On The Ridge: Changing the climate game

Published: 7/27/2022 3:43:47 PM

Let me first say that I am not an expert on global warming or climate change — far from it! But this excessive heat we’ve been tolerating over the past three weeks has gotten my attention.

It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that we’re experiencing dramatic changes in the climate, as recent heat waves and severe weather are occurring like never before all over this planet. For hunters, anglers, and wildlife lovers everywhere, what we’re experiencing right now could bring devastating effects to wildlife populations everywhere, both now and into the future.

Climate change is something I’ve been aware of for decades. Yet it’s always seemed distant, and never posed an immediate threat. But over the years, I’ve started paying more attention to it while hoping something positive might happen to help us all avoid something that many say is inevitable.

Events over the past 40 years have made people take a more hands-on approach. Yet during this time, while we’ve all been listening and watching, climate change has slowly started to pose an immediate threat to all of us, including wildlife, in this country. It’s also challenged the traditions and values of everyone who has a sense of respect for each other, the land, the wildlife, and the legacy we leave to future generations.

Across America, climate change is quickly destroying our country, while reducing big game populations, stressing cold-water fish, and threatening waterfowl reproduction. That has left sportsmen and women concerned about the future of these species. The need for attacking climate change “head on” — to preserve our way of life which includes defending the lives of wildlife — is clear. But what are the essential solutions... solutions that make sense and will protect habitat for our cherished fish and game. Particularly now, when the data is so clear regarding warming oceans, shrinking ice fields in Greenland and Antarctica, the declining arctic sea ice, and the loss of glaciers almost everywhere — including in the Alps, Himalayas, and the Rockies, all caused by extreme weather and increasing heat events. At times, we feel helpless to this, but now people are asking what they can do personally to help. Real experts tell us that individuals alone may not have the time to implement the drastic changes needed to alter climate change. But if we try with governments, businesses, and countries now at this critical place, if we try to raise the awareness of climate issues to policymakers, lawmakers, and corporate leaders along with serious out of the box thinking, then maybe we might have a fighting chance. It must be ideas that go beyond the normal however, not just familiar comments of driving our cars less, cutting back on flying, using less energy at home, protecting green spaces, cutting consumption and waste, etc. We need new, unconventional ideas that, on the surface, might seem a little strange, yet might make a difference.

For example: John Deere equipment is working, along with others, to bring electric tractors and combines to farmers as early as 2023. You might scoff when you think about this. A farmer’s harvest, particularly crops like corn and hay, is time-sensitive. Farmers are using their tractor(s) around the clock, so it’s critical to keep them running. Today, if they run out of fuel, they simply fill it back up and keep going. But what happens to a large battery-operated farm tractor when the battery dies? How long will it take to get that tractor up and working again? What effect will running multiple, battery-operated farm tractors have on the environment? Can charging a tractor still be efficient for the farmer, and better for the environment as well? Can you efficiently use solar or wind to produce the power they need to operate? All solid questions, that need clear and precise answers. John Deere is helping control the effect of climate change to keep the future safe, but we need more.

Sound a little dramatic to you? Maybe, but when I read that 2023 is the “point of no return” for altering the effects of climate change, I take that seriously. As should all sportsmen and women who in many ways are on the front lines of climate change through the role they play in wildlife and habitat conservation. If we don’t, there may be a lot more at stake here than warming waters, longer droughts, shifting winters, and massive vegetation changes which impacts the well-being of all wildlife and our sport. And if we don’t do something, and fast, there could be a lot more at stake than just that.

Joe Judd is a lifelong hunter and sportsman. He is an outdoor writer, seminar speaker, member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association, and a 2019 inductee into the N.E. Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame. Joe is also on the Quaker Boy Game Calls and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Pro-Staff.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy