Letter from Costa Rica: Effects of climate change felt every day

monteverde-cloud-forest-reserve-2

Bravo for the courageous young people of the world! In the past two decades or so, I have been growing more and more impressed by the efforts of friends and, now, the children of friends, to save our planet. It is heartening—after the deep disappointment of hearing educated yet obtuse people deny the damage we have done and are doing—to read letters like the following, sent from Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve by Maya Spaur (daughter of fellow Cornellian, former housemate, and dear friend, Rita Misra). Items like this strengthen my faith in the survival of the earth thanks to the younger generations. Go, Maya! (And go, Sirena K, Andrea Solange T-W, Gretchen B, Lizzie G, Génesis A, Dave F, and many more…!)

I was born and raised in Mount Airy. I am a student at University of Maryland, College Park, double-majoring in Government & Politics and Environmental Science & Technology.

I write this from the Monteverde Cloud Forest of Costa Rica where the effects of climate change are felt keenly every day, by every person that lives, travels, or works in this incredible landscape that is fast-disappearing. It’s not just people that are suffering; since the 1980s, unprecedented numbers of other species have vanished, never to be seen again. Hard data collected by countless scientists over many years have proven that climate change is occurring and wreaking havoc on the natural world.

My generation cannot afford to waste any more time on climate deniers who fail to understand that “global warming hysteria” is not hysteria and not some conspiracy theory concocted by “Marxists;” no amount of reason will convince them that 97 percent of reputable scientists agree that climate change is real and human activity is responsible for a significant part of it. For Commissioner Rothschild and a few “scientists” bankrolled by oil or gas companies to claim that no climate consensus exists is not just laughable, it is disrespectful to every single person around the world that goes hungry or falls ill because of loss of natural resources, drought, floods or other extreme weather events.

Waist deep in the mud, studying how epiphyll cover has changed over the past ten years due to local drying caused by climate change (because of an increase in sea surface temperatures that drives moisture up the mountains, plant and animal species that cannot survive in extended dry periods migrate upwards) I find it incredible that Commissioner Rothschild equates climate change to fiction. I challenge Mr. Rothschild to travel beyond the comfort of his cushy government office to places in the world that are, at this minute, feeling the negative effects of climate change, to talk with the people whose farms and lives are threatened by increased temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, to look these people in the eye and tell them that what they are experiencing is not real. Maybe then Mr. Rothschild will understand that his reality is as outdated as a George Orwell novel.

For original letter, see http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/opinion/letters/ph-cc-spaur-letter-080915-20150811-story.html

See more on the Monteverde Cloud Forest at http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/monteverde.htm and http://www.cloudforestmonteverde.com/

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