Time to stop arguing about climate change and do something about it

It’s time to stop arguing about whether or not climate change is happening and do something about it. Today I’m going to share some of the things that have already happened because our climate is changing.

Lyme disease is a huge new problem here in Maine. We never had deer ticks when I was a kid.

I have enjoyed pheasant hunting in North Dakota, but was surprised to learn that their deer are dying in huge numbers, due to a disease caused by the bites of a midge. This disease was limited to southern states but the warming climate has brought the midges north. Recently the disease made it to Wisconsin.

Climate change has resulted in Minnesota’s moose population going from 4000 to just 237 moose. And I probably don’t have to tell you that Maine’s moose are being killed in big numbers by tiny blood sucking ticks, a new and tragic phenomenon in our state.

We’ve lost a lot of deer wintering habitat and suffered a near total loss of the deer herd in northern and western Maine after two consecutive brutal winters. The conifer trees that deer rely on are having a hard time, partly due to climate change which is moving new tree species north.

Our native trout are in trouble because of warming water in some brooks, streams, and ponds. The National Wildlife Federation authored a report, “Swimming Upstream: Freshwater Fish in a Warming World.” Not good. Not good at all. Many studies have documented rising temperatures in major rivers and lakes across the country. A 2012 die off of lake trout in our own Lake Auburn is an example used in a one report.

Weather events leave brooks and streams swollen and overflowing and later, reduced to a trickle. Last September, I could not fish, for the first time in 30 years, in my favorite brooks and streams near Baxter Park, because the water was so low and hot. Brook trout were unable to spawn, so we lost an entire year’s class of trout.

In 2016 Down East Books published my book on Maine Sporting Camps. We’ve gone from 300 to just 3 dozen of the traditional camps. When I asked what their biggest challenges are, most said the loss of hunters and anglers. Yes, climate changes are challenging Maine’s traditional businesses and rural Maine towns.

You must be aware of the terrible changes caused by our warming ocean waters. Lobsters are about all we’ve got left, and they are moving strongly north along our coast.

Recently, I read a frightening news story about evidence that Greenland’s ice sheet is melting faster than at any time in the past 450 years – and possibly much longer than that. Sea levels may rise as much as 20 feet. Good bye Commercial Street in Portland, along with many of our coastal waterfronts.

I could go on and on, but I will conclude with this. We must do all we can to stop climate change, now. If we don’t, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will – justifiably – blame us for their misery. Please don’t let that happen.