Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

Whether noted author Mark Twain or his good friend Charles Dudley Warner, a neighbor and editor of the Hartford Courant, coined that quip is often debated. But when it comes to climate change, the fact is that a lot of people affected by it are doing something about it.

They must.

“It doesn’t matter what we think, or what political party or whatever we believe — it’s just going to come,” said Troy Bishopp, owner and manager of Bishopp Family Farm, a grass farm in Deansboro. “And it may just stop ... maybe it’ll be fine in five years. But over the last 20 years, I keep records, and I see really weird things.”

Anyone who has lived in these parts for any length of time has also seen some weird things when it comes to the weather.

In a recent three-part Observer-Dispatch series on the variable climate and its potential effects on the Mohawk Valley, Bishopp said he's bracing for change. He would know. His farm on Route 12B in Deansboro is a recipient of the distinguished NYS Agriculture Society’s Century Farm Award for continuous operation since 1890 and boasts six generations of farming. As for Bishopp, who touts himself as “The Grass Whisperer," he's a 33-year well-seasoned grass farmer, a grasslands advocate, and a voice for grassfed livestock producers to the media, consumers, restaurateurs and policy-makers.

He's done the science and knows that times they are a-changin'. It's wise that we listen.

A recent report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment, required by Congress every four years, paints a disconcerting image of how climate change might shape the Mohawk Valley. And preparing for change could make the difference between success and failure because so much that we do depends on the weather. Deny that change if you will, but those most affected by it can ill afford to walk around with blinders on. Like Bishopp, they need to adapt before it's too late.

The evidence is all around us - from severe flooding in Whitesboro to tough sledding in snowmobile country. If we fail to acknowledge that change is taking place and make adjustments, the problem might eventually become insurmountable. Leaders and others in a position to find ways to adapt must listen.

That's happening in in regard to flooding of the Sauquoit Creek, which in recent years has had devastating effects on some communities along its route, particularly the village of Whitesboro. Governments have dedicated significant funding to improve aging infrastructure and develop other flooding mitigation projects. One of the largest is the Sauquoit Creek Restoration Project, which calls for building 12 floodplain benches along a one-plus-mile corridor of the lower Sauquoit Creek behind Commercial Drive in the New York Mills/Yorkville/Whitesboro area.

A floodplain bench is a low-lying area constructed alongside the stream to temporarily store excess water until normal levels can be restored, designed to prevent flooding.

"This project is extremely important,” said Whitestown Supervisor Shaun Kaleta. “It’s the largest project taken on in Whitestown in some time, maybe ever. We want to be mitigating before something happens.”

Forethought and planning is the name of the game. Whitestown has been working on the plan with OBG (O’Brien & Gere) engineers for the past two years, and broke ground for the first two benches in the vicinity of Dunham Manor Park in October. Completion is expected by May.

As responsible citizens concerned about climate change's effects on our environment and general well-being of our communities, we must support these projects and encourage our leadership to do likewise.

It doesn't stop there. Tourism and economic development, too, face threats from climate change. That can get particularly tricky, especially in the North Country, where business lives or dies with the weather.

“We’re almost totally weather-dependent,” said Mike Farmer, tourism director for the Town of Webb. “The people who come here and decide they want to live here, they came here for the attractions and the activities that we have here.”

In the winter, skiing and snowmobiling top the activity list; summer and fall cater to everybody from hikers and swimmers to boaters and campers. In between, visitors eat, drink, seek lodging, tank up their vehicles and otherwise shop for just about everything you might imagine.

Snowmobiling is the North Country's winter anchor and communities like Old Forge have made significant investments to serve guests. But in the government's latest climate assessment for the northeast region, which includes the Mohawk Valley and the North Country, there is an expected 3.6 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature on average from the preindustrial era. That means less snow - and fewer snowmobilers.

Farmer says Webb has started adapting to that by building its trail grooming fleet. Smart grooming of the near-500 mile trail system means that when other areas close up shop, Webb still has two or three inches of frozen base, making it one of the only places left to ride — both at the beginning of the year or at the end of the season.

Businesses and communities in general, meanwhile, might need to change marketing strategies in the wake of changing climate. For instance, Oneida County Tourism President Kelly Blazosky says there have not yet been conversations between the tourism office and other county officials about planning for potential big-picture changes. That's something they need to consider because many of the events planned depend so heavily on the weather.

Meanwhile, farmers like Deansboro's Bishopp play a constant cat-and-mouse game with Mother Nature because extreme weather could limit when plants are planted and harvested. Abnormal rainfall, for instance, could affect soil conditions - good topsoil is critical - and the farmer who also isn't the scientist could struggle. Heavy rain increases the potential for soil erosion, the government report found, which in turn would increase sedimentation into receiving water bodies and reduce agriculture productivity.

On the other hand, growers of some products who are prepared for weather changes could benefit. Jeff Miller, an agronomist at Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County, says a longer, warmer growing period in itself would benefit some crop industries, like apples and pears. And  Steve Ammerman, public affairs manager for the New York Farm Bureau, says the grape industry, too, could benefit from a more moderate climate, although warmer conditions could also bring more pests that could be harmful to crop production, "so we have to try and mitigate (that).” That means facilitating new technology is a must.

But whether agriculture, tourism or flooding, the key to dealing with climate change is first to admit that it's real. Burying our heads in the sand won't work. And whether grooming snowmobie trails in Old Forge, farming in Deansboro or fight floodwaters in Whitesboro, the ability to adapt to change will make all the difference.