The Pacific NW Heatwave and Climate Change

Three record-breaking temperatures on three consecutive days in Seattle: 102, 104, and culminating on Monday: 108 degrees Fahrenheit. And compared to our Pacific NW neighbors, we had it easy: in Portland, it reached 116! And in Lytton, BC, on Monday, it reached 118, which was an all-time record for Canada. As several scientists have pointed out, a heat wave of this magnitude and duration should be expected about once every several thousand years. But thanks to climate change, we are likely to see heat waves like this more and more. Last year, it reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California. 

Globally, nineteen of the 20 hottest years ever measured have been since 2002 and the seven hottest of all time have been the last seven years! And with heat, comes heat-related deaths of both humans and animals, major droughts causing water shortages and crop loss, disease, hurricanes, and forest fires and smoky skies, just to name a few of the things that have happened and will continue to happen until we significantly reduce the release of climate warming gases into the atmosphere. And the least amongst us, the poor, the marginalized, and the indigenous peoples of the world, those who contributed the least to the problem, will suffer the most from climate change.

Today, wind and solar are already cheaper than fossil fuels, yet we continue to rely primarily on oil, gas, and coal to power the world. We have the technology, we have the knowhow. We just need the collective will and political leadership to move into a sustainable future where we show unwavering respect for God’s handiwork, put millions to work, and reverse the devastating effects of climate change.

We don’t pass the earth down to our children and grandchildren; we borrow it from them. How will we be judged by future generations as well as our creator? 

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

Paul Litwin

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