Want to blame someone? Blame Scott Walker.

A few days ago, the Birkie Trail looked like this:birkie1

Then the governor of Wisconsin got involved and proclaimed it Birkie Week, and how great it is that the Birkie brings in 26 million dollars annually to the local economy of the region (that’s nearly $10,000 per person for Sawyer and Bayfield counties!). That’s fantastic. It won’t be bringing in that much this year, of course, as many events—and perhaps the whole race—are canceled, because of warm temperatures. And there’s a pretty obvious trend of less and less snowpack in northern Wisconsin. A lot of use can probably figure out that this is due to climate change. But not the Wisconsin DNR, because they say it’s debatable, because that’s what Scott Walker thinks. Or doesn’t think.

Now the Birkie trail looks like this:

birkie2

I’m sure Scott Walker would tell you that this kind of thing just happens, but the data are pretty clear. This will happen more and more. And with every snowflake that melts, it’s draining dollars out of of the local economy. I’m on an email thread with a lot of out-of-towners who spend real money to come to Wisconsin, buy food, rent houses, and drink plenty of beer. They’re not coming to look at a pile of slush.

So, thanks, Scott. Not for proclaiming it Birkie week and seeing the snow melt down (correlation != causation). But for denying that climate change is a thing, and watching the economic effects hit your state right where it matters. The Birkie will be back in 2018. And in 2019. By then, maybe you won’t be and Wisconsin will be led by someone who can look at the pictures above and realize that denying climate change is bad for the Birkie. It’s bad for business. And it’s bad for Wisconsin.

Let @ScottWalker and @GovWalker know if your Birkie plans change, and how much money the state is losing using #BirkieClimate.

The Wisconsin State Journal has this covered, too.

[Model update: 18Z GFS in south. Birkie of any sort in severe jeopardy. Thanks, Scott.]

Leave a Reply