Climate Change Talk Wrap Up

This past Sunday, The Saint Francis of Assisi ministry hosted Kathy Dawson who spoke to thirty attendees on the topic “Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions.” Kathy is a member of the All Pilgrims Christian Church on Capitol Hill, a Climate Reality Leader, and a co-leader of the Seattle Climate Change meetup. 

Kathy began with beautiful photo of planet earth taken from Apollo 17 space mission and the following three questions:

  1. Must we change?
  2. Can we change?
  3. Will we change?

The first question led to an examination of the science of climate change: how the earth is warmed when sunlight passes through the atmosphere to warm the surface, but as more and more greenhouse gases accumulate, they trap that heat and less of the heat escapes from the atmosphere, thus warming the planet. Both carbon dioxide levels and global temperatures have increased dramatically since the industrial revolution and the rapid increase in the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. A warming atmosphere leads to more extreme weather, including flooding, hurricanes, and at the other extreme: wildfires, drought and desertification. 

At the current rate of warming, the earth is on pace to rise by 4 degrees celsius by 2100, which would have devastating effects on the earth, and hurt most the poor and marginalized. Even keeping the rise in average temperatures to 2 degrees celsius would have huge negative effects. More information on global warming can be found at a number of websites including The answer to “Must we change?” was Yes.

Kathy answering audience questions.

The second question led to a presentation of positive developments under way, including increasing adoption of solar and wind energy. Paul Hawken and Project Drawdown have developed a list of the top 100 solutions for stopping and reversing climate change. Kathy encouraged all attending to buy or borrow a copy of the Drawdown book or visit the web site. Additional information on project drawdown can be found in my column from last week. The answer to “Can we change” was also Yes.

But will we change? That question is still unanswered. Will you help?

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Paul Litwin

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