Is ignoring a problem helpful?

    I am deeply concerned and uneasy about the environment and potential problems that my children and grandchildren will face. What is happening in Missouri reminds me of the frog in hot water story. The water temperature is slowly rising but the frog doesn’t leave because it doesn’t notice the slow but relentless increase in temperature that will bring about its death. Likewise our Missouri legislature doesn’t recognize or care that our environment is changing and not for the better.


    I will be voting Democratic this fall because the current federal administration has done more recently to deal with the changing environment. The Inflation Reduction Act has set aside funds to help slow and stop the climate change catastrophe we are marching toward. The state of Missouri has basically ignored all climate issues.
    I have talked with farmers, people involved in forest work, home gardeners, creek and river users, conservation agents, environmental scientists and others about the changes I am seeing in our climate. All that I have spoken to agree that the climate is changing. It is different from what their fathers dealt with, and what they are dealing with today. Not everybody agrees with what is causing the change, but all agree that a change is here and seems to be increasing.
    Row crop farmers that I know complain about heavy spring rains. They can’t get into their fields early enough to plant, and then blistering late summer heat has lessened their per bushel expectations. Pasture farmers talk about having been able to hay two to three times a season. Today they’re looking at one to two times a season and the heat affects the hay growth and cuts back the amount that can be harvested in the second cutting.
    Cattle farmers complained to me that they are finding it harder to have pasture for their cows late in the season. They have had several years (and more are projected) that they have had to feed baled hay and this costs them more money and increases prices to the consumer. Home gardeners complain about two things watering, and heat. Hot weather has always caused a drop off in garden production, but as the number of days of extreme heat increase garden production will continue to drop. When crop production, locally or nationally drops off, people will find it harder and more costly to feed their families.
    My forester friends acknowledge that droughts stress trees, but some of that stress takes 15 to 20 years before it shows up. Drought and heat slow down the growth of trees taking longer to get a harvestable crop. We’ve all seen trees in the middle of summer turn brown and die. Some of those trees were stressed out in the drought of 2012 and are just now losing their battle to survive. Over the long haul this will affect our logging industry. While not quantifiable it seems more trees are withering in the summer than I have noticed in past summers.
    Canoe and raft rental companies have had to deal with more flooding and heavy rain in the last few years than was common. Because of safety concerns those companies keep people off the rivers, which makes a great deal of sense. That safety decision cuts into their profits. Summer droughts also affect some of their rentals. Creeks get low and harder to traverse. As the temperatures get higher people avoid the outdoors. All these affect the bottom line of our outfitters. As the water in these rivers warm up it also affects the fish. More heat drives out the oxygen in the water, so the fish also are under stress. Flooding stirs up the water, lays down silt and smothers some of the critters that fish feed on.
    The environmental scientists that I’ve spoken with are concerned with the collapse of food webs and the potential of a mass extinction of many of the animals that we know and love. This is being brought to us because of climate change. Increased drought, increased temperatures, and less water are all stressors that affect wildlife and plant populations.
    Future projections for the state of Missouri and our area do not look good. Increased drought is on the horizon. Forty percent of Missouri counties are currently in mild to severe drought conditions. The heat domes that lay over the Southwest and plains area are expected to move eastward, and lay over our area for extended periods of time. From 15 days of heat advisory weather currently, projections are looking to be as high as 60 days in the future.
    We, (you and I), will do okay in the near future. It is our children, their children, and their children’s children who will be most affected by the changes that are slowly but inevitably coming. I ask you to vote for the future. At this time the Democratic Party is offering the only solutions to solve the oncoming climate change dilemma. Vote for the party that recognizes there is a problem; vote Democratic.
Jack Bowles
Steelville