September 12, 2008

State’s Weather Upset Scientist Blames Global Warming


Oconomowoc -- Flooding that ravaged southeastern Wisconsin this spring and summer was a symptom of global warming's impact here -- and it could get worse.

That was the message Thursday from a scientific researcher whose dire warning marked the opening of a two-day conference aimed at helping people become environmentally friendly.

About 200 homeowners, farmers and business owners gathered at the "Going Green" conference to learn how they can conserve energy and protect natural resources.

John Magnuson, co-chair of a state task force on global warming, told attendees that global warming has disrupted weather patterns in Wisconsin, including causing more frequent rainstorms.

Referring to flooding that occurred in the Milwaukee area this spring and summer, Magnuson said, "This pattern of very intense rain on your land is likely to continue."

Urging conferees to do their part to combat global warming, the University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher compared greenhouse gas emissions in the environment to a cancer diagnosis from one's doctor.

"I'd be silly not to do something about it, to try to fix it," he said.

The conference, which continues today at the Olympia Resort & Conference Center, is sponsored by a federally funded nonprofit organization that promotes environmental issues in the region.

Town and Country Resource Conservation and Development Inc. is one of seven such groups funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture throughout Wisconsin.

Greg David, past president of the group, said he hopes the conference convinces skeptics that environmental issues are real and that people can do something to help.

"You don't have to come with an educated science background," he said. "You simply have to have an open mind and a desire to support your society."

Other topics being discussed include real estate development, organic farming, infrastructure planning, gardening and alternative vehicles.

Dave Diedrich, an executive chef for a conference center in Racine, said he hoped to find new sources of organic food to make his operation environmentally friendly.

View the Journal Sentinel's green guide at yourgreenguide.

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