The Climate Change Generation

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By Spencer Showalter

On a transatlantic flight this spring, I met a climate modeler at the back of the plane as we peered out of a tiny window to look at the ice breaking up over Hudson Bay, a phenomenon that NASA’s Earth Observatory says now happens two weeks earlier than it did in 1988.  We talked about our careers; he was a climate scientist looking to retire soon, having spent his entire career using data to model current and future impacts of climate change, and I was weeks away from my attaining my master’s degree in marine affairs and just starting my career, hoping to continue the fight against climate change on a wider political stage. Near the end of our conservation, he graciously told me, “We need more people like you. We did the science, but no one ever listened – your generation has to take up the fight.”

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Image: Hudson Bay ice from the sky, credit Spencer Showalter