Comfort Zone

I managed to get to the Little early enough to get a ticket to see Comfort Zone before it sold out — its solitary screening (for now). It centers around how climate change will affect Rochester. It was made by local filmmakers Dave Danesh, Sean Donnelly, and Kate Kressmann-Kehoe: all are concerned, but each have different perspectives, and their on-camera discussions help us understand where they are coming from.

I thought the film was brutally honest and pulled no punches. I presume the filmmakers used reliable sources — after all it's only pseudo scientists who refute climate change altogether, and only a tiny percentage of legitimate climatologists don't believe it is caused by human CO2 production. In other words, it's peer-reviewed, proven theory that the excessive carbon dioxide produced from the burning of fossil fuels is causing a dramatic change in climate.

The climate of upstate New York will change over the next 50 years to be more like what it is today somewhere between South Carolina and Alabama, depending on how well we change out habits as a species. And that's only if a cataclysmic tipping point is not tripped — one that, say, changes the oceans so they no longer absorb as much CO2, or if the melting permafrost releases it's sequestered methane and, well, snowballs the whole greenhouse effect totally out of control. But assuming we don't have a cataclysmic disaster on our hands, we can expect changes in this area.

For instance, elm trees well all likely die since freezing temperatures over winter help them fight certain kinds of diseases — once hard freezes over winter are gone, so go the elm. Likewise, apples won't produce nearly a much fruit and lilacs will flower less. Numerous plant and animal species will disappear or go extinct entirely. Things are changing; they always change, but this is a lot.

The film, in a way, projects a bleak view of what's to come. But the focus is really on what can be done now to make things less worse, and given the predicted climate change, what is to come and how we should adapt.