The climate—it’s a-changin’

Level of CO2 in atmosphere at record high and rising

Scott McNall, author of <i>Rapid Climate Change: Causes, Consequences and Solutions</i>

Scott McNall, author of Rapid Climate Change: Causes, Consequences and Solutions

Climate change, Part 1
It’s been pooh-poohed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and current Speaker of the House John Boehner, but climate change as a result of an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide should be considered a cause for concern.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has posted a nifty graph at showing that in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, culminating in the last ice age, which ended about 7,000 years ago.

What has followed since the late 1800s—the second phase of the Industrial Revolution—is a sharp spike in atmospheric CO2 that is higher than anything measured from previous climate-change cycles, according to ice-core samples, and continues to rise.

Recently, I had a lengthy conversation about climate change with Chico State sociology professor Scott McNall, the author of Rapid Climate Change: Causes, Consequences and Solutions.

“The idea that all of our human activities have not had an impact on our planet is not a reasonable one,” offered McNall (pictured), former executive director of the university’s Institute for Sustainable Development. “It took billions of years for the Earth to evolve into a stable climate with a stable atmosphere … that allowed us humans to come on the scene.” Since the end of the last ice age, he said, “we’ve enjoyed a stable climate that has allowed our population to grow to almost 7 billion people. Scientists are able to show that since about 1865, CO2 has been building up in the atmosphere, which equals a 1 degree warming [in the global temperature]. There is no doubt we are responsible, due to our industrial activities and our behavior.”

(More on this next week …)

Carbon + 1 Oxide = Bad, too
California’s new Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Act (SB 183) went into effect July 1, requiring owners of single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil-fuel source—such as a gas-burning heater, stove or dryer—to install a carbon-monoxide (CO) alarm. Those who own multi-family residences for rent or lease, such as an apartment building, have until Jan. 1, 2013, to comply. For more information, go to

Food savvy
Stephanie Elliott (GRUB, Chico Natural Foods BOD) will be giving a free food-preservation workshop on July 16 from noon-2 p.m. at kitchen-supply store The Galley (551 Country Drive, 343-8820). Elliott will be going over various methods of preserving the bounty from your garden or farmers’ market, including freezing, dehydrating, and water-bath canning.

christine g.k. lapado

Thanks for the tip!
I received an anonymous voicemail message telling me to check out the Gratitude Tree (pictured) across the street from the CN&R office, in front of U.S. Bank and just behind the stump of the sycamore tree that Park Commissioner Mark Herrera tried to keep from being cut down earlier this year.

A clear plastic container bearing a sign that reads, “Gratitude Tree: What are you thankful for?” contains a pen and blank paper tags with strings. A number of people have hung their completed tags on the tree, expressing gratitude for such things as “good health and great friends,” “love, family, friends and music,” “summer days and lazy nights,” “living in Chico” and “free clean drinking water.”

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”—Cynthia Ozick