We know something’s happening — even if we don’t know quite what it is.
The golf season is getting longer. It doesn’t snow like it used to — until it does in record-setting proportions. Pipes burst as temperatures swing from below freezing to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a week, costing businesses and homes thousands of dollars. Then again, on some of those 90-degree days, you feel like a pool in your basement could come in handy.
And though the fear might not always be acute, Ohioans are in an underlying state of anxiety. Sixty-four percent of people in the Cleveland metropolitan area reported feeling worried about climate change, and 71% of people believe it will harm future generations, according to the most recent Yale Climate Opinion Map. Yet, most of us suffer in silence with only 34% reporting that they talked about climate change frequently.
Now, the science is grim. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which includes hundreds of scientists and tens of thousands of studies, calls the situation we face a “code red for humanity.” The IPCC’s special report in 2021 found that humanity is likely to cross the threshold of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming from preindustrial times. This measure, which we could potentially hit in the next few decades without action, would likely have catastrophic effects.
In this month’s issue, we’ve asked a big question: Can Cleveland be a climate safe haven? While our natural resources certainly position us well, the answer remains in the hands of us all.
That’s why you can consider this a kickoff and a pledge for a new coverage area for Cleveland Magazine. Climate change is not only here; it is the defining issue of our time.
“We’re not facing some of the most existential crises the way other parts of the country are,” says Joel Brammeier, CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “As long as we take advantage of that time, we can make sure the Great Lakes region is secure and resilient.”
The time is now to clean our lakes, revitalize our energy systems, rethink the way our city is built and shape policies in ways that push us closer to a green future.Is Cleveland the climate safe haven we think it is? We answer that and other burning questions about Northeast Ohio's environment and climate response.