Earth Must Be About Saving Our Planet, Not Politics. And, Yes the Planet Needs CPR


I suggest Earth Day isn’t political, it’s about saving the planet. Yet, somehow the future of our planet has become a divisive issue in a handful of nations with the U.S. leading the way.

Of all holidays – I also suggest Earth is most important. Without our planet, where will we live?

Here are five facts regarding climate change. FACTS – nothing political to see here, much as some may try:

1. Global Temperatures are Continuing to Rise

In its highly-anticipated Sixth Report this year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that a certain amount of global warming is locked in and is irreversible. This means that within the next two decades, global temperatures are likely to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In its 2018 special report, the IPCC warned that we only have until 2030 to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Yet little has changed since then to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s terrifying.

In 2019, global carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industry reached a high of 36.44 billion metric tons. In 2020, emissions fell by 5.8 percent due to COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. Despite last year’s reverse trend, however, 2021 emissions are expected to again grow by nearly 5 percent, to 33 billion tons.

2. The Past Seven Years Have Been the Warmest on Record

2020 tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, according to NASA. Notably, 2020’s temperature level was hit without it being an El Niño year, as it was in 2016.

“The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend,” said Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Director Gavin Schmidt. “Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important — the important things are long-term trends.”

3. More than One Million Species Are at Risk of Extinction (and yes you read that number correctly)

Almost half of all amphibians are at risk of extinction due to climate change.

It’s true, extinction is a natural phenomenon, claiming about five species per year. But some experts suggest we’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction — one that is caused mostly by human activity.

Scientists estimate dozens of species of plants and animals currently go extinct each day — nearly 1,000 times the natural rate. By mid-century, as many as 30 to 50 percent of the total species found on Earth will likely disappear with many on the brink today.

Aside from the ethical issue (killing off species – how can that not be a bioethical issue?), entire ecosystems are impacted and when it comes down to it, we’re just another life form on the planet. Yes, we are impacted in many ways. As one example, plant species potentially used to save lives in developing pharmaceuticals will continue to disappear before understanding their potential benefit or even before being discovered.

4. Climate Change Impacts Our Daily Lives

The impacts to human health are much scarier than any clown movie. It’s still possible the SARS Coronavirus pandemic that causes COVID-19 was naturally occurring, and for sure we know some mutations are. We may see more of it.

Also, rising temperatures — coupled with a growing number of people in cities and an increasing population of elderly — have increased heat-related deaths, according to a 2018 study in The Lancet.

Higher temperatures worsen air quality, negatively affect crop production, increase the spread of infectious diseases, and threaten freshwater deposits.

A warming world also increases the intensity of natural disasters. While instances of wildfires have decreased over the years, burn area and intensity of fires have increased. Wildfires have impacted America in record numbers in recent years.

Hurricanes in the Western Hemisphere and typhoons on the other side of the world are reaching new extremes, too. The frequency of high intensity hurricanes — ranked as categories four and five — has increased over the last 30 years. It has become immensely more difficult to escape these storms unscathed, and it will only get harder in the future.

Climate change is shifting the seasons. Falls, winters, and springs are growing shorter, while summer extends into the supposedly cooler months. North American winters are losing snow and ice as a result — making prime ski destinations, well, not prime.

Ticks enjoy the change of climate as tick disease is on the rise – if not a downright epidemic in America.

Of course, sea ice on the top and bottom of the world continues to melt in extraordinary record amounts, raising the ocean levels.

5. The World’s Political Leaders Aren’t Doing Enough

The world has been aware of climate change at least since 1988. Scientists and the public rallied around environmental policy, but many global governments had a different idea.

They ignored it, except some called climate change “a hoax.”

Countries contributing the most to global emissions have the best chance of curbing climate change, but leaders are doing little to address it.

Although it has been five years since the Paris Agreement entered into force, none of the world’s major economies are on track to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Human beings made this mess. Only human beings can fix it. It’s in our hands.