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Yesterday I started addressing the issue of climate change. I mentioned that today I would talk about why I believe it is already too late. There are two reasons I say it is too late. The first is humanity’s need to do everything based on crisis. We are not now nor have we ever been good at seeing a problem coming and preventing it from happening. I’m talking on a large scale. It is done on a smaller scale but if it involves a large number of people to change what they’re doing, it doesn’t happen.
The rise of Nazi Germany didn’t happen overnight. There were many signs indicating where the Nazi party would lead the world to war but nothing was done to prevent it. There were signs that the state of the economy in the late twenties would lead to a depression, but the people making the money were not going to make less money to avoid disaster. When it comes to the large scale, when it comes to a lot a people, or the people controlling the money, changing their ways; it doesn’t happen until disaster is staring them in the face.
Climate change is the ultimate in large scale efforts. As a result it is an effort that requires all of us to change our ways. Frankly, that’s not going to happen until it’s all coming apart. It is far easier to deny what’s going on, especially when there are people that will give you reasons why you a right to deny it. If you don’t deny it then you have to do something about it and that we have no intention of doing. I include myself in this. Cathy and I recycle and make an effort to reduce our carbon footprint but only to the point where it is convenient. We haven’t done anything that would change our life style and very few have.
One day our grandchildren or our great grandchildren will wake up they will be facing disaster, or maybe they’ll wake up and find out there was really never anything to worry about. In any case it will be they that will be waking up to the truth and not us, and clearly we are going to let them worry about it.
My second reason for saying it may be too late is that the climate is already changing. I could show more pictures of the disappearing ice cap but I don’t think that is necessary. We just have to take a look at what has happened over the last ten years.
What is the result of throwing a rock into a lake? The ultimate result is that the rock takes up some of the space that the water used to occupy. The water is displaced and the water level of the lake rises by the tiniest amount. That’s the ultimate result. The symptoms are the splash and the ripples as the water is being displaced. In climate change, the warming of the planet is the ultimate result, the climate change is the splash and the ripples. We do not just see the effects of the planet being warmer.
The melting of the ice cap may disrupt the currents in the ocean especially the Atlantic Conveyor. That current, which includes the Gulf Stream, goes a long way to keep the winters in the northeastern part of the United States milder than they should be. People laugh and point to the frigid temperatures we are having this winter and say global warming is a joke. Unfortunately, the movement of a polar vortex out of the polar region is just the thing that would happen during climate change. Yeah, I know, this isn’t the first time a polar vortex wandered into the US, but I don’t think you will find too many incidents where it happened twice in one year and that the temperature was below freezing across the gulf coast. While we’re dealing with the Arctic blasts, Alaska has had unusually warm weather that is threatening towns with flooding.
The powerful storms from Katrina to Sandy have become more common and the typhoon that hit the Philippines has power that has never been seen before. It packed winds over two hundred miles per hour.
Draughts in the Midwest have been more frequent that they have continued longer. The draught in California is reaching the crisis stage. Millions are threatened and they are being forced to cut back on consumption more and more every day.
In my opinion the change is already happening and we can’t prevent it, we can only prepare for it.