Will “doom travel” be the only option left?

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Events, Policy

I was alarmed, but not surprised, while reading an article by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat describing his recent disappointing trip to Glacier National Park.  He took his family to see the glaciers and play in the snow, but because of, at least in part, climate change induced melting, “Today the glaciers left are high, distant patches. Their blue ice clings desperately to loose rock mostly up near the mountain peaks.” A park ranger even told him, “They recently revised the end date, because the glaciers are retreating much faster than expected…now they’re saying they may be gone completely by 2020.” 2020! 7 short years until the glaciers will potentially be gone forever!

Mr. Westneat’s article got me thinking about how many other natural wonders and animal species are/will be destroyed be climate change. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and colleagues recently published a paper, ‘Perceptions of Climate Change’ providing data supporting the idea that the recent extreme weather is due to climate change. Nature News states, “The study is not the first to show a link between global warming and extreme weather3, but it goes well beyond its predecessors, concluding that greenhouse gases alone are responsible for the hot summers and heat waves.” While Hansen’s publication has received criticism by some scientists, no one can deny the record breaking temperatures and large number of wildfires and droughts plaguing the US. In Washington state wildfires are raging and have already destroyed approximately 22,000 acres. Some of the wildfires are located in Cle Elum. My friends plan an annual trip to Cle Elum to camp along the river each year, will there be a trip next year?

The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a climate hearing at the beginning of the month, but at Nature News Blog explains, “But rather than probe questions about the scientific frontier and what policy-makers can do to address potential risks, today’s hearing merely rehashed a tired debate about whether global warming is real or a giant “hoax”.” I guess for the time being, I’ll be planning my next vacations based on Frommer’s “500 Places to See Before They Disappear.”

  1. Melinda Hough says:


    Did you read Shawn’s post in Huffington about this a few weeks ago? I can forward the link. You can watch the Senate EPW hearing online – it is tragic (and funny).

    What is particularly sad to me is that we have black and white family photos from when my grandmother was a young girl growing up in Glacier in the 20s & 30s. To see the images from today is devastating.

    Back in June 2005 the G20 summit was in the UK and there was a front page comparison picture in the Guardian of Kilimanjaro then and now. If that wasn’t enough to change ones mind about the importance of these issues and that we need to act.

    Congrats – the writing is great. =) Keep up the good work.


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