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Friday, July 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 64.0° F  Overcast
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Changes in attitude, changes in latitude

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One thing is evident in the continuing controversy over human-induced climate change: It's getting harder and harder to embrace denial. Melting ice caps, shrinking glaciers, rising shorelines and marauding polar bears are only among the most dramatic of the countless ways we can see the effects of global warming.

It wasn't that long ago that a sizable portion of the U.S. citizenry was skeptical that there was anything to be concerned about at all. That seems to have changed. It may be that Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth was, as Linda Falkenstein alludes in the preamble of "Taking It Personally," the catalyst in bringing about a change in the political fortunes of energy-reduction legislation. Folks are getting nervous, and the talk has shifted from asking whether climate change is real to wondering if we even have 10 years to stop the climate-altering cascade.

Though the bandwagon may now be rolling, it will take more than legislation or international treaties to reverse the trend of wanton energy consumption. It will also require changes in attitude and behavior at both individual and societal levels. Falkenstein introduces us to six Madisonians who back up their rhetoric with action. They include people who are professionally close to the issue - working for a religious organization, the DNR, an environmental lobbying group and academia - as well as two individuals who have fashioned their beliefs into personal crusades. They are demonstrating practices that will become much more familiar in the future, as energy conservation becomes an economic and national security imperative.

Okay, here's a gastronomic imperative: Next Monday is The Big Eat, the annual Dining promotion and fund-raiser for the Family Centers. There's an ad for it on page 25, but for your immediate information, here are some details: The event starts at 5:30 p.m. at Monona Terrace. Music will be by the Dave Stoler Trio, food by more than 20 local purveyors. Tickets will not be available at the door. To order tickets visit or go to the Family Centers or Isthmus offices. And Dining itself will be at The Big Eat, and also with every copy of Isthmus next week.

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