Monday, March 31, 2014

Inaction on climate change to be "catastrophic"

It is no longer simply a matter of rising temperatures...or even sea levels.

The coming change in climate will have direct affects upon our homes, the food we eat, and therefore our health.

This is the consensus of a UN report on climate change being mulled over by scientists and political leaders.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued their report after much discussion and now stand by it as evidence of the enormous scale of the problem, calling it "severe and pervasive."   Secretary of State John Kerry had this to say in response to the report:

"Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice...There are those who say we can't afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic."

The report, one that comes on the heels of another with a similar projection I might add, highlights the fact that there will soon be no citizen of the world who will be unaffected by climate change.  Food crops such as corn, wheat, and rice are projected to have 25% less yield by 2050.  That's a big deal, especially when you consider how much of the world is already starving.  Additionally, certain fish will migrate due to warmer waters, decreasing the catch by 50% in certain areas.  That doesn't mean just higher prices for your damn crab legs.  There are many populations of the world who are wholly dependent on seafood either for sale or subsistence.

Yeah, we're in trouble.  What's more, it's all more or less written in xylography with the report also calling the changes "irreversible."   What we can do, however, is keep the problem from getting any worse and (hopefully) find as many ways as we can to heal the environment.

So what am I doing about it?

That's a fair question.  I mean, after all, it's one thing to moan about this crisis but if I'm not actively helping to do something about it in my own life, well...

Here are few...albeit minor...efforts I've been making:

-I have converted as many of my home's light bulbs as I can to compact fluorescent bulbs.  I make absolutely certain that if a room is empty, the light is turned off.

-I am in the process of reducing how much meat I eat.  Not only does that assuage my conscience in terms of animal rights, it helps reduce the amount of methane from large farms and CO2 from transporting the meat.

-It might be a while before I can come anywhere near buying a new car, but I'm already looking at hybrid vehicles such as the Prius. In the meantime, I walk as much as I can.

-I kept my home at 62 degrees this past winter.  Might sound chilly, but it wasn't so bad as there are always more clothes you can wear.  I am well aware the summer will be a different story.

Might not sound like much, but I know others who are making similar efforts as well.  These little actions can have big consequences.

I don't see how anyone can still disagree with the fact that we are completely changing the environment of our world.  Our way of life is about to be turned completely upside down and I can only imagine the reaction from denialists.  "It had nothing to do with industry or weather!" "Why the hell didn't anyone warn us?"  Does it mean the extinction of humanity?  I guess it depends on how adaptable we really are.

Makes me wish I was a punky teenager again.  Without people or things to care about, I could just sit back and watch the show unfold with a sort of perverse glee.  "The hubris of humanity felled as the chickens come home to roost," and whatnot.  In the midst of the heatwaves and food riots, I could quote song lyrics such as "History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man."

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

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