Climate Change Observations

climate change

The Dutch are preparing for a rising sea by moving mountains of sand to fortify their dikes

I get very frustrated when I hear people call climate change a “theory.” From a European perspective, humans are causing the planet to warm up — which will likely lead to devastating hardship and suffering for future generations…most severely in the poor world. Those who deny that fact are either very greedy or very stupid.

In my travels, I see signs of our changing climate everywhere. In England’s Portsmouth, floodgates are being built on medieval streets that never needed them before. In Hamburg, you’ll find all-new riverside construction basically on stilts, in anticipation of storm surges that could push the Elbe River into people’s living rooms.

Flood embankment

The Dutch — famously smart, famously frugal, and famously below sea level — are spending billions of euros shoring up their dikes and preparing for a rising sea. Rotterdam has a new storm surge barrier, the size of two horizontal Eiffel Towers on wheels, that can roll together when high seas threaten. And the Swiss (who don’t build ski lifts these days without plumbing them to make snow) remember summer skiing in the Alps as something their parents did.

In my personal world, the Iditarod dog race in Alaska that my sister participates in has become an annual rocky slog — even with a course that has been relocated to find some snow. And my family’s cabin retreat in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is threatened by persistent forest fires.

What about you? Have you witnessed the effects of climate change during your travels? Please share your observations in the comments below or on Facebook.

(Of course, inspiring so many people to cross the Atlantic makes me a huge contributor to climate change. This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, and I’m still working to find a clear and effective way to make our company carbon-neutral. I’d love to hear if you’ve found a good way to balance the negative impact flying has on the environment.)