A letter to the editor by Kristina Steger in the La Crosse Tribune:

Do you make an effort each day to keep your carbon dioxide emissions down? Chances are that is the last thing you are worrying about amidst your family, career, school and friends.

Well, climate change is real. It threatens serious and even catastrophic disruption of our community and the natural environment itself. Earth is getting warmer at an extremely quick rate. Most of it is caused by a buildup of greenhouse gas emissions, which trap the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, just like a greenhouse.

It may seem hard to “worry” about this when western Wisconsin hasn’t seen the drastic effects of climate change yet. The key word, however, is “yet.” The temperature in the permafrost in Iceland has been rising at a rapid rate for the past 25 years. Storm surges are already occurring in various parts of Alaska. Glaciers at Glacier National Park are expected to vanish by 2030. The disintegration of the entire Greenland ice sheet could be set in motion in a matter of decades. Once an ice sheet begins to melt, it starts to flow faster, making it thin out faster, which encourages further melting.

If our CO2 emissions aren’t controlled, this process could begin occurring in a matter of decades. When this process starts, it will be virtually impossible to stop and will cause a global disaster.

All of us need to have a greater sense of urgency to making commitments to reducing CO2 emissions and thus helping to slow (or prevent) climate change.