WE HAVE ENTERED A PRELUDE TO EXTINCTION. Some guy or other on TV is always bragging about having 7 or 8 kids, it seems; and Republicans, opposing women’s reproductive freedom, are forever …
WE HAVE ENTERED A PRELUDE TO EXTINCTION. Some guy or other on TV is always bragging about having 7 or 8 kids, it seems; and Republicans, opposing women’s reproductive freedom, are forever screaming about “the right to life.” Meanwhile, in the past 50 years the planet’s human population has doubled to about 8 billion, and 75% of the land on earth has been “significantly altered by humans,” the May 20 issue of “The New Yorker” magazine pointed out (quoting the annual report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, just released in Paris).
So I immediately wonder how much more will things be “altered by humans” by the time my new little great grandson reaches 50 and the earth is teeming with 16 billion people. Drought, deadly heat. fires, storms . . . seriously moving closer and closer to everyone’s home in their severity.
(And no, my own family is not wildly overbreeding in this over-populated world. My parents, themselves born well over a century ago, had only 3 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, who have yet produced only 2.
My father would be 112 now, my mother 110.)
There will be no way left to deal with it all when worse comes to worst—and no place for billions and billions of people to hide.
On the order of a million species are now facing extinction, “many within decades.” The chairman of the IPBES summed things up: “What’s at stake here is a livable world.” There’s more: “66% of the ocean area is experiencing cumulative impacts, and over 85% of wetlands (area) has been lost. About half the world’s coral cover is gone.”
In just the past 10 years, at least 75,000,000 acres of primary or recovering forest has been destroyed. In 2018, carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector rose to a new high of 36,000,000,000 tons (with a ton being 2,000 pounds, we’re talking 72 TRILLION pounds here). Also in 2018, nearly 30,000,000 acres (an area the size of Pennsylvania) of tropical forest were lost.
Mother Nature is being gang-raped and it appears too many of us are continuing to look the other way, concerned with the minutiae of everyday life and figuring we’ll all be dead anyway by the time push comes to shove.
In intervening years, ocean life will continue to diminish through warming, pollution and over-harvesting; and it will become a poor source of food. What arable land remains will be faced with a diminished supply of irrigation water and crops also will fail from the extinction of pollenating bees and other insects (which already is a large problem, thanks to non-selective pesticides).
But why worry, what with things going so well at the moment in so many of our personal neighborhoods, where neatly-trimmed lawns pampered with herbicides please the eye and the sun is shining nicely. This “carpe diem” (seize the day) outlook that prevails is our ticket aboard the hand- basket to hell . . . if not for us (I’m 90 already), then for our children or children’s children.
Drought for the greater part of our state (including the entire Olympic Peninsula) was officially declared May 20 by the governor and the Department of Ecology. We’ll muddle through OK this year but the handwriting’s on the wall. And things at present could be worse; we could have caught some of the flooding and tornadoes that devastated Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Nebraska last week. This week the hardest hit included Ohio. As of May 28, there had been 538 tornado reports in 30 days, across the country. A national alert for more of the same had been issued.
Looking at this year’s accelerated early spring melt-off of snow packs with resultant flooding and looking ahead fearfully to still more summer wild fires, we should realize that the exception is becoming more and more the rule where “unseasonable” extreme weather is concerned. Climate change is definitely upon us.
Our state is leading the nation (along with California and Oregon) in reacting strongly to the dire burgeoning emergency. But what is needed desperately is a president and U.S. congress to take a strong defensive stance nationally—for our country to once again become a beacon of hope rather than an arrogant encumbrance to survival. But meanwhile, a page-one headline May 28 read: “Trump administration hardens its attack on climate science.”
Read story at: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/trump-administration-hardens-its-attack-on-climate-science/
I was hoping to leave a much better world behind when I bid this mortal coil adieu.