Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our canary in the coal mine?

This polar bear died of starvation because of a lack of Arctic ice on which it could hunt seals.  It was found last week in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Circle 160 miles from its normal hunting grounds and it was healthy when it was last seen in March.
Maybe that is a short-term good thing for seals, unless they're starving too, but it does not forebode long-term well-being for the seven billion human beings on the planet.  Climate change is, well, changing the natural order.
The North Pole has melted, as has most of Greenland as well as glaciers and snow fields that provide clean drinking water for people all over the world.  One-third of the arable soil of Bangladesh, home to 150 million people, is contaminated by salt from seawater.
Any minute now the permafrost is going to melt just enough to release millions of pounds of methane gas into the atmosphere and that's going to accelerate the warming of the globe many times more intently than anything we've seen so far.  The big burp, some bloggers are calling it.
In our own country, we seem to be enduring a constant barrage of heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires and tornadoes, in and out of their normal seasons and of a size and scale never before experienced.   The entire Southwest may become too hot to be inhabitable within a couple of decades.  Hurricanes are accompanied by gigantic storm surges and major cities, like New York, Miami and New Orleans are in danger of drowning in rising sea waters.  
Whether or not climate change has been accelerated by human activity, and I think most of us know the answer to that, there is no denying it is happening, no looking away or screaming hoax.
It is long past time that we start doing what we can to ameliorate it and that means lots and lots of clean renewable energy and, just for starters, no Keystone pipeline. 
As Buffalo Springfield wrote/sang:
There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear 
I think it's clear enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment