Latest letter to the editor. Local papers offer an excellent opportunity for climate activism and education. The Valley News, for example, will basically print any letter of 350 words or less, and asks only that writers refrain from writing more than once every two weeks. Pretty hard to beat. The only defect is that they don't have a web version.
Letter to the Editor - Valley News (Lebanon, N.H.) - March 20, 2012 (Links added)
To the Editor:
Your article "Sap Flow Ends Early: Sugaring Ending When It Typically Would Be Taking Off" (Mar. 19) is one more indication that climate change is upon us, and the weather and world ahead will not be what they used to be. Strangely, the article did not mention climate, nor did another ("Spring Comes to the Fore: Weather Creates Early Golf Start") the same day, but it's getting more and more difficult to ignore what is going on.
What does the future hold for maple sugaring? Likely nothing good--to date, producers have managed to stay more or less even with the warming weather by using new technology, but climate change is like rust in that it never sleeps. A good source for readers who would like to know more is a five-minute YouTube video titled "No Maple Syrup by 2100?" It tells the fascinating story of Martha Carlson, a New Hampshire sugar producer who decided to become a tree researcher and PhD student at the age of 61 after she saw the quality of the syrup from her trees declining. The video quotes the U.S. Forest Service as the source for the simple statement, "Most of the sugar maple is likely to be gone by 2100 due to climate change." It adds that climate change threatens the $3 million maple sugar industry and the $292 million foliage tourism industry.
Anyone concerned about climate change and the prospect it offers--weather disruption, threats to plant and animal species, and more--should consider joining Citizens' Climate Lobby, a group that is seeking to persuade Congress to pass a gradually escalating carbon tax, with the proceeds distributed to all Americans as a dividend. That may not happen this year or next, but climate change is not going away.
Thomas O. Gray
[In related news, see The End of Maple? for a first-person account of this year's sugaring "season."]