While the rest of the world swelters in unusually warm weather, here on the east side of the Cascade mountains in Oregon it is still cold and barely spring. They promised us a little relief this week, but then it’s predicted to get cold again. Everyone is complaining about the overcast skies, the cold, and the wind, although this is pretty normal for this time of year.

Mount Jefferson, Cascade Range, Oregon, United...

Mount Jefferson, Cascade Range, Oregon, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In fact, I feel that we’re lucky here in Central Oregon to be shielded a bit (for now) from the effects of global warming. It’s easy to become complacent and think that, even if scientists are right about climate change, we don’t need to worry about it now. Not here, anyway.

Isn’t this human nature, really, to want to put our heads in the sand? To go on as if life will always stay the same, so long as we ourselves are comfortable? It’s so much easier, really, just to believe the naysayers, who insist that global warming is a hoax, than to face up to the possibility that our planet may be reaching a tipping point.

Sea level has been rising cm/yr, based on meas...

Sea level has been
rising cm/yr, based on measurements of sea level rise from 23 long tide
gauge records in geologically stable environments. (Photo credit:

I personally feel the tendency towards inertia deep in my bones. I desire for my lovely middle class American lifestyle to continue forever, so I can drive places in my car and keep my home at a nice temperature and use clean water out of my tap. And yet, I cannot give in to it and continue life as usual. I have spent too much time in science-land to think that the majority of climate scientists are perpetrating a hoax of some sort. I knowthose people (not personally, just the general class of scientists). They might be deluding themselves, they might be desperate to show that they are the best in their field, but designing a deliberate hoax? I seriously doubt it.

So, despite the fact that I just want to hunker down and turn up the heat and be warm after the long winter, I have decided that I need to do some studying. I can’t just sit around listening to the ‘he said, she said chatter’ about melting ice and hidden cooling factors any more. How are the scientists doing those calculations, anyway, that lead them to conclude we’re in deep doo-doo or to argue that we are fine? What does the data look like? I’m starting easy, with some popular science books, just to get a handle on the big picture. Our local library is a treasure trove of books arguing the merits of both sides. Both sides? When did science become so highly politicized? Wish me luck wading through this mess.

And please, leave your comments. I’ll be writing on this blog all week. I’m hoping to provoke discussion, but keep it polite so that we can all learn something, okay?