Staff writer Kelley Bouchard reported (“Summer months end as Portland’s warmest on record,” Page A1, Sept. 3) that Portland’s average temperature was about 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, that Detroit and Boston also set records and that July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

I can add that 2016 is on track to be hotter than 2015, which was hotter than 2014, and that 13 of the hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. Alaska is a startling 9 degrees above the 1925-2000 average. The Earth’s oceans are nearly 1.5 degrees above the 20th-century average. And just this past week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, weather stations around the globe announced temperature records.

I commend the Press Herald for its environmental reporting. Nevertheless, the media in general (especially in its weather reporting) need to better connect the dots so that people realize that these record temperatures are not by chance.

Neither is the northward spread of the Zika virus. Or the loss of marine species and habitat in the Gulf of Maine. Or the frequency of forest fires and floods. Or the melting of glaciers.

Rather, they can be linked to human activity through the ever-increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The tendency to blame record temperatures simply on “climate change” isn’t really helpful either, because the term ignores our own culpability.

We are like alcoholics in that, until we recognize and accept responsibility for our actions, things are not going to change in a significant way. When that begins to happen, perhaps we will make the requisite lifestyle changes (eating less meat, heating and electrifying our homes with renewable energy, driving more energy-efficient vehicles, etc.) that will help us ward off a genuine climate catastrophe.

Joe Hardy