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Poll: Minority of US Catholics know pope's climate views

Pope Francis' aggressive approach to the issue of climate change, taking on deniers, has angered some conservatives.

As the debate drones on over global warming, La Crosse County is in a pilot project to help people brace themselves to counteract the negative health and economic consequences of climate changes, regardless of their causes.

“Our aim is to provide solutions rather than argue and point fingers,” said Al Bliss, a health educator with the La Crosse County Health Department.

“It’s not to point blame at who or what is causing it,” said Bliss, who also is local project coordinator of the federal Building Resilience Against Climate Effects Climate and Health Program, or BRACE.

La Crosse County is one of four areas in Wisconsin to receive BRACE funding. The others in the initiative of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the Eau Claire Consortium, consisting of Eau Claire, Dunn, Pepin and Buffalo counties; St. Croix County; and Wood and Portage counties.

A meeting that BRACE convened for about 30 community stakeholders homed in on the top concerns: heat, cold, drought and precipitation events.

“Research shows we are seeing a warming and wetter Wisconsin,” Bliss said.

Midwest Regional Climate Center statistics confirm that assessment, reporting that the Badger State receives about two more inches of rain a year than it did in the early 1950s.

Despite drought conditions of the past few years, the center’s crunching of 120 years of data discovered that six of the top 20 years for annual rainfall have occurred since 2000.

Between 1958 and 2012, heavy rain events in the Midwest rose 37 percent, according to the National Climate Assessment’s three-year study released in 2014.

Scientific models ranging from worldwide projections to the local level generally agree that extreme weather events are becoming the norm, said Megan Christenson, Wisconsin’s BRACE epidemiologist.

“These wild swings in weather make it difficult to plan for and respond to events,” Christenson said. “To begin to address the health impacts of a changing climate, we need to make it a collaborative and community effort aimed at those of greatest risk and driven forward by the public health community.”

BRACE will study the domino effects of such conditions, Bliss said.

Some results include the potential for Lyme disease increasing again as ticks flourish when precipitation and heat rise, the likelihood of major mosquito hatches resulting from wet weather and the ramifications for humans and cities’ infrastructures, Bliss said.

The brutal winter last year created a surge in the numbers of homeless seeking shelter, creating the need for additional emergency refuges and leading to the expansion of the La Crosse Warming Center this past winter, he said.

Extreme weather also can increase the numbers of people seeking mental health services related to climate change, he said.

“We’re talking about public health. We’re trying to create awareness instead of stirring the pot so key leaders and organizations can work on these concerns,” he said.

“Some people might disagree with the trend of thought that the globe is warming and sea level is rising,” Bliss said, “but it does matter that these impacts are happening.”

The conditions degrade infrastructures such as streets, and cause public and private property damage, he said, adding that other offshoots include surface and ground water contamination, molds, and harmful algal blooms that cause human and animal diseases.

“I don’t live in a flood plain, but I had to remove carpet after a heavy rain because it was turning moldy,” which is a health hazard, he said.

“It’s not just public health, but also the economy, affecting property and households,” he said.

Among other things, BRACE is designed to prompt discussion of the climate changes and their effects, Bliss said.

“One of the main reasons is if we know the impacts, we can be better prepared for heat waves, and for rain and snow,” he said.

BRACE is intended to gather public health officials, emergency management personnel and community members in general to devise plans to erase the adverse effects, Bliss said.

“Our first strategy is to increase awareness by providing information to the community about extreme weather and climate-related public health concerns,” he said. “Informal meetings, presentations, and discussion will help increase capacity to address climate and extreme weather health impacts in La Crosse County.”

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Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

(19) comments

Clarification

Just like clockwork the usual suspect took the bait.

Union Man

scarey part is, from here to Milwaukee straight up- and you're out of our atmosphere, if you can tell me 7 billion people doing what we do is not affecting our climate, your on koch

Mr Anderson

Ok, worst case scenario. Let's say that in 50 years we find out that the majority of actual, credible scientists (and it truly is a majority) made a huge mistake and we humans have nothing to do with climate change. In that time we've invested in cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner energy, etc. Taxpayer dollars are no longer being wasted in subsidies to oil companies, coal companies, and "agribusiness". We end up with a country that is a much nicer place to live, our children and grandchildren are healthier, and the world is generally a better place. I don't see how anyone could possibly be against that.

