It’s Not Like Nobody Told Us..
March 20, 2016
“The departures are what we would consider astronomical,” Blunden said. “It’s on land. It’s in the oceans. It’s in the upper atmosphere. It’s in the lower atmosphere. The Arctic had record low sea ice.”
“Everything everywhere is a record this month, except Antarctica,” Blunden said. “It’s insane.” – NOAA Climatologist Jessica Blunden, February 2016
Just as a drug addict needs increasing doses to produce the same effect, our global appetite for the earth’s abundance grows each year. We transform the resources of the past into the pollution of the future, telescoping time for self-indulgence in the present.
In 1987, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere began to surge with record annual increases. Global temperatures are also climbing: 1987 was the second hottest year on record; 1988 was the hottest. Scientists now predect our current course will raise world temperatures five degrees Celsius in our lifetimes. The last time there was such a shift, it was five degrees colder; New York City was under one kilometer of ice. If five degrees colder over thousands of years produces an ice age, what could five degrees warmer produce in a lifetime? In a classic experiment, a frog dropped in boiling water jumps out. The same frog, put in the water before it is slowly boiled, remains in the pot. Our environment is at the boiling point. Will we react?
The 1990’s are the decade of decision. Profound changes are required. We must create a new global compact for sustainable development -for example, trading debts for shared environmental stewardship. Our agenda must include the following:
* A worldwide ban in five years on chlorofluorocarbons, which simultaneously destroy the protective ozone layer and cause up to 20 percent of global warming.
* Rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, through increased vehicle mileage standards, increased energy efficiency and development of alternative energy sources.
* A global halt to destruction of forests and swift implementation of worldwide reforestation programs.
* A ban within five years on packaging that is neither recyclable nor naturally degradable, a comprehensive waste minimization program and aggressive efforts to control emissions of methane from landfills and other sources.
* A series of global summit meetings to seek the unprecedented international cooperation the environmental crisis will demand.
In the 1940’s, as victory neared over the dark forces unleashed on Kristallnacht, Gen. Omar Bradley offered advice that is once again relevant to the challenge that confronts humanity: ”It is time we steered by the stars, not by the lights of each passing ship.”