Global warming turns up the heat in Colorado
A very dry and unseasonably warm month of March took a severe toll on snowpack across the state. By Friday, snowpack in the Colorado River Basin was just 60 percent of normal for this point in the winter.
Sunlight Mountain Resort closed two weeks earlier than normal, and limped through what should have been the big spring break weeks with slush and bare spots.
Already the snow line is creeping up toward 9,000 feet.
Colorado is facing another severe drought year, possibly as bad as 2002 when wildfires dominated the landscape and kept everyone on edge.
With record-breaking heat and dramatic shifts in precipitation, there should be little doubt that the effects of global warming have hit home.
A century of increasing use of fossil fuels and deforestation is making our winters shorter and warmer, and our summers drier and hotter. These changes are going to cost us a bundle.
When our backyard ski area loses valuable weeks in operation, when wildfire season runs from March through November and firefighting costs soar into the millions, there’s no denying we are in trouble.
It’s easy to point a finger, but in truth, we should be pointing at ourselves. Gas-guzzling automobiles, monster houses with huge demands for heating and cooling, and increased use of electricity to support our consumptive lifestyles are pumping tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The result is that things we care about, such as the ski season, our tourist economy and a green landscape, not to mention the global environment, are suffering.
Now is the time both to rethink our individual consumption habits and to band together in policy decisions that move, heat, cool, and feed us with a new generation of vehicles, appliances, insulation, and a more appropriate scale of living in general, saving energy and money.
With some relatively simple and economical actions, we can keep our personal lifestyles and comforts, protect the outdoor recreation we all enjoy, and keep healthy the planet on which we all depend.
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