The triumph of global warming?

The day after the election, an azalea bush in full bloom momentarily distracted me from what happened in Pennsylvania and the country the day before.


Because of the fall colors in the leaves, you need to look a bit closely, but the bush bears dozens of purple blossoms. I’ve seen older azaleas here tricked into putting out a couple of blooms on one branch, but never a whole array in mid-November. The hot weather of most of the fall must have seemed like spring to the plants… as well as to us.

People here sometimes say at times like this: and what’s so bad about global warming? Actually, here in Chester County we are pretty lucky. Not only are we a beautiful county with a lot of preserved open space, but we don’t have big rivers and dams or low-lying sea coasts. We will need to manage our storm runoff better, as West Chester is starting to do and probably other municipalities as well; but we don’t have huge forces of nature arrayed against us. Global warming will make us hotter in summer but we can probably deal with it, and so far at least, droughts have been rare here.

The irony of this year’s election is that people who voted for the national winner are more likely than we are (he lost Chester County by 25,000 more votes) to suffer the consequences as time goes on. His most ardent supporters will see declines in health care, public education, and employment options (it will turn out that “reform” unfortunately does not mean “recreate and improve”). Meanwhile, those who live along the Mississippi and the Gulf and East Coasts will see the storm waters rising around them.

From the Delmarva peninsula south to just short of Miami, and then around the Gulf Coast almost to Mexico, the man who called global warming a hoax predominated in voting. People there will not be any more immune to megastorms and tidal surges than those in the endangered Pacific islands. But in West Chester, we’ll continue to enjoy our gardens into what used to be thought of as late fall.

About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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2 Responses to The triumph of global warming?

  1. The conclusion that Chester County is going to be largely protected from the impacts of climate change is dead wrong. Climate change is a global issue that will severely impact every person on this planet. The warming of our planet, CO2 increases, and alterations in precipitation are already causing food crop yields to drop by 1.5-4%. Unchecked climate change is projected to cause an approximate 7 degree increase in temperatures, which will cut grain yields 84-100%! Further, consider the fact that the proliferation of CO2 into the air, a direct result of our burning of gas, oil and other fossil fuels, is causing the oceans to rapidly acidify. Acidification is causing marine ecosystems to destabilize.The consequences are already starting to be seen, they’re happening fast, and they will be nothing short of devastating. Anyone who remembers 4th grade science (ecosystems) understands that every one of us needs the oceans to be healthy, because they provide the basis of our entire food chain. Think about these facts — along with the greatly intensified storms, coastal flooding around the world that causes migration of entire populations, and increased insect-bourne and other diseases that climate change is bringing — and, yes, this will impact us all. The next time you look at the pretty bush that is blooming off-season, don’t get happy. Remember that this is nature’s sign – however beautiful – of extremely hard times ahead. Get up and do something — for the sake of our children.

  2. Thanks for the comment and I didn’t mean to give the appearance of belittling global warming. I know oceans, agriculture, trees, and many species are negatively impacted. And I know West Chester is doing more than its share to reduce carbon emissions. I wanted to stress the irony that while we and neighboring communities are working to be good climate citizens, we are far above the floods that will be making life miserable for people who (unlike Chester County) preferred a presidential candidate who believes that global warming is a hoax. It’s already happening in the U.S.: see e.g. “Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun,” New York Times, 9/4/16, at

    I also think there is a philosophical question about such ironies: can we still enjoy the benefits of nice weather (till yesterday) if others are being flooded, or should we try to share their pain? In either case, we’d want to try to do our part in cutting fossil fuel emissions, maintaining tree coverage, retaining rain water (despite what I wrote above, we seem now to be in a late-season drought), and the like. And of course, the people being flooded should do their part too. Let’s hope! It’s clear now that local action will be where the action is.

    PS Saw a camellia in full bloom today in East Bradford….

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