A roomful of 25 people in 2015 at First United Methodist Church in Baraboo were asked, “When did you first become aware of climate change?” A surprising number said “in 1988.”

Living in Kenosha that summer, a long string of hot, cloudless summer days prompted me to wonder, “Maybe global warming could be real.” The year 2017 may be another turning point for climate change awareness.

As carbon dioxide levels increase, the warming atmosphere can hold more water, resulting in increasingly severe storms with heavier rainfall in some areas. Elsewhere, as snow melts earlier with warming temperatures, the soil becomes drier, leading to an increased risk of drought and wildfires.

Recently we’ve seen Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, temperatures over 100 degrees in San Francisco, and wild fires in Oregon. More people are saying out loud what they’ve suspected for a while: climate change is real.

In 2004, my parents, sister and I visited family in Northern Ireland. After exchanging pleasantries, our dairy farmer cousin asked, “Do the farmers in Wisconsin think global warming is real?” He thought so.

If you don’t think something is changing with the climate, ask a farmer.

Pastor Marianne Cotter, Baraboo