation is relatively simple. When energy is added to our air, water, and earth surface in the form of heat, and when the heat is added consistently but unevenly across the globe, climate patterns which normally change gradually, become destabilized and volatile, changing suddenly and dramatically. The climate behavior that was relatively stable just a few moments ago in geologic time is now entirely unpredictable. The tragedies created by this level of volatility appear to be localized and far removed from our social and economic enclave here in Evanston. The newsworthy weather events seem to occur almost everywhere else but here. The east coast, the southeast-Florida to Kentucky; the south central regions such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico; the west coast-California, Oregon and Washington; and Canada, from Vancouver to Ontario, all appear to be taking on the full force of climate volatility. In the media, these events are big news, but appear to the casual viewer to be localized weather events. Meanwhile, it feels as though we in the Midwest, and more specifically in the Great Lakes region, have been given some kind of immunity-at least temporarily from the worst effects of climate volatility. Appearances can be deceiving, as we all know. These first effects of substantial climate change have taken place all around the Great Lakes regions. But climate risk and volatility have begun to reach our shores in what now seem to be small ways. Our environmental problems, risks and volatility are not localized events that take place ‘elsewhere’. The causes and effects are metastatic and self-perpetuating. Over the next weeks and months, I will be studying and bringing to the Indivisible public square more granular levels of information regarding climate risk, volatility, our place in this cascade of climate and environmental change. We will take a closer, local view of our place within the national and international contexts of relentless climate risk and reality.

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