All these changes, whether we recognize it or not, are connected to us. Anything that happens to the ocean will affect our lives. Between half and three-quarters of the world's population live within 60 km of the sea which will be driven inland by rising sea levels. All major cities will be filled up with unimaginable congestion; food and water supplies will dwindle, good relations will break down; housing will be unavailable; homelessness and poverty will become overwhelming. And this could happen in 20 years or less. And we will feel the impact in other ways as well.
As sea life dwindles in the oceans, it will mean fewer and fewer jobs for anyone dependent on resources from the sea. As major parts of world economies break down, the last remaining marine species preserved by humankind in aquairums will come to haunt us, as rare wild species in zoos already do. Already today, hundreds of years of overfishing have resulted in an empty ocean through which immense populations of wildlife once swam. There is now less of everything, and more of nothing.
Global warming will make memories out of many living things, and as we remember the bounty of life that this planet used to support, we will feel shame and a deep sense of loss, unless we do everything we can to slow climate change, protect what is left, and restore at least part of what we have lost.
However, little of this has to come to pass, yet. We can protect the future by realizing that no one is born a conservationist. A conservationist is shaped and inspired by world events: these events, changes happening to our world. Human beings have always been at their best when things are at their worst. We can no longer wait for the worst to come before we reveal what is best within us. Now is the time to step up.
Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have been studying climate change for decades. Considerable information about the oceans and climate change is available at: http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/. The Institution held a panel discussion to address questions about climate change. The discussion was introduced by Terry Joyce, director of the Ocean and Climate Change Institute and a senior scientist in physical oceanography, and moderated by Tom Wheeler, chairman of the corporation. To learn more about the panel discussion go to http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/viewArticle.do?id=13366
If you haven't watched An Inconvenient Truth yet, we highly recommend it.
Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis—And What We Can Do to Avert Disaster
Everyone should read this book if you're interested in the future of civilization.
A few random quotes from Gelspan's book:
"Many activists today are promoting the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, carpooling, and other climate-conscious lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, these strategies, even under the most wildly optimistic scenarios, fall far short of nature's requirement that we cut our consumption of coal and oil by 70 percent."
"Our climate is capable of immense and wildly disruptive surprises. Every day, those surprises seem progressively more likely than not. Not only are we gambling with our future, we are gambling with our eyes blindfolded. We can't even see the cards we've been dealt."
"Although the disappearance of the glaciers is visually striking, its importance may be overshadowed by a less visible but more pervasive consequence of atmospheric warming. All over the world, species are traveling toward the poles in an effort to maintain temperature stability."
"There is only one chance in 100 that the rate of warming will be less than double the warming rate of the last 100 years—and a 99% probability that it will exceed double the past warming rate.... The most likely estimate of warming between [now] and 2100 is 5.5°F. This is five times the warming rate experienced over the past 100 years. At the high end, there is a five percent chance that the warming could be more than eight times the warming rate of the past century."
"In this immense drama of uncertain outcome, this much is true: A major discontinuity is inevitable. The collective life we have lived as a species for thousands of years will not continue long into the future. We will either see the fabric of civilization unravel under the onslaught of an increasingly unstable climate—or else we will use the construction of a new global energy infrastructure to begin to forge a new set of global relationships.
If we are truly lucky—and visionary enough—those new relationships will differ dramatically from what we have known throughout our recorded history. They will be based far less on what divides us as a species and far more on what unites us. Embedded in the gathering fury of nature is a hidden gift—an opportunity to begin to redeem an increasingly fragmented world. The alternative is a certain and rapid decent into climate hell." Get the book (~$5 used) here: Boiling Point | Discuss the book in the Plankton Forums
See 101+ Things We Can All Do to protect our environment, hopefully slow global warming and protect our ocean.
Coral reefs and climate change, a message for Copenhagen from Earth Touch.
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