From Pacific Standard (Bob Berwyn):
As the 20th century ended, there were still quite a few mountain men in Austria—guides, farmers, and the like—who were not at all convinced that humans were causing the planet to warm. Theirs wasn’t a cynical ideological skepticism, but rather a pragmatic view of the world based on a close connection to the rhythm of nature in the mountains.
The mountains have always changed, they would tell you over a mug of beer and a shot of pungent schnapps brewed from the roots of mountain herbs. We are small, nature is great, they would say, nodding in respect toward the lofty crags of the Alps.
But 2012 marked a turning point. During a brutal summer heat wave, the summit cross on the 3,660-meter Grossvenediger threatened to topple over. Relentless heat thawed the permafrost that had held the giant marker steady for decades.
By the end of that summer there were few, if any, doubters remaining. Even the most grizzled old-timers started acknowledging that a steady build-up of greenhouse gas pollution was visibly reshaping their world within the span of a human life. Forests are moving uphill, glaciers are vanishing, and plants are blooming several weeks earlier than just 30 years ago.