Buggs Raplin

I'm all for pollution control, but not for a carbon tax or a lessening of my freedom from more government agents who will demand to come into my home and tell me what I MUST do to make it eco-friendly-and all for an unproven theory for which there is no evidence. Human-caused climate change is a government hoax supported by compromised "scientists." That's why the media is pushing it-to get our money and create more government.

Cassandra

You are so full of baloney I'm surprised you don't burst. Why do you refuse to live in the real world instead of a paranoid fantasy?

Buggs Raplin

Cassie, you're the one in the fantasy world. Most everything you think is true is not. This is the product of media indoctrination on your susceptible mind. We live in a time of universal deceit, where truth is not welcome because it is a threat to those in power. So cling tight to your illusions. It's going to be a bumpy ride....

gb506

There is so much lunacy contained in this story it's difficult to know where to start, but I will.

The Earth is 4,500,000,000 years old but the people quoted in this article appear to think they can make objective policy decisions related to climate changes based on 120 years of data.

The pope thinks he can look cool and attract lost generations of church-goers and their donation basket deposits back into his facilities by glomming onto climate change (nee global warming, nee global cooling, etc.). This after throwing church orthodoxy regarding social policy under the bus with the same objective.

Both are incredibly naive, but at least the local/regional loons can only do a little bit of damage. The same can't be said of this pope. But, if he continues on his hippy crusade, this pope may be the last of his kind about which that might be said.

oldhomey

Gosh, maybe all the pseudo-Christian Catholics who trade on hatred and hypocrisy will get so disgusted that they will leave the church, thus leaving the institution safely in the hands of this honest, decent, humble and honorable man now serving as Pope. That will leave the pseudo-Christian gb506 to sink into the comfort of his beliefs in pseudo-science.

restofstory

Cassandra, why are you so negative? Doesn't it get old waking up every morning and looking for the bad in everything? Be positive. Have a great day!

Cassandra

That wasn't negative at all. Just a perfectly accurate observation of the lunatics who were going to post their denials of reality.

Buggs Raplin

Oh Cassie, as if you have any claim to reality. I've seen your comments. Cassie, you live in the fantasy world of the mainstream media, which almost always complements your liberal viewpoints at the expense of truth. Wake up, Cassie, they're lying to you, and you're swallowing it like a trout on a fishing ,lure.

oldhomey

Oh Buggsie, you are so cute when you are smug. Harold Lewis was a physicist who worked mainly in areas of missile defense and nuclear reactors, not geology or atmospheric sciences. If you had a nasty rash on your feet, would you rush off to see a psychiatrist, or would you seek out skin specialists and podiatrists? I suppose you think, what difference does it make, they are all medical doctors. But you have such wonderfully credentialed "experts" for most of the hobby horse issues you like to ride in these commentaries, e.g. Oliver Stone on the death of JFK and Jennie McCarthy on the dangers of vaccines. And who can forget the crackpot Russian scientist, Zecharia Sitchin, whom you cite as as the basis of your solid belief that we are descendants of the Anunnaki, a race of spacemen who landed in Sumeria some 6,000 years ago, and founded the human race. Be smug, my friend. Go put on your Annie Knockknee dress and prance around your house, convinced you're smarter than all of us.

Cassandra

Here's where you and I differ, Bugsy: I live in reality and base my opinions on facts rather than living in a paranoid fantasy driven by people who want to make money by keeping folks such as yourself ignorant and scared. Take your meds and the voices will stop.

Buggs Raplin

Well, Cassie, you get your news from the mainstream; I get mine from the alternative media. Yours are liars; mine are truth tellers, and therein lies our disagreement.

Buggs Raplin

The Pope believes in human-caused climate change? Bet there are a lot of things the Pope and I disagree on as well.

Camellia

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life'

- Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Buggs Raplin

Well said. It's a scam, a hoax. You can almost always tell a fraud when the mainstream media starts pushing it.

Clarification

A person of faith and climate change in one article...stand back, as certain heads will explode!

Cassandra

Standby anti-science deniers....and....GO!

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