Greet the New Year with optimism!

We are reaching the end of 2014. It's time to take a look at how our planet is doing. News reports say 2014 may be the hottest year on record. What the news does not tell you is that this is by a mere tenth of a degree, possibly less. Some report it as little as a thousandth of a degree. Actually, the global mean temperature has been fairly steady for several years. The number of tornadoes is down, the number of hurricanes is down. North America has seen an increase in snow and much colder temperatures. There are places that are warmer and places that are colder, just as there have always been.

It's important to remember weather and climate have always changed, always had extremes. The biggest change now is there are more people on the planet. More people means more individuals will be affected by any weather. Also, people in poorer countries are more affected since they lack the resources to rebuild. Instead of trying to push everyone to stop using fossil fuels, we need to be helping these people with housing and energy so they aren't so affected by the weather/climate. The really good news is people in many places are learning to handle the weather better. There were many fewer deaths in the Philippines from the last hurricane because people evacuated right away.

While TV sometimes emphasizes disasters, the weather and climate really have not become more extreme. The climate is not changing dramatically. The Arctic ice is increasing at this point. If it continues to do so, it will rebound to levels of the past. Antarctic ice is increasing. The polar bears are fine. There may be more snow in America and more cold, but it is not different from what the weather was like in the past, say 30 to 40 years ago. There will always be floods (humans are a big part of why things flood because of the way we engineer waterways, whether we drag the channels, etc), there will always be drought (water storage helps with this--store what you get in times of plenty and conserve when possible), there will always be tornados, blizzards, thunderstorms. This is what life is like on our planet. Ever changing and we adapt to those changes.

The earth is just fine going into 2015.

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