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Articles by Jim O'Donnell

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This story was originally published by Ensia. 

KOLR10 News TV meteorologist Elisa Raffa wanted to tell her viewers about climate change, so she started with beer.

“Beer is mostly water, right?” the Springfield Missouri, reporter says. “One of our local breweries gets the water they use from a nearby lake. Well, because temperatures are going up there has been an algae bloom in the lake. It’s not a dangerous bloom — but it impacts the taste of the water and, of course, the beer.”

Mother’s Brewing Company also buys produce like peaches and cucumbers from local farmers, Raffa says. Those fresh fruits and veggies give brews like the Sunshine Chugsuckle and the Uncanny their signature flavor. But between increasingly violent hail storms and early blooms on the peach trees that then get hit with late freezes, that produce is in trouble. Mother’s and other Missouri brewers may have to turn to imported, frozen products. “And that not only impacts taste, it harms the local economy,” Raffa says.

Raffa’s 2017 beer story was a short segment on the evening newscast. But it marks a shift. From heatwaves and extreme rainfall to drought and flooding, climate change ... Read more