Of all holidays, Earth Day may be the most important. Without the Earth, we kind of have a problem. And the way things are going – we just might have a problem soon enough.
I am sure I’ll get many emails that this post is politically charged. I’m unsure why protecting our planet, and the FACT that climate change exists has become a political issue. I am not expressing or meaning to express anything about politics.
Here are some undeniable facts. Scientists around the globe agree unanimously with the following:
- The earth is warming, and this is not a part of the planet’s natural cycle.
- Species are disappearing – while climate changes may play a role in habitat changes; habitat change is mostly due to human activity changing habitat. In some places, hunting (legal and or illegal) has also diminished species. When one species goes away, it does affect others, often including people.
There is worldwide scientific consent is that global warming is very real. The argument that somehow these are political left wingers forwarding an agenda is absurd. These organizations and their scientists who demonstrate that climate change is real are greatly non-political, and a not necessarily interested or even aware of American politics.
President Trump and a handful of American public officials have repeatedly stated that China is “behind the global warming hoax.” In FACT, China is one of the very few nations which at first hesitant about participating with the world community regarding climate change, and only reluctantly and recently even acknowledged that climate change exists.
In FACT global warming was first discovered (NOT in China) but when Australia and New Zealand began to experience record number of melanoma (skin cancers), and a hole in the ozone over Antartica but near Australia and New Zealand was discovered back in the late 1970’s into the early 1980’s. Scientists from Canada, as well as New Zealand and Australia were among the first to put the pieces together. Skin cancers in that part of the world remain high, though Australian and New Zealand residents are the most aware and educated regarding UV protection on earth. Also, it seems there is very good news; the ozone holes are healing. Is that coincidence? Or does this mean that changes nations have made have already mattered?
Meanwhile, climate change around the world has been proven to be real. The science might be ignored or laughed at, or politically charged, but none of that banter changes fact. Here are some facts, based on date not political views:
- Global sea level rose about eight inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century.
- The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about two degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.
- The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. This difference may not appear significant, but has actually changed the ocean flora and ecosystem. The impact of many species remains unknown.
- The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show that Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005, and both Arctic and Antarctic species have been affected. Significant though is what happens to the melting ice. That’s a lot of extra water. The good news is that without that extra water, the average ocean temperatures might have risen even more. However, the bad news is that extra water with at some point directly impact coastal cities and islands, and even now impacting the climate regarding extreme weather.
- The number of record high temperature events in the U.S. has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events. “Odd” and extreme weather patterns are occurring around the planet, far more than historically the case. These extreme weather events – from droughts to tsunami’s – have impacted wildlife and human life, millions of lives.
- Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.
- Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier, convenient yes – but again consequences are sometime unexpected. One example, increased tick populations and tick disease in North America.
To those who say this is a “natural cycle,” I have no idea where that comes from. It’s made up. According to scientists, since records have been kept and using carbon dating to examine the earth going back thousands of years – this combination of factors has never existed before on earth.
However, if we want to save ourselves (it seems saving the earth means saving ourselves), there are other factors involved as well.
The senseless hunting of various species does affect us (aside from what are clear ethical issues). By saving orangutan, a severely endangered great apes (both spaces), we must save the forests they live in. Deforestation is the primary explanation for their disappearance. Meanwhile, the slash and burn techniques used by desperate locals or increasingly logging to build palm plantations, are not sustainable. The disappearance of rain forests in Asia (and elsewhere) affects local and even worldwide weather patterns, and of course, many other species pay the ultimate price when trees are cut. Locally, in Asia, there’s been increased flooding associated with deforestation.
Forests continue to hold secrets. I just wrote about a frog species that may provide a drug or treatment for the flu (maybe strains of flu affecting animals as well as people), it’s a peptide on the mucous of the frog’s skin which may provide a solution.
In America, we look at other nations and are extremely critical when big game is killed, such as illegal lion hunts in Africa or even where they are legal we appropriately ask if, are they morally right to do?. However, some states in our country allow for killing of bobcat and coyotes. How is this relevant? One example, in part because of diminished population of their predators the white-footed mouse populations are exploding. Mice are more than an annoyance, it’s with these cute rodents that the cycle of Lyme disease actually begins. As conditions allow for more tick numbers, it’s a perfect storm for Lyme and other tick diseases in America.
Say what you want about the Great White Shark, Salt-Water Crocodiles or even the second most deadly creature on earth – mosquitoes. We are the most deadly animals,
Today’s news includes terrorists senselessly killing innocent people – no other species does this. And if nuclear weapons are used anytime soon, mere survival may offer a completely new definition.
Yes, Earth day is about kids in the U.S. gathering items to be recycled, and about going green But the real issues are truly global, and are larger than using a recycle bin. With world resolve, we can change the world but this is necessitate a determination to do better, and not only the commitment of a handful of nations. And world leaders who are committed to improving the world rather than their own wealth or egos.
Human beings made this mess. Only human beings can fix it. It’s in our hands.