As the Planet Warms, Continuing a Call for a “Climate Grito”


The news reported the same idea from slightly different angles, but it was clear—2012 was a hot year. The US put forth the warmest year on record.  As the New York Times stated:

“How hot was it? The temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.”

That may not sound like a lot but it is also in the context of the 10 warmest years on record happened within the past 15 years and it adds up to big change for weather and climate patterns.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific, Australia needs a new color on the heat scale to record hotter temperatures.

Such examples seem to put the term “global warming” back on the news map after weather events like “Superstorm Sandy” highlighted the effects of “climate change”—which may have some asking, is it global warming or climate change?

Point is that it is both, since the warming is an average increase in surface temperature, coupled with variability across the plane in precipitation patterns and a rise in sea level. So the planet is warming as some areas are wetter and others dry out.

But rather than going back and forth between “global warming” and “climate change”, the big deal is that  although there has been some movement in the right direction, global efforts as a whole have been painfully slow, disjointed, and not  good enough to deal with the problem of a changing climate in a warmer planet.

Bill McKibben, an advocate for climate change action, implied it simply in his piece Obama vs. Physics that either we act or do not, but the reality of the change is not going to wait for our timescales. It is happening and will not wait in the ways we deal with other issues like education, health, or immigration reform.

So what about some Latino leverage in the issue, a call for a “Climate Grito”?

The reference is, of course, to the “Grito de Dolores”, which called for revolutionary change for independence in Mexico. In this case it is a call, a grito, to continue to increase the ways Latinos are associated with climate change and global warming. The polls indicate the interest from Latinos to see action on climate change, so it is natural to be involved in the framing of the issue and the leadership calling for change. This matters on two fronts. One is to be a part of leading the change as we diversify the conservation movement. The other is because as change happens, the effects will impact Latinos, both on the policy front and on the detrimental physical consequences of a warmer planet.

It is fair to note that it may be hard to think of this as an immediate Latino issue given the imperative that has been placed on immigration reform. But think of the potential and possibility, that as that we rally the energy to make immigration reform happen in 2013, we could do something similar for action on climate change as the planet warms.


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