There are a few facts to keep in mind about climate change:

* There’s a difference between climate and weather. Weather varies from day to day, even hour to hour, while climate is measured over decades. According to NASA, “The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”

* It’s getting warmer. The folks who tell you that we stopped warming after 1998 are mistaken. 2016 just became the warmest year ever recorded, breaking the old record, which was set in 2015.  (The previous record was 2014.  Sensing a pattern?)  Every decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the previous decade. Our most recent decade was the warmest ever.  All the major climate signals indicate that the earth is warming.

* It’s true - the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that the world is warming, and that humans are a major part of the problem. A 2010 study published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimated that 97% to 98% of climate scientists agree on these basic facts. A more recent 2016 study showed that only four (4) of 69,406 authors contributing to peer-reviewed scientific articles on anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming published in 2013 and 2014 dismissed the scientific consensus.  When 69,402 scientific experts accept human-caused climate change, and only four dismiss it, it's obvious that there's an almost unanimous expert consensus on the threat. 

* Climate change can manifest itself in a number of different ways: higher temperatures, stronger storms, coastal flooding, longer and more severe droughts, wildfires, lower stream flows, higher water temperatures, ocean acidification, changing precipitation patterns, earlier snow-melt and run-off, lower snowpack, etc. All these aspects of our changing climate can have serious impacts on fish & game populations, on wildlife habitat, and on rivers, streams, lakes and oceans.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
US National Academy of Science (US NAS)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
National Climate Assessment (NCA2014)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

There are two keys to protecting our fisheries.  The first is passion. We need to let people know that we really care about our angling, and about the world we’re leaving our kids & grandkids.  If you love to spend time on the water, please don’t hide it.  Show people how much your care. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a friend or a family member, a neighbor or a co-worker, a reporter or a congressman. People react well to passion, especially when it’s expressed in a positive manner.  

The second key is knowledge. We have to know what we’re talking about. Exaggerations (or half-truths, or misinformation) just won’t get it done. When we talk to folks about climate change, we should be knowledgeable, accurate and persuasive.


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Photo courtesy of Tim Romano