CINCINNATI, Ohio (News/Talk 1480 WHBC and Ohio News Connection) – As Ohioans sweat through record high October temperatures this week, new polling suggests many people are connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change.
The 2019 Ohio Health Issues Poll released by Interact for Health found that seven-in-ten Ohio adults believe global warming is affecting the United States either somewhat or a great deal, and six-in-ten say global warming is affecting their local community.
These effects are becoming more apparent, according to Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella, a Cincinnati-based organization working to increase environmental sustainability.
“We’ve been having 90-degree weather in September and October this year,” Mooney-Bullock points out. “That is not normal for our region. And instead of having a 100-year storm every 100 years, we’re getting many in one season. We had a bit of a drought this summer, but this spring and early summer was some of the wettest on record.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, high temperatures in the future are expected to result in reduced corn and soybean production in rural areas, and increased public health issues in urban communities.
Opinions on climate change varied by political affiliation, with Democrats more likely than Republicans or independents to believe that climate change has an impact on their nation and/or their community.
However, Mooney-Bullock maintains the tide is shifting.
“We obviously have had a fluctuating political environment in the country in terms of what the United States’ commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions are,” she states. “But I think every day people here in the heartland are concerned about climate change and want to do something about it.”
Mooney-Bullock admits it can be daunting for people to know how to start taking steps to address climate change. So, she encourages involvement in community level efforts to increase sustainability.
“There’s lots of ways to get involved, not only at home but at work,” she stresses. “Your place of worship can be a great way to kind of tackle these issues, because everybody working together, these small solutions, these incremental changes, really do make a difference.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health effects of climate change can include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths.
by Mary Schuermann Kuhlman