Nebraska Climatologist Martha Shulski: Normalize Climate Conversations

Not everybody in land-locked Nebraska relates to the urgency of melting ice caps and rising sea levels. But climate change has direct consequences for Nebraskans and requires action from individuals and organizations alike. 

That’s why we invited State Climatologist Martha Shulski to join us last week at our Climate Change in Nebraska webinar, attended by nearly 100 community and client representatives. Speaking to dozens of local leaders, we discussed the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its implications for our state. 

The science is clear. Climate change is here and is causing our weather to become more extreme. As Martha put it, the question isn’t: “Was this extreme weather caused by climate change?” Instead, we should ask: “How much worse was this made by climate change?” 

A bomb cyclone unleashed catastrophic flooding in Nebraska in 2019, washing away bridges over the Niobrara River and collapsing the Spencer Dam. Three people were killed in the floodwaters, which carried massive chunks of ice that jammed and further exacerbated the dangers. Many people became stranded, lacked running water and were evacuated to emergency shelters while their homes, businesses and farms were inundated, according to the Omaha World-Herald

Like last winter, the winter preceding the 2019 flood was extremely cold and wet. Our Februarys are actually becoming colder in a trend that—you guessed it—is also related to climate change. Here’s how Martha explained the connection:

The most important thing leaders can do is to normalize the conversation around climate change, Martha said. While the majority of board rooms may not be embracing these conversations yet, we know employees are. Our climate demands action, and we have yet to encounter an organization where the outcomes of climate action don’t support the long-term vision.

Once you’re ready, the best place to start is with a greenhouse gas inventory. From there, we can analyze which strategies will be effective and efficient at your organization and create and implement a strategic plan. To learn more, visit our website to download our free guide to creating a Climate Action Plan, and read more about our newest service, the Net Zero Pathway.

(Photo by Michael Marsh on Unsplash)

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