A single storm — even one as big and bad as Hurricane Irene — doesn’t prove anything. But two years of extreme weather is the beginning of a pattern, says Monclair native Greg Mattison, and it’s making people wake up to the issue of climate change. “People are starting to say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime,'” Mattison says. Even close by, he says, major Passaic River flooding used to be a 5-10 year event; now it’s “at least once if not two or three times a year.”
If that has you concerned, you might want to show up for an event that Mattison will be co-hosting with Montclair’s Environmental Coordinator Gray Russell next Thursday night, Sept. 15. The program will begin at 7 p.m. sharp with a 50-minute live webstream from ClimateReality.com, featuring Al Gore, about how climate change is effecting global weather patterns around the world. A discussion will follow. The event will be at Montclair’s Fire Headquarters, 1 Pine Street.
The 7 p.m. webstream is actually the last hour of a 24-hour live web event that ClimateReality is hosting starting at 8 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday, Sept. 14. That will include presentations from 24 different time zones, in 13 languages.
Mattison and his wife Connie are district managers for ClimateReality, and work with 100 presenters to do climate presentations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York City, Long Island and Delaware.
They also run a blog and website, Newlygreens, to feature ways to cover green initiatives.
Montclair has been designated a Climate Showcase Community by the EPA. “What Gray [Russell] has been able to do is really spearhead efficiency efforts. It’s paid for his position several times over,” says Mattison.
Although Mattison says its an oversimplification to link one storm, like Irene, to global warming, he does believe it’s helped focus people’s attention. “It’s hard for people to get their heads around abstract things,” he says.
He adds that, despite politics, global warming and climate change is a fact. “All the academies of science around the world agree that climate change is happening and we have to do something about it,” Mattison says. “We need to listen to science.”