Ugochi Anyaka's Blog

Days 8, 9 & 10

"If you live in South Florida and you're not building a boat, you're not facing reality".

I read a piece on the Climate Progress blog about a sinking Miam,i and this quote came from the article. A comment on the post also read "market forces will be the first real climate signal to pound deniers on the head".

Extreme weather conditions in the United States have got even some skeptics wearing their expensive climate lenses better. How to communicate these changes to believers and deniers was the reason the AGU Chapman conference brought together scientists, journalists, bloggers and scholars. From trying to decide what to call those who say climate change is not real, to the debates around climate change and Climategate, as well as ideas on how to reach every target group, speakers shared their different experiences, using art, humour, social media, and youth perspectives. It was a meeting that I left feeling more knowledgeable about climate communication. I also got an impromptu chance to speak. I had breakfast with Lynda Williams and she informed the organizers about meeting me, and my UNEP-YEJA Award. They thought it would be great hearing from an environmental journalist from a different part of the world. The issues are the same, but the perspectives are different. You can find tweets from the conference using the hashtag #climatechapman.

Before I left Granby, I went on a tour of the Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the most breathtaking places in the world. It is a vast land with beautiful vegetation, a bit of snow ice kissing the early summer ‎‎sun, gently sending water down the rocks to rivers beneath. The park is located on high elevations, ranging from 8000 feet to 14,259 feet. Yes…I was a bit afraid to get that high. The bus twisted and turned along the narrow mountain roads, and looking down from that elevation was a bit scary for me, but the view was breathtaking. I saw lots of wildlife including moose, elks, bighorn sheep, mule deer and birds. We stepped down from the bus at the peak to ‎see the continental divide, and then to complete a mini hike to the Colorado River. This is an experience I would be glad to relive over and over. The Rocky Mountain Park is seeing its share of climatic changes affecting trees, wildlife, and water availability, which are increasing dryness and causing wildfires. In fact, we had just arrived at the mountains when the fire presently consuming homes and trees in Colorado started. It was just a little spark from lightening, but was fuelled by dry weather conditions to reach its present unmanageable state.

Alberta Falls Rocky Mountain National Park Photo

As we drove back to my hotel, I thought about the changes at the National Park and how the people who depend on its resources for livelihoods are affected. I reflected on this same situation back home in Nigeria and the rest of the world. Our actions and inactions are costing us more than we realize. The metaphor of alcohol addiction rang in my head once more: "We are addicted to habits that make us sick"

Thunder Lake Rocky Mountain National Park

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