Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Choose Your Future

There must be some special significance to Al Gore testifying before Congress about climate change on the first full day of spring, in a time when the effects of said climate change are beginning to be felt worldwide. Now, I don’t agree with everything Gore has to say or all of his proposed solutions, but I have to admit that the man is a modern day prophet. He has single-handedly brought more attention to this topic –the greatest crisis in human history –than dozens of activists have in the past thirty years. He is our Cassandra, telling us that Troy will fall if we don’t stop what’s happening. The question is, will we listen? If not, is there any doubt we will follow the same fate as Troy? Not much, at this point.

That global warming is real, and is occurring now, is no longer in dispute by anyone with half a brain. And no financial commitments to the fossil fuels industry. ;-) I can tell the changes just in my own area. In 1990, 17 years ago, when the last USDA map was created, I was in zone 7a. Okay, so I didn’t live here at that time –the town was, at any rate. When the new map was released last month, to my horror I discovered that I am now in zone 8. That’s the climatic equivalent of moving south by a four hour drive –on the interstate, no less. We had our first 80 degree day a month ago. Now they’re a regular occurrence. Try growing peas in this weather! Last summer we were at all time highs for several months. We’re expecting a repeat this year.

And the pattern is repeated, all over the world. It has been going on for years and is merely worsening with time. How much longer will it be before we react? When will we stop this before it’s too late? People speak of saving the polar bears. I’m sorry, but the bears are gone. Every one in the scientific community knows this. So are a good number of other species. And that number will keep rising, inexorably, unless we STOP THIS NIGHTMARE. Nor will people escape unscathed. Water supplies are disappearing, tropical diseases are spreading, and grain yields are going inexorably down (partly due to global warming) in a world with an expanding population. It will not be long before these two facts collide –and do so in a most horrific way. Rising sea levels are going to affect over a billion people by the middle of the century. New Orleans, Boston, part of Manhattan, Shanghai, Bangalore –all will be gone by century’s end, if not before. Chinese officials have started constructing dykes to try to hold back the sea from Shanghai. That’s how fast sea level is all ready rising. And that trend is expecting to accelerate.

This morning Gore told Congress: “The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor.” He added, “If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say ‘I read a science fiction novel that says it’s not a problem.’ You take action.” People are dying. Whole species are dying. The planet IS running a fever. And we delay taking action because of what? Denial? Some misguided perception that the economy is more important than the future of our children? Oh yes, that’s a real bright idea –let’s balance the health of some companies and the richest one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population against that of the ENTIRE PLANET.

Why can’t we take action to stop this? Why can’t we see that are actions are directly harming other people? We will have to pay a portion of the costs of our excess –but only a portion. Our children, and their children, and their children’s children’s children –if they live at all –will have to pay the highest costs.

I am throwing out a challenge, to each and every person who reads this: take action in your own life. If you care about the future of the planet, of your children, and of other people –and yes, even of the polar bears –take action now. Do something –anything –to reduce your contribution to the problem. Lower your emissions. Do it NOW. No more excuses. If you don’t, one day you’ll have to explain to your kids why you didn’t. The blood of all those who die due to this crisis –people, animals, species –will be on your hands. Your responsibility. And part of the legacy of all humanity. Is this what we want for our future?

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Blogger QT said...

I have been trying for some time to effect change toward the environment. And I have been making a concerted effort to try to leave less of an "imprint" for at least the past year in earnest.

The NRDC website was my starting point, I haven't visited recently, but I am sure they still have great ideas for people to take steps *today*. I may do a post about this soon on my own blog.

3/21/2007 6:33 PM  

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