A Great Divide: Attitudes About Climate Change Remarkably Different Around the U.S., With Sharp Divide Along East/West

So one thing I’ve noticed the last few years in my peripatetic life of inhabiting both the Eastern and the Western U.S. is a noticeable division in attitudes about Climate Change. In a nutshell, it seems as though the West is much more aware (and fearful of the consequences) of Climate Change, and the East sees it as more theoretical, as something happening elsewhere. There are good reasons for this divide, especially if you’re seeing it through the landscape prism of the Southwest—an area which some climatologists claim has warmed more dramatically than the rest of the country. I’ll leave actual figures for much more data-heavy sites than mine, but the website http://www.realclimate.org/ is a good source for such info. But here’s a bit of anecdotal evidence that says much: My home in Colorado is at the foot of an abandoned ski resort, that flourished briefly in the 1980s, which the locals also claim was a turning point in how much winter snow our area receives: In the past the mountains were regularly snow-clad from November to May, and now it’s an iffy proposition. The ski resort closed from lack of enough snow, and lack of enough business.
There’s a piece in today’s NY Times about an initiative in Boulder, Colorado, to switch away from a traditional utility company, and create a ‘greener’ model, here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/us/boulder-seeks-to-take-power-from-the-power-company.html?_r=1&hpw
In central Pennsylvania, where I spend eight months of my year, the main energy argument seems to be how fast we can allow natural gas companies to frack the landscape, and of course at what cost: Or at no cost, as our Republican governor, Corbett, has a no-taxation for natural gas industry policy, in the name of encouraging ‘business,’ or rewarding his campaign contributors. (Almost all other states tax natural gas producers.) Although we certainly have our green energy proponents, and experts, such as Penn State faculty member and climate change expert Richard Alley, the general attitude seems to place Climate Change somewhere on the likelihood of being struck by a comet. Certainly it seems an abstract argument, not a practical one, contrary to the way it is increasingly being perceived as an immediate issue in the West.

This entry was posted in Climate Change, The West. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *