Sunday July 26th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topics: Good Trouble…The Climate Legacy Of John Lewis/Prolonged U.S. Heatwave Update #22
Dear Diary. This week we will be celebrating the life of one of the last civil rights activists who literally marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis. Some of my readers do not know that Representative Lewis was also a strong proponent for environmental activism, I am glad to report. I am so proud of being from Atlanta, where many civil rights leaders from the 1950s and 1960s called home, including John Lewis. Representative John Lewis was a native of Alabama where his casket was ceremonially carried across the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge on this Sunday, about an hour before I finished this post.
Marshall Shephard, a professor from the University of Georgia that has written a great Forbes article on John Lewis’ climate activism, and I are of the generation coming right after those of this civil rights icon. Dr. Shephard is a high profile figure who has joined a chorus of scientists fighting to preserve our climate. Both of us call Georgia home, where we have seen some transformative events during our lifetimes. We hope that a new South will continue to arise that is green and where all races will live in harmony with nature, prospering together for centuries to come. The struggle, especially in our retreating coastal areas will be tough, but together through more protesting and hard work, causing John Lewis’ “good trouble,” we shall overcome.
Here is a repost of Dr. Shepherd’s fine Forbes article:
John Lewis And His Environmental Legacy
Marshall Shepherd Senior Contributor Science
EDITORS’ PICK|12,462 views|Jul 18, 2020,10:18am EDT
John Lewis And His Environmental Legacy
Marshall ShepherdSenior ContributorScience
I awoke to the news that Congressman John Lewis died. He died at a time when people are actually complaining about “violation of freedoms” because experts recommend wearing face masks to protect their health. I cannot help but to juxtapose those complaints against a man who endured beatings and brutality for my right to simply live equally in this country. John Lewis stands firmly with some of the great Americans in history. However, I suspect many of you didn’t learn about him in a K-12 U.S. History class. Much of African-American history has been truncated or omitted in the history books. I was compelled to use this platform to honor Congressman Lewis. Lewis tirelessly fought, bled and sacrificed for civil rights, the downtrodden, and those without a voice. He also understood the importance of the environment and climate change. Herein, I reflect on that part of his legacy.
Yes, I know. John Lewis may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think about the environment or climate change. However, his body of work shows that he understood the significance of environmental issues and climate change. On his Congressional website, he said, “Humanity is the most important endangered species under threat from climate change and yet we flood our ecology with poisons and pollution.” The League of Conservation Voters documents his environmental voting record and gave him a lifetime score of 92%. Lewis has also been a long-time supporter of stronger funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has advocated strengthening the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
When President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, Congressman Lewis issued a scathing press release. He said, “I do not agree with the dark vision of America’s future the president described that pits accepting responsibility for our environmental impact against the economic stability and vitality of our country.” Lewis, in his always eloquent manner, also detailed the impact of such actions on American workers and our global allies. He went on to say, “The rest of the world has seen the economic and environmental benefit of clean energy, and they will leave us behind.”
Fellow Atlantan and civil rights activist Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley wrote a powerful Op-Ed framing climate change as a civil rights issue. He said, “When your children suffer from asthma and cannot go outside to play, as is the case for many in Atlanta, it is a civil rights issue….When unprecedented weather disasters devastate the poorest neighborhoods in places like New Orleans, New Jersey, and New York, it is a civil rights issue….When farmers in faraway lands cannot feed their families because the rains will no longer come, it is a civil rights issue.” Congressman Lewis’ speech before the Committee on Ways and Means in 2019 shows that he understood this too. Lewis articulated critical connections between climate change, health, and economic well-being.
While I can’t get into the head of the iconic leader, the following words of praise to young climate activists seem to be drawn from his storied and steadfast experience as an activist fighting for racial justice in the segregated South. In a press release this past September he wrote, “These young people are saying we all have a right to know what is in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and the food we eat….It is our responsibility to leave this planet cleaner and greener.” Lewis was also a supporter of the Green New Deal, a comprehensive plan to decarbonize our energy economy and address fundamental climate injustices facing marginalized communities.
At the end of the day, Congressman Lewis will be remembered for a long list of contributions to the United States of America that have nothing to do with climate change or the environment. As I reflect on his life, many people might have been cynical or angry after being beaten or hosed in your own country. However, Congressman Lewis loved this country and tirelessly worked on its behalf and for people like me. His record and words also shows that loved this Earth as well.
“When we take our air, waters and land for granted; when we show a simple lack of respect for nature and our environment, we unmake God’s good creation — John Lewis”
Rest In Peace sir.
Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website. Marshall Shepherd
Now let’s turn our attention to the current U.S. heatwave.
As far as our prolonged heat wave goes, as usual, let’s access U.S. heat levels for the next two days. Our low level CAT 1 heat wave will be ramping up across the eastern U.S. through Tuesday. Heat advisories are increasing in coverage from the National Weather Service across the Northeast but thankfully decreasing in the Midwest from those of Saturday:
Let’s not forget about the West where some dangerous heat will be present this week.
On Monday our CAT 1 heatwave will basically be confined to the East and West but be at relatively low levels. Any dangerous heat will have ended in the Midwest, but anywhere that gets above 80°F people will need to make sure that they don’t leave passengers and animals in parked cars with windows rolled up:
The worst most anomalous heat on Monday will occur from Washington D.C. northeast into Boston where maxes will be 95-100°F with max heat indexes ranging from 100-108°F.
As a reminder, here is what I came up with for my initial crude definitions for CAT1 through CAT 5 heatwave categorizations:
Here are some overseas “ET:”
Here is more climate and weather news from Sunday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